What is meant by the difficulty of a cryptocurrency?
The difficulty of a cryptocurrency refers to its current difficulty in confirming blocks. These blocks are needed to store transactions, because only in this way can new transactions be completed and irrevocably stored.
In order to complete one block, a nonce is required, which corresponds to the current confirmation. Computers have to spend their available computing capacity to solve complex mathematical formulas.
The result of this calculation is also called a nonce. If this nonce is greater than the current confirmation, the block cannot be written using the hash function and the transactions remain unconfirmed.
However, once the nonce is equal to or less than the difficulty, the open transactions are written in a block.
Is the difficulty a constant or a variable?
This confirmation is a variable that adapts to the current computing power. Modern cryptocurrencies particularly rely on high dynamics in adjusting the confirmation, so that it is adjusted after each completed block.
For older cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, however, an adjustment only takes place every 14 days, so the changes are more noticeable to the miners. In addition, the current difficulty depends on the computing power in the network, because a high computing capacity corresponds with a high degree of confirmation.
This means that increasing popularity and an increasing willingness to operate mining platforms increases the computing capacity and thus the confrmation within the network.
To have a higher chance of success, more and more miners resort to mining pools or cloud mining architectures, since the available computing power is higher.