Now that you have Bitcoin mining hardware, your next step is to join a Bitcoin mining pool.
What is a Mining Pool?
Mining pools are groups of cooperating miners who agree to share block rewards in proportion to their contributed mining hash power.
While mining pools are desirable to the average miner as they smooth out rewards and make them more predictable, they unfortunately concentrate power to the mining pool’s owner.
Miners can, however, choose to redirect their hashing power to a different mining pool at anytime.
Pool Concentration in China
Before we get into the best mining pools to join, it’s important to note that most mining pools are in China. Many only have Chinese websites and support. Mining centralization in China is one of Bitcoin’s biggest issues at the moment.
There are about 20 major mining pools. Broken down by the percent of hash power controlled by a pool, and the location of that pool’s company, we estimate that Chinese pools control ~81% of the network hash rate:
The list below details the biggest Bitcoin mining pools. This is based on info from Blockchain’s pool share chart:
We strongly recommend new miners to join Slush Pool despite it not being one of the biggest pools. It was the first Bitcoin mining pool and remains one of the most reliable and trusted pools, especially for beginners.
Antpool is a mining pool based in China and owned by BitMain. Antpool mines about 25% of all blocks.
BTC.top is a private pool and cannot be joined.
BTC.com is a public mining pool that can be joined. However, we strongly recommend joining Slush Pool instead.
Bixin is another mining pool that is based in China. It is a public pool, but unless you speak Chinese we do not recommend joining this pool.
BTCC is a pool and also China’s third largest Bitcoin exchange. Its mining pool currently mines about 7% of all blocks.
DiscusFish, also known as F2Pool, is based in China. F2Pool has mined about 5-6% of all blocks over the past six months.
ViaBTC is a somewhat new mining pool that has been around for about one year. It’s targeted towards Chinese miners.
8. BW Pool
BW, established in 2014, is another mining company based in China. It currently mines about 5% of all blocks.
Bitclub Network is a large mining pool but appears to be somewhat shady. We recommend staying away from this pool.
Slush was the first mining pool and currently mines about 3% of all blocks.
Slush is probably one of the best and most popular mining pools despite not being one of the largest.
Bitcoin Mining Pool Comparison
|Slush Pool||Czech Republic||2%||No|
The comparison chart above is just a quick reference. The location of a pool does not matter all that much. Most of the pools have servers in every country so even if the mining pool is based in China, you could connect to a server in the US, for example.
Get a Bitcoin Wallet and Mining Software
Before you join a mining pool you will also need Bitcoin mining software and a Bitcoin wallet.
Mining Pools vs Cloud Mining
Many people read about mining pools and think it is just a group that pays out free bitcoins. This is not true! Mining pools are for people who have mining hardware to split profits.
Many people get mining pools confused with cloud mining. Cloud mining is where you pay a service provider to miner for you and you get the rewards.
If you just want bitcoins, mining is NOT the best way to obtain coins.
Buying bitcoins is the EASIEST and FASTEST way to purchase bitcoins.
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Which Countries Mine the most Bitcoins?
Bitcoin mining tends to gravitate towards countries with cheap electricity.
As Bitcoin mining is somewhat centralized, 10-15 mining companies have claimed the vast majority of network hash power.
With many of these companies in the same country, only a number of countries mine and export a significant amount of bitcoins.
China mines the most bitcoins and therefore ends up “exporting” the most bitcoins.
Electricity in China is very cheap and has allowed Chinese Bitcoin miners to gain a very large percentage of Bitcoin’s hash power.
It’s rumored that some Chinese power companies point their excess energy towards Bitcoin mining facilities so that no energy goes to waste.
China is home to many of the top Bitcoin mining companies:
F2Pool, AntPool, BTCC, and BW.
It’s estimated that these mining pools own somewhere around 60% of Bitcoins hash power, meaning they mine about 60% of all new bitcoins.
Georgia is home to BitFury, one of the largest producers of Bitcoin mining hardware and chips. BitFury currently mines about 15% of all bitcoins.
Sweden is home to KnCMiner, a Bitcoin mining company based in Stockholm. KnCMiner currently mines about 7.5% of all bitcoins.
The US is home to 21 Inc., a Bitcoin mining company based in California.
21 runs a large amount of miners, but also sells low powered bitcoin miners as part of their 21 Bitcoin computer.
Most of the hash power from the 21 Bitcoin computers is pointed towards 21’s mining pool. 21 Inc. mines about 3% of all bitcoins.
The countries above mine about 80% of all bitcoins.
The rest of the hash power is spread across the rest of the world, often pointed at smaller mining pools like Slush (Czech Republic) and Eligius (US).
