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Wasn't the fork scheduled to happen ~7 hours ago? Why did the first block take so long if the hashrate is high enough to produce 4 blocks in the subsequent half hour?

The last common block was #478558 mined at 3:16:14 PM UTC

The first BCC fork block was mined at 8:12:41 PM, almost 5 hours later.

The 2nd one was mined at 8:33:06 PM, 20 minutes later.

And then an other one not 5 minutes later.

Meanwhile the difficulty remained constant at 860221984436.2223

Clearly there's been a sudden surge in the hash rate.

No, the first block in the fork needed to be > 1MB. But it also changed the format, so they dropped all pending transactions from the mempool. ViaBTC did mine the first bcash block, but it was rejected because it was too small!

Someone had to figure out the problem and stuff a block so it could make progress.

The new chain inherited the difficulty from the previous chain. Now that the network realized there isn't as much hash rate the difficulty has been reduced and a more normal rate of block creation restored.

Edit: that didn't happen yet, I stand corrected

That didn't have time to trigger. Difficulty didn't change.

My understanding is that it will take much longer than that for the BCC chain difficulty to significantly adjust.

2016 blocks from what I understand. That's 14 days at 10 minute blocktimes.

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