An Analysis of the First 100000 Blocks

After a successful launch, Frontier crossed the 100,000th block earlier this week. Here are some interesting stats from these first blocks.

First 50 block times (in seconds):

Immediately after Genesis, it took 29 seconds for the second block to appear, and 31 and 29 seconds for the next few blocks to appear. It’s not really surprising that when the last Genesis block became known, miners were scrambling to set it up.

After these initial blocks, we see that the onslaught of large miners causes the block time to drop significantly, reaching a lower bound at 1 second, the limit enforced by the consensus protocol.

Now let’s look at the average block time (every 200 blocks from Genesis to block 10000).

After the first few hundred blocks, you can see that the hashing power is actually attacking the network. Once the difficulty adjustment algorithm catches up, the block time will be 1-2 seconds. The algorithm increases or decreases the difficulty by diff/2048 per block depending on the block time.

Once you’ve done a few thousand blocks, you’ll notice that the difficulty increases as block times fall into the 4-5 second range. After the 9k block, you start to get closer to your goal time of 15 seconds.

Largest miner in first 100k blocks (address, block, %):

0xef247e639d49461d25f57e9362cade3120910ce0 851   0.81%
0x790b8a3ce86e707ed0ed32bf89b3269692a23cc1 914   0.87%
0x0037ce3d4b7f8729c8607d8d0248252be68202c0 949   0.90%
0xbb12b5a9b85d4ab8cde6056e9c1b2a4a337d2261 1102  1.04%
0x580992b51e3925e23280efb93d3047c82f17e038 1129  1.07%
0xf2d2aff1320476cb8c6b607199d23175cc595693 1141  1.08%
0x47ff6576639c2e94762ea5443978d7681c0e78dc 1159  1.10%
0x1b7047b4338acf65be94c1a3e8c5c9338ad7d67c 1335  1.26%
0xeb1325c8d9d3ea8d74ac11f4b00f1b2367686319 1446  1.37%
0xbcb2e3693d246e1fc00348754334badeb88b2a11 1537  1.45%
0xa50ec0d39fa913e62f1bae7074e6f36caa71855b 1692  1.60%
0xf8e0ca3ed80bd541b94bedcf259e8cf2141a9523 2437  2.31%
0x9746c7e1ef2bd21ff3997fa467593a89cb852bd0 3586  3.39%
0x88d74a59454f6cf3b51ef6b9136afb6b9d405a88 4292  4.06%
0xbb7b8287f3f0a933474a79eae42cbca977791171 8889  8.41%
0xf927a40c8b7f6e07c5af7fa2155b4864a4112b13 9151  8.66%
0xe6a7a1d47ff21b6321162aea7c6cb457d5476bca 11912 11.28%

We cannot know for sure if a single miner is using multiple Coinbase addresses, but assuming they are using a single Coinbase address, the hashing power over the first 100k blocks is approximately equal. distributed in0xe6a7a1d47ff21b6321162aea7c6cb457d5476bca with hash power of 11% is Spool, the first mining pool for Ethereum. Then there are his two large miners with about 8%. The distribution after these three is very even, with most miners having less than 1% of his total hashing power.

But things are moving quickly in the world of Ethereum, and looking at the last 15,000 blocks reveals the following:

0x580992b51e3925e23280efb93d3047c82f17e038 327  2.2%
0xbb7b8287f3f0a933474a79eae42cbca977791171 496  3.3%
0xf927a40c8b7f6e07c5af7fa2155b4864a4112b13 612  4.1%
0x790b8a3ce86e707ed0ed32bf89b3269692a23cc1 674  4.5%
0xe6a7a1d47ff21b6321162aea7c6cb457d5476bca 5775 38.5%

It is clear here that ethpool currently holds almost 40% of the hashing power, with the second and third largest miners dropping down to 4%.

consecutive blocks

Another interesting statistic is to look at consecutive sets of blocks from the same miner. This provides some insight into how hashing power and latency affect large-scale miners.

Immediately after launch, most of the consecutive blocks we saw were 6. For example, blocks 1578, 1579, 1580, 1581, 1582, 1583 were mined by 0x9dfc0377058b7b9eb277421769b56df1395705f0.

0xbb7b8287f3f0a933474a79eae42cbca977791171 also mined 6 blocks several times (blocks 656, 657, 658, 659, 660, 661, etc.).

This miner mined 5, 4, 3, 2 blocks in a row many times, which wasn’t all that surprising since it accounted for 21% of the total hash power at the time.

This happened very early after launch, when the difficulty level was rapidly increasing and many miners had not yet joined the network. After block 5000, the hashing power evened out, so for some time he did not see more than 4 blocks in a row.

However, recently the most blocks in a row are 10 (blocks 103049, 103050, 103051, 103052, 103053, 103054, 103055, 103056, 103057, 103058 by ethpool, etc.). With the exception of ethpool, no miner has more than 6 consecutive blocks.

Stay tuned as we continue to observe more statistics from Frontier Network over the coming months.

Gustav Simonson is a developer on the Ethereum Security and Go teams.

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