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I've heard a couple of times "a shorter blocktime is unsafe," (first about Litecoin and now Ethereum) but never understood why. Is it the higher probability of a fork? Why do some people consider a shorter blocktime less safe?

5

The shorter the blocktime the more time is lost by the relaying of blocks in relation to the average blocktime. A very short block interval therefore makes SPV mining (i.e. mining empty blocks without transactions) more attractive, and increases the advantage of large pools, because they can start mining on top of their own block the quickest.

Additionally, it increases the number of headers that need to be verified and stored by any client, even smartphone wallets.

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