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I plan to analyze blockchain branches to satisfy my own curiosity: how often do they occur, are they increasing in frequency, etc. To clarify my earlier mistaken terminology: I am talking about "garden variety" blockchain branches that occur when two miners succeed in mining a new block "at the same time."

Where can I find a record of blockchain branches? I'd love to find a handy webpage with the data, though I am running a full node if someone can walk me through generating the data.

Thanks in advance! Bruce

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There may be websites that index them, however, as blocks only get propagated once they get accepted as new best chain, such branches don't get relayed universally, and every node on the network can get a different view.

Bitcoin Core can be queried for known branches through the getchaintips RPC command.

For example, the output on my node is currently: { "height": 405040, "hash": "0000000000000000030014f0c61351fe2f9e744d4d1c111cca03c94b7dc831f0", "branchlen": 0, "status": "active" }, { "height": 404812, "hash": "0000000000000000010f42545dadcf1262ceebcade6629b16282eb59265c937d", "branchlen": 1, "status": "valid-fork" }, { "height": 404548, "hash": "0000000000000000010edc4bee21e25e976eb0515da5740d54d060d1579479fa", "branchlen": 1, "status": "valid-fork" }, { "height": 404145, "hash": "0000000000000000014fc67e896071d9cc5345fea4d04795ff6ee8f9ae142268", "branchlen": 1, "status": "valid-fork" }, { "height": 404120, "hash": "000000000000000002119743ab5f8bb12f5008373d3fb7dda9be82295cfa12d3", "branchlen": 1, "status": "valid-headers" },

This means the the currently active branch has 405040 blocks, but there are 1-long branches forking off at heights 404811, 404547, 404144, and 404119, so my node did observe 4 such forks in the past week. valid-fork means that my node discovered the branch was abandoned after fully downloading and verifying it. valid-headers means that it received the header, but was aware of a better branch beforehand.

  • Piter, thank you! I should have RTFM. ;-) My full node observed the same four branches. I am hoping to model these branches as a function of time-to-mine-block and latency over the peer-to-peer network. I will post my "findings" ... assuming I find anything. – Pressed250 Mar 30 '16 at 23:14

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