If you have been following events in the cryptocurrency world for some time now, you will already know how crucial miners are to the system. Miners verify transactions through complex computing and allow cryptocurrencies remain secure and in circulation. You may also know that miners are usually rewarded based on who resolves the complex equation first, something that requires a large amount of computational power to achieve. Thus, many miners prefer to pool their resources and attempt to resolve blocks collectively, sharing the rewards at the end. With that in mind, this content will discuss some of the best-known mining pools in the world. Other information the piece covers include the pros and cons of each of the pools addressed, as well as what a mining pool is.
What is a Bitcoin Mining Pool in the Context of Cryptocurrency?
Mining pools refer to a collection of digital coin miners who have pooled their resources together for mining a cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency mining gets progressively harder with each block created. In the same vein, the computational power required to mine cryptocurrency increases as the mining difficulty increases.
The energy-intensive nature of cryptocurrency mining can be too expensive for a single miner to handle since it could result in higher energy costs. Moreover, mining cryptocurrency requires expensive, specialized hardware. To some miners, the cost of the equipment is prohibitive. As a result, they pool their resources together to lower mining-related costs.
Hence, it is essential that you understand the different types of blocks that come with a bitcoin mining pool, as it can impact the income you could earn. The different types of blocks include Orphan, Uncle, and Genesis.
Things You Should Consider Before Choosing a Bitcoin Mining Pool
With mining, it is important that you carefully consider certain things before you decide what pool to join. Some of these factors include:
The bigger the pool is, the more regular the payments. However, since the cryptocurrency is mined by a significantly larger number of people, the payout each member will receive can often end up being meager. The opposite is true for smaller pools which offer far less frequent payments but bigger payments.
Once a block has been added to the blockchain successfully, a mining pool can share the reward in different ways. These include:
- Pay-per-share (PPS). Pay per share is one of the most fundamental pool reward structures around today. Under this model, a user is paid a fixed amount whenever a share is submitted.
- Proportional reward structure. Here, the miners’ payment depends on the number of shares they found.
- Scored- based reward method. This is a proportional reward type that takes into account the time a share is submitted.
- Pay per last N shares (PPLNS). This reward model works the same way as the proportional method, with the difference being that each share can be paid on multiple rounds.
Bitcoin mining pools charge differently. Some charge as high as 4 percent, while others charge 0 (zero) percent for every transaction. Also, the fees are paid up front.
You should make sure to find out how reliable a particular pool is before you join them. Other things you should also consider include how secure the pool is as well as the ease of withdrawing funds.
Best Bitcoin Mining Pools
Some of the most popular pools in the crypto world today are discussed below:
Slush Pool was launched in November 2010. It ranks among existing Bitcoin mining pools as the oldest. The company started out under the name Bitcoin Mining Server before it rebranded itself. Based in the Czech Republic, Slush Pool is operated by Satoshi Labs and adopts a score-based system to prevent pool switching. This means that if you switch from Slush Pool to another pool and try to return; a drop in scores is the end result.
Slush Pool accounts for around 7% hash power overall and charges a fixed fee of 2% for every transaction. The Pool shares the transaction fee earned with miners. Miners can set their withdrawal threshold as little as 0.001 bitcoin. However, they will be charged additional fees for any withdrawals below 0.01 bitcoin.
Slush Pool allows its clients to register their preferences about the kind of mining they want their devices to perform. Besides bitcoin mining, Slush Pool users can also mine Zcash (ZEC) for free. The pool’s servers are located in the US, China, Europe, and Singapore.
- Slush Pool is the oldest mining pool in the world
- High levels of account security
- Servers are distributed around the globe
- User-friendly dashboard
- Relatively high fees
Ant Pool is the biggest pool in existence and one of the best bitcoin pools. It is run by Bitmain Technologies, a Chinese firm, and accounts for around 22% of the network hash rate. Users on this pool can choose from one of two reward method: Pay per Share (PPS) or Payment per last N shares (PPLNS). With PPS, miners are charged 4% on payouts in addition to 2% of any transaction fees earned. The PPLNS reward type is free. However, the Ant Pool will retain all transaction fees.
