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Excerpt from page 6 of the yellow paper:

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The paper focuses more on the difficulty bomb ε but says little about the rationale of mandating 131072 and 2048 as scalars. I guess the former is merely an arbitrary value, but I'm not sure about the other. Is it because with a smaller difficulty the incentives wouldn't work?

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They are both a power of 2.

Since D0 only matter when creating the genesis block any large constant should have been fine.

Since 2048 is a power of 2 then the division can be optimized into a shift operation.

  • I see, but I guess it's also about choosing a value which is both a power of 2 and a non-trivial one. That is, a difficulty such as 16 would've been too small, wouldn't it? – Paul Berg Sep 24 '18 at 21:22

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