Crypto Orphans: Valid Blocks Without a Chain
Orphan is an active block on the blockchain that is not part of the main chain.
What is orphan?
Orphan is a legitimate block that is not part of the main blockchain. It is also called an obsolete or orphan block. There are various factors that can cause orphaned blocks to appear. The main ones include Internet latency, the length of the blockchain, the size of the block and the speed of the node hosting the blockchain. Under the influence of these factors, two blocks may have the same timestamp, causing the underlying blockchain to reject one block and absorb the other.
As new blocks emerge, nodes will add them to the chain they believe to be valid. In the Bitcoin blockchain, the longer chain is automatically assumed to be valid. Thus, one of the two blocks, despite its accuracy, will be orphaned (the shorter chain).
It should be noted that too many competing blocks can also lead to forks, hence competing chains. Such chains lead to instability or jamming of decentralized networks.