I've been diving into the world of Blockchain and crypto lately, trying to build my understanding of mining specifically. I understand that in POW systems, the difficulty of the first block is 1, and the current difficulty can be seen as being "current difficulty multiples harder than the first block" to mine (aka it scales linearly).
What I've been having a hard time figuring out, though, is how the designers of POW systems settled on the maximum target for their first blocks. To quote another stackoverflow answer:
Satoshi decided to use
0x1d00ffffas a difficulty for the genesis block, so the target was
This leaves me with a few questions:
- Is there a reason to why Satoshi picked this number specifically?
- How does this relate to other cryptos?
- Is the max target fairly arbitrary so long as the designer is careful not to pick a max target that's too low?
- (3b) If so, does the max target not matter in the same way after the first re-target (i.e., after the first 2016 blocks in bitcoin's case)?
My reasoning for asking this question is because when I look at the difficulty charts for cryptocurrencies, I've been curious if they're relatable to one-another, that is, if you could reason that because BTC has a difficulty of X and LTC has a difficulty of Y, you could determine which to mine based on difficulty and block reward alone.