A Note on Pools
While we can see which mining pools are the largest, it’s important to understand that the hash power pointed towards a mining pool isn’t necessarily owned by the mining pool itself.
There are a few cases, like with BitFury and KnCMiner, where the company itself runs the mining operation but doesn’t run a mining pool.
Bitcoin miners can switch mining pools easily by routing their hash power to a different pool, so the market share of pools is constantly changing.
To make the list of top 10 miners, we looked at blocks found over the past 6 months using data from BlockTrail.
The size of mining pools is constantly changing. We will do our best to keep this posted up-to-date.
If you cloud mine then you don’t need to select a pool; the cloud mining company does this automatically.
Why are Miners Important?
Bitcoin miners are crucial to Bitcoin and its security. Without miners, Bitcoin would be vulnerable and easy to attack.
Most Bitcoin users don’t mine.
However, miners are responsible for the creation of all new bitcoins and a fascinating part of the Bitcoin ecosystem.
Mining, once done on the average home computer, is now mostly done in large, specialized warehouses with massive amounts of mining hardware.
These warehouses usually direct their hashing power towards mining pools.
Despite recent controversy, Antpool remains the largest Bitcoin mining pool in terms of its Bitcoin network hash rate. Antpool holds roughly 15% of the total hash rate of all Bitcoin mining pools.
Antpool mined its first block in March 2014, meaning that it emerged roughly four years after the first mining pool; Slushpool.
Antpool is run by Bitmain Technologies Ltd., the world’s largest Bitcoin mining hardware manufacturer, and a large portion of their pool is run on Bitmain’s own mining rigs.
Antpool supports p2pool and stratum mining modes with nodes that are spread all over the world to ensure stability (US, Germany, China etc.).
Also, Antpool’s user interface is surprisingly slick considering that the underlying company thrives mostly off of hardware sales.
How to Join Antpool
The pool is free to join and the process is simple.
First, you need to acquire Bitcoin mining hardware. Then you need to download mining software. If you need help deciding, I suggest you take a look at our hardware and software guides.
Hardware is important because it determines the size of your contribution to the pool’s hash rate. Software is important because it enables you to direct your hardware’s hash power towards the pool you prefer. So make sure to make the right choice in order to optimize your rewards.
Finally, sign up at antpool.com to get started.
What are Antpool’s Fees?
Antpool claims that it does not charge any fees for using its pool. Although there is some truth to this claim, it is not 100% correct.
While Antpool does not directly charge fees, it also does not disclose the Bitcoin transaction fees that are collected. Basically, clients are left in the dark. Currently, every Bitcoin block has a 12.5 BTC reward which Antpool does share with you when it finds a block.
Lately, however, Bitcoin transaction fees have been rising and an additional 1-2 bitcoins are collected per block by pools. At this time, Antpool keeps 1-2 bitcoins form transaction fees for itself, which are not shared with miners who have hash power pointed toward the pool.
It can be argued that these rates prevent the service from being usable for small-time and big-volume users. Consequently, some users on bitcointalk.org heed that the undisclosed fees make the service unwise to use for the time being.
What is the Payout Threshold?
The pool does not appear to have a payout threshold and pays out every day around 10 AM UTC.
The minimum withdrawal amount is 0.0005 BTC (other sources say 0.001 BTC).
Can you do Solo Mining on Antpool?
Solo mining means you mine for bitcoins without joining a pool. So if you use Antpool you are not solo mining by default.
Generally, you will receive more frequent payouts by joining a pool.
What is the Controversy around Antpool?
Antpool has refused to enable arguably beneficial upgrades to Bitcoin for reasons based on claims that have been largely disproved. Notably, this has taken place with somewhat of a vindictive attitude.
More specifically, the controversy revolves around Segwit – a feature that requires miner activation to be enabled. Despite the fact that most Bitcoin users want this feature activated, Antpool, among other pools, appears to be blocking this feature.
Antpool began signalling for Bitcoin Unlimited in early March 2017 for reasons that have not been elucidated by Bitmain CEO (and cofounder Jihan Wu).
Antpool claims that it will only signal for Segwit if there is a hardfork, which is a proposition that most users oppose. Furthermore, allegations that the owner refuses to sell hardware to Segwit supporters have also begun to circulate.
By using Antpool, you allow the pool to decide your hardware’s approach to these matters, meaning that the pool that you used dictates the type of Bitcoin protocol that your hardware employs. If you wish to decide which implementation your hardware should signal for, you can use a pool that leaves the choice to its users, like the Slush mining pool.
