In the context of cryptocurrencies, the term difficulty refers to the effort required by a network participant to mine a block. The difficulty rises or falls depending on the amount of hashing power in a blockchain network.
Understanding the term
The difficulty is a measure of how difficult it is to mine a block in a blockchain for a particular cryptocurrency. A high level of difficulty means that it takes additional computing power to verify transactions entered on a blockchain in a process known as mining. As more participants and more computing power enter the network, the hash power of the entire network increases as well.
For instance, Bitcoin transactions are stored in blocks that are added every 10 minutes to the blockchain. The difficulty has to be adjusted periodically to maintain the time it takes to process one block at around 10 minutes. Thus, mining difficulty in the Bitcoin network is automatically adjusted after 201+6 blocks have been mined.
In the context of cryptocurrencies, the difficulty is a measure of how difficult it is to mine a block for a particular cryptocurrency. A higher difficulty for any cryptocurrency makes its network security stronger since attackers would require enormous resources to take control.