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I don't understand what "difficulty" means and how it really relates to "target".

I understand what "target" is - it tells the miners, how small the resulting hash should be. (Basically, how many zeroes are there at the beginning, altough not exactly.)

But I don't understand what "difficulty" is, how it relates to the target and why it's important. I tried to read the article on wiki - https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Difficulty - but I don't have a clue what is it trying to say either.

So the largest possible target is a lifetime constant of the blockchain, but the current target is variable and increases/decreases respectively to maintain a 10-minute block generation? – Olshansk – 2017-06-17T02:21:06.160

1@Olshansk Indeed. – Pieter Wuille – 2017-08-04T09:22:33.673