According to BlockTrail, Bitfury is the third largest Bitcoin mining pool and mines about 11% of all blocks.
The main difference between the Bitfury pool and other mining pools is that Bitfury is a private pool.
Bitfury, the company, makes its own mining hardware and runs its own pool. So, unlike Slush or Antpool, Bitfury cannot be joined if you run mining hardware at home.
Bitfury 16nm ASIC Chip
Unrelated to its pool, Bitfury sells a 16nm ASIC mining chip.
Although Bitfury controls a large portion of the Bitcoin network hash rate, its committed to making Bitcoin decentralized :
BitFury is fundamentally committed to being a responsible player in the Bitcoin community and we want to work with all integrated partners and resellers to make our unique technology widely available ensuring that the network remains decentralized and we move into the exhash era together.
Valery Vavilov, CEO of BitFury
BTCC Mining Pool Review
BTCC Mining Pool is run by BTCC, a Bitcoin company based in China. The company also runs a Bitcoin exchange, wallet, prints physical bitcoins and more!
BTCC runs servers all over the world so your mining hardware can connect easily to the BTCC pool.
So even though BTCC is based in China, don’t be worried that you can’t use or join the pool:
Our mining pool currently has customers from the United States, South America, Europe, China, and Africa.
Bobby Lee, BTCC CEO
One great thing about BTCC pool is that it shares Bitcoin transaction fees with its miners.
In every Bitcoin block, around 1-2 BTC worth of transaction fees are also rewarded to the pool.
Some pools keep these fees for themselves and DO NOT share with their miners! BTCC evenly splits the transaction fees among its miners, just like it splits the 12.5 BTC reward.
Slush Pool Review
Slush Pool is run by Satoshi Labs and was the world’s first ever Bitcoin mining pool. It’s advanced yet also a great pool for beginners.
How to Join and Use Slush Pool
Slush Pool is easy to join.
Slush Mining Pool URLs
According to Slush’s website, there are the current URLs for the mining pool. You will want to point your software towards the URL location closest to you. This will maximize your mining profits.
USA, east coast:
What are Slush Pool’s Fees?
Slush Pool charges 2% of all payouts.
This may seem like a lot but unlike other pools it shares the transaction fees with its miners. At current levels, these amount to 1-2 BTC more per block.
Satoshi Labs runs Slush Pool. They also make the Bitcoin TREZOR hardware wallet and Coinmap.org.Это интересно:
HashFlare облачный майнинг криптовалюты доходность и .
Jimmy Song is a bitcoin developer and principal architect at blockchain technology startup Paxos.
In this opinion piece, Song discusses mining patterns on the bitcoin cash blockchain, theorizing on what they might indicate about the incentives powering the new cryptocurrency.
Over the weekend, the bitcoin cash blockchain experienced a notable technical change.
Like the bitcoin blockchain from which it forked, bitcoin cash is hard-wired to adjust how hard it is for miners to claim its rewards, and on Saturday, it saw such a change. As a result, bitcoin cash was made 300% more difficult to mine.
This, in turn, caused the profitability of the coin to decrease dramatically. Many miners left for bitcoin, and for about 10 hours only a few blocks were found.
As a result, emergency difficulty adjustments (a technical mechanism unique to bitcoin cash) were triggered, causing the difficulty to drop enough for miners to begin switching back.
What's interesting, however, is that at the time, bitcoin cash was still less profitable to mine than bitcoin by about 20%. Still, many miners, including those using pools like BTC.Top, ViaBTC and AntPool continued dedicating computing power to the blockchain.
This means these miners were likely giving up profit that they could have earned had they been mining bitcoin. So what gives? And why are miners mining at a loss?
This is not an easy question to answer and my analysis here is speculative. But, here are some possibilities:
Miners are committed to fork
Miners may be committed to making the new cryptocurrency work, as they may have now accrued a large bitcoin cash position.
Armed with this vested interest, they may believe slow blocks will cause bitcoin cash to tank, so they may be mining to keep the network working smoothly.
The argument against this is that during the 10-hour window after the non-emergency difficulty adjustment, many of the same miners left. If consistent blocks were the major concern, there should have been more mining power on bitcoin during that interval.
Miners think the price will rise
The miners mining now may be thinking that the bitcoin cash price will increase in the near future to make mining worthwhile. A 30–40 percent increase in the bitcoin price relative to bitcoin would certainly make their mining profitable, and they may be waiting until then to sell.
These miners may have insider information about a large buy order or may be just hoping for larger fluctuations of bitcoin cash price.
