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I just noticed that a pool has "retained" a new block for quite a long time. See snapshot below where the block was found 3 minutes ago but still not pushed to the network (my own node was not seeing it either).

Is it something that they are doing on purpose to get a head start on mining the next block? Or is it due to how the protocol works?

enter image description here

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When a block is found by a single party it is not added to the blockchain immediately as it is only accepted as a true block by one party, more confirmations are needed by other miners first before the hash found is considered to be an accepted block on the chain.

Thus, more confirmations are needed before everyone can see the newly found block on their nodes.

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    This isn't actually totally right, though in effect it kinda amounts to the same thing. Each peer will add the block to its chain when it sees it, as there is no "primary" blockchain. Each peer is free to reject the block, however, and continue mining in the hope that luck will allow it to go over the other chain's cumulative difficulty. – user36303 Mar 31 '17 at 13:49

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