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LITECOIN MINING DIFFICULTY


There is no "normal" or "standard" or "base" difficulty for Litecoin pools. Difficulty is measured in the same way as Bitcoin difficulty, but since the hashing algorithm used by Litecoin is much more complex (and therefore slower), pools need to use a share difficulty lower than 1.

In the first months after the launch of Litecoin, most pools used a share difficulty of 2-16 or 2-15. They could have used even lower values, but there was no point in doing that. After GPU mining became widespread, most pools moved to higher difficulties, such as 2-12. The reason behind this was to decrease bandwidth usage, as a higher share difficulty results in fewer shares being submitted. While this change doesn't affect mining rewards, there is a minor downside, and that's that the precision of speed estimates gets drastically reduced.



For this reason, slower miners may prefer pools with a lower share difficulty, so that they can get more precise statistics on their workers. To overcome this problem, some pools implement adaptive solutions that serve work units with variable difficulty depending on the speed of each miner. This technique is commonly referred to as vardiff. Even if officially difficulty is defined the same way as for Bitcoin, for historical reasons the value is sometimes multiplied by 65536 (216). This is in part due to the fact that early versions of cgminer did not support non-integer difficulties, and 2-16 was the lowest share difficulty used by Litecoin pools.


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