Miners are getting subsidies
Another theory is that there may be bitcoin cash supporters that are subsidizing mining in some way, behind the scenes.
This could be something like an over-the-counter market for bitcoin cash where buyers are paying a higher price than the exchanges to incentivize mining. If the buyers demand freshly minted bitcoin cash, this would effectively make it so miners were the only supply that could satisfy this particular demand.
Similarly, bitcoin cash supporters could simply be paying pools to point hash power the blockchain network.
Ultimately, there are now more questions than answers.
We don't really know why miners are mining bitcoin cash instead of bitcoin. But, we know that at the very least, they aren't making as much money as they could, and this means these miners are paying some opportunity cost in order to mine bitcoin cash.
Gold panning image via Shutterstock
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For more details on how you can submit an opinion or analysis article, view our Editorial Collaboration Guide or email [email protected]
How to Earn Money with Bitcoin - ccn.com
Bitcoin may be winning the battle for investment dollars, but when it comes to attracting mining power, competition is heating up.
After the bitcoin cash blockchain experienced a major adjustment this weekend, the less than one-month-old cryptocurrency has seen a dramatic reduction in mining difficulty, and perhaps more crucially, an increase in its profitability for those providing computing power as a means to secure its ledger.
At press time, bitcoin cash has now attracted nearly 30% of the mining power of the bitcoin network, a figure that is up from just 5% two days earlier.
As profiled by CoinDesk last week, the move sets the stage for a high-profile, real-time test of how two large blockchain markets might compete at scale. As both bitcoin cash (BCC or BCH) and bitcoin (BTC) use proof-of-work to secure their transaction histories, both networks are now effectively competing for hash power.
So, while bitcoin cash may have struggled to produce blocks after the split (miners initially earned less money), that has now changed.
As of last Friday, bitcoin miners are now earning more through the creation of new bitcoin cash, as developers and miners have worked to lower the bitcoin cash difficulty rating that regulates its rewards.
Price takes note
What happens from here is less clear given that there are few comparative events from which to draw historical information.
The most similar event, last summer's ethereum hard fork, had several notable differences in that both networks very much wanted to continue building in separate directions. Bitcoin's split, by contrast, has been more competitive.
Already, there is suggestion that there might be a larger fight over the bitcoin branding should one blockchain prove more popular. And it remains to be seen how exchanges would respond to such an event in their listings.
Further, the two markets appear to be divorcing from ideological motivations, with many bitcoin and bitcoin cash users and traders showing a propensity for taking profit wherever it's being made available.
At press time, bitcoin cash is trading at just under $600, though its price had been as high as $1,000 this weekend, largely on anticipation of scheduled mining changes.
The result is a sign that bitcoin cash may be responsive to developments in hash power changes, or at least, the expectation of those changes. By contrast, bitcoin has seen more stability to these fluctuations, largely trading in the $4,000 to $4,500 range over the last several days.
Miners for hire
But while price action has been subdued, the event still might mark a turning point in the relationship between the two competing cryptocurrency networks, which emerged following a years-long disagreement on how best to upgrade bitcoin's technology.
Bitcoin cash, created in August, boasts 8 MB transaction blocks, while bitcoin is soon set to activate Segregated Witness, a code optimization that will increase capacity as well as redefine how capacity is counted by the distributed network.
Still, miners so far appear to be setting up to profit from the competition between the two networks in their quest to appeal to users.
In recent days, BTC.Top, the fifth-largest mining pool, and AntPool, the network's largest mining pool, have both given the independent miners that use their software the option to dedicating their computing power to both networks.
Some are now going a step further, with ViaBTC and AntPool indicating they are or will soon begin working on technology that will enable miners to direct their computing power to whichever chain is offering the most profits.
For now, markets will likely be watching to see whether other miners follow suit.
Anvil image via Shutterstock
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Disclaimer: This article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide, investment advice. Please conduct your own thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency.
Disclaimer: This article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide, investment advice. Please conduct your own thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency.
Antpool Bitcoin Cash Stratum 2018 - iswhere.org
China is the undisputed world leader in Bitcoin mining.
Chinese mining pools control more than 70% of the Bitcoin network’s collective hashrate.
Here is our estimated* mining hash power breakdown by country:
15% of the hash rate is missing from above chart, but it’s likely that China crontrols an even greater amount.
Not only does China manufacture most of the world’s mining equipment, but massive mining farms are located there to take advantage of extremely cheap electricity prices.
China also accounts for hefty Bitcoin trading volumes. Chinese exchanges used to lead the world in terms of volume.
Chinese volume has fallen substantially since the PBOC decreed