Mining difficulty is an important metric to consider when it comes to successfully mining cryptocurrency. In essence, it describes how difficult it is to find a block in a miner’s given block interval time. This difficulty and miner’s profitability depend on the current hashrate and required difficulty level of the network.
The difficulty level is determined by the collective network hashing power, which refers to the total number of miners that are contributing to the network’s overall hashrate at any given time. The more miners that are actively competing to find new blocks on the network, the higher the overall network hashrate will be.
From there, the difficulty is adjusted accordingly so that it takes that same amount of time – which is referred to as a block interval – to find each subsequent block. With easier block intervals (and thus, less difficulty) to mine, it can often become overcrowded with miners competing against each other, leading to lower profitability all across the board.
Compare this to the difficult intervals (and higher difficulty levels) that render mining almost impossible for a single miner alone or for those with low-end mining gear. So in order for miners to find success in their endeavors, it’s important to accurately gauge and adjust for the network’s normal block interval and current difficulty levels.