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The Bitcoin protocol limits the timestamp of future blocks to be at most 2 hours greater than the current time. If this time limit were increased, let's say to 8 hours, what impact would it have on the Bitcoin network?

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tl;dr: Greater difficulty in calculating difficulty?


So far as I know, generally speaking, relaxing rules results in a hard fork of the network. This is because older nodes regard such blocks as invalid and discard them while newer nodes accept them. It is difficult to introduce such changes without forking the blockchain and forking the network. You would likely need an extraordinary exceptionally strong and compelling benefit to justify this to others.

It might help miners a tiny bit, but I suspect that would be insignificant.

The blockchain seen by new nodes would see a greater number of blocks that are out of apparent chronological order. It might more often cause temporal confusion among human observers of blockchain explorers etc.

It could complicate the calculation of network difficulty significantly. This is probably the most significant effect (other than the hard fork issue)

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  • Hi RedGrittyBrick, If the entire network has reached a consensus and the future time limit has been extended to 8 hours, does the risk of attack increase for the entire Bitcoin network?
    – eason
    Commented Nov 29, 2023 at 12:01
  • I don't know of any other way it could increase risk of attack. But my lack of knowledge may not be a good basis for any specific conclusion. Commented Nov 29, 2023 at 12:03

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