# What causes a "stuck block"

I've seen and heard about issues where a coin's network would get 'stuck' at a specific block. I understand why it would get stuck due to high difficulty and low hash, but some coins seem to be unable to mine past a block with low diff and more than enough hash power on the network.

The two examples I can think of are Thorcoin currently stuck at block #85745 and more recently Suncoin at block #180561.

What exactly causes this and how does it get fixed?

• Interesting question. I would ask two things: 1. If a difficulty adjustment has just occurred, the target difficulty for the next block might be much greater than the previous; are you sure this is not the case? 2. How do you know how much hash power is on the network? Maybe a high-powered miner left the network (for another more lucrative coin). Commented May 12, 2014 at 6:15
• The Suncoin case is the best example I can provide. It took more than 12 hours to generate block 180562: explorer.suncoin.biz/block/… Yet the difficulty was supposedly very low at the time of mining (0.816). However now that I look at the block, I see a difficulty of 262. I think now I am confused even more :) Commented May 12, 2014 at 15:12

• Your second point needs to be interpreted with some care. Yes, mining is random and it is possible that bad luck causes a block to take much longer than normal. But we can quantify this possibility. Finding blocks is well described by the Poisson process and times between blocks are exponentially distributed. So if the average time to find a block (given the amount of mining power on the network) is s, the probability of a block taking at least time t is `e^(-t/s)`. Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 21:02
• For Bitcoin, with a target time of 10 minutes, the probability of a block taking at least an hour is `e^(-6) ~= 0.002` or about 1 in 403. We should expect to see this happen every couple of days. The Suncoin example is in a different league: with a target time of 1 minute, the probability of taking at least 12 hours is `e^(-720)` or about `10^(-313)`; we should expect to see that happen about once in the lifetime of a googol googol googol universes. So that's extremely strong evidence that this phenomenon is not due simply to chance or bad luck. Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 21:08