What is an Orphan Block in Blockchain?

What is Orphan Block in Blockchain

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An orphan block, also known as a “stale block,” is a block that is no longer a part of the main blockchain. This can occur when multiple miners solve the proof-of-work puzzle and create new blocks roughly simultaneously. The network may accept one of the blocks as the valid one to extend the chain while the other(s) become orphans. Orphan blocks do not contain transactions and are not rewarded to the miner.

Orphan blocks can also happen when a miner is mining over a block that a longer chain has already replaced. This is known as an “Orphaned block.”

How to Prevent Orphan Blocks

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There are several ways to prevent or reduce the likelihood of orphan blocks in a blockchain network:

  1. Increasing block time: By increasing the time between block creation, it becomes less likely that two miners will generate a block simultaneously.
  2. Increasing the difficulty of the proof-of-work puzzle: A harder puzzle will take longer for miners to solve, reducing the chance that two miners will solve it simultaneously.
  3. Mining pools: Joining a mining pool can help to reduce the likelihood of finding orphan blocks, as the pool collectively mines blocks and shares the rewards among its members.
  4. Longest Chain Rule: A rule implemented by most blockchain networks that the node will always accept the longest chain as the valid one. In this way, it will reduce the chance of an orphan block.
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