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The difficulty of the last block in the blockchain. Difficulty represents how hard it is to find a hash that meets a protocol-designated requirement (i.e., the difficulty of finding a new block). The requirement is unique to each applicable cryptocurrency protocol. Difficulty is adjusted periodically by the protocol as a function of how much hashing power is being deployed by miners.
Difficulty is a protocol-defined metric that can be obtained natively. As such, the methodology is handled by the protocol.
Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH)*
* since the move to Proof of Stake on 9/15/2022, Ethereum no longer has a block difficulty. Historical data for this metric is available for ETH.