It's unclear to me if uncles should factor into averages like block time and difficulty.

The fact that they are associated with a parent block and have a timestamp and difficulty, leads me to believe that since there was work done for them that they should possibly factor in.

On the other hand, since they are not technically considered to be a part of the longest chain and are intended to serve as extra incentives for the miner(s), I'm wondering if they should really be considered?

Can anyone provide some clarity one way or the other as to whether or not they should factor into the aforementioned calculations? Thanks.

Edit: To further clarify, I am not asking in the context of whether they should factor in to the actual network's difficulty adjustment calculations.

But rather, should they factor into something like a blockchain explorer's approximate difficulty and hashrate calculations?

Logically, it seems they should be included since there was actual work done for them and to exclude them, would be failing to account for work that was actually done. On the other hand, nearly identical work was done on the block that ended up being accepted by the network over the uncle.

Given that, should uncles simply be excluded from all such blockchain-type analysis calculations such as average network difficulty and hashrate over a given period of time?

1 Answer 1


Uncles are there to incentivise miners despite the fact that fast blocks give undue advantage to well-connected miners. Look up the GHOST protocol.

If the calculations needed to create an uncle were factored into adjusting the difficulty, it would make the blocks slower.

Edit: In the world of hash calculations, "nearly identical work" is misleading. There is either identical work or not at all. So that does not weaken your logical argument of adding them in the explorer's global hash rate.

I would add that their presence hints at the diameter of the network, i.e. how well or poorly connected nodes are.

  • Thank you for the reply. I have edited my original question in an attempt to provide further clarification regarding the specifics of my question. Thanks.
    – MrYukonC
    Sep 10, 2016 at 12:03
  • I updated my reply too. Sep 10, 2016 at 13:30

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