Payments are made once each day, provided the amount is more than 0.001 bitcoin. Ant Pool boasts an easy-to-use dashboard with a clean interface, which makes it beginner friendly. The pool also offers numerous security options which include email alerts, a two-factor authentication, as well as wallet locks. Ant Pool supports mining of Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum.
- High levels of security
- Several security options
- Easy-to-use dashboard
- The freedom to choose between two mining reward types
- Individual payouts are smaller
Kano CKPool is a public pool launched by Con Kolivas, an anesthetist, and “Kano,” a bitcoiner. The pool was created in 2014 and runs a PPLNS reward type. Kano CKPool represents around 3 percent of global hash power and charges as little as 0.9 percent transaction fee, with the fees included in the block rewards. This means that payouts are quite generous.
Kano CKPool mines between two to three blocks each day. Miners can only mine bitcoin with Kano CKPool. In addition, the layout of the company’s website is very simplistic.
- Low pool fees
- No payout threshold
- Registration is optional
- The website is extremely basic
F2Pool (Also DiscusFish)
F2Pool is a decentralized peer-to-peer bitcoin mining pool that allows users to choose whether they want to mine a public or private node. The pool was created in 2013 and is run by two Chinese technology enthusiasts in Wang Chun and Mao Shihang.
F2Pool accounts for about 14 percent of the global network hash rate, which makes it the second largest Bitcoin mining pool around today. The pool charges 4 percent fee on a PPS basis. In addition, F2Pool keeps all earned transaction fees and has its threshold for bitcoin payments set at 0.001 bitcoin. Payments are made automatically at midnight UTC each day.
Being just being one of the best pools, F2Pool is one of the most diverse pools out there. It allows users to mine bitcoin, litecoin, ethereum, zerocoin, DASH, monero, and Siacoin, among others. The Chinese-based pool has several servers in the US, Hong Kong, and of course, Mainland China.
- Supports the mining of several digital currencies
- The website offers an English interface
- Low payout threshold
- High mining fees
US-based Eligius was launched in April 2011 and is operated by Luke Dashjr. You do not need to register to join the pool. Eligius controls less than 1% of the global network hash rate, which makes it one of the smaller mining pools in the crypto world.
The pool runs a PPS reward structure and does not charge transaction fees. However, it has its minimum payout set at 0.04 bitcoin. Asides bitcoin, Eligius also supports the mining of Namecoin (NMC).
- No registration required
- No transaction fees
- Supports Namecoin
- Eligius requires significant amounts of hash power, which can be costly.
BTC.com is one of the most popular mining pools in the crypto world due to its innovative drive. The large pool outfit started in 2016 and also owns the domain Bitcoin.com. The company earned a name for itself shortly after it was created by creating a robust bitcoin wallet and its own bitcoin explorer. When it comes to delivering the bitcoin-focused benefits, there are only a handful of pools that can rival BTC.com.
BTC’s mining servers are located in Germany and China. Apart from Bitcoin, users can also mine bitcoin cash. BTC.com adopts a rewarding system called Full Pay Per Share (FPPS), a model which determines a standard transaction fee within a particular time, includes it in the block reward, and then distributes the entire reward to miners in the same way as the tradition pay per share (PPS). Its policy of sharing transaction fees makes mining a lot more lucrative for miners.
- com is a highly innovative company that is driving change in the world of cryptocurrency thanks to its novel approach to mining
- com allows miners to share transaction fees
- High levels of security
- Servers are located in both Europe and China
- Flaky website
BTC China Pool
BTC China Pool (BTCC) launched in late 2014 but quickly rose to prominence thanks to the exploits of BTC China, one of the largest crypto exchange platforms in China. The company is led by Bobby Lee and supports other digital currencies.
- Supports several cryptocurrencies
- Highly secure pool
- No significant disadvantages