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From my observations of the BitCoin network, the increase in overall network hashrate does not seem to improve the network in any way other than to make an attack more difficult.

I was wondering however if one could devise a mining algorithm that improves some aspect of the network. For example, could one device an algorithm that speeds up the confirmation rate as more compute resources are added? What are the constraints against a higher confirmation rate?

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There are currently no constraints against a higher confirmation rate; the confirmation rate was specifically set to about 10 minutes, and the network adjusts the difficulty so that there's a new block created about every 10 minutes.

If I remember correctly, the confirmation rate was limited so that transactions would have time to propagate across the network, and so that the blockchain wouldn't get too large.

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  • This is incorrect, when it comes to Bitcoin itself. The constraint against a higher confirmation rate is 10 minutes, as you say, and to change it would require a fork. You're only correct when it comes to the design of a cryptocurrency that doesn't yet exist. – Highly Irregular Mar 25 '13 at 7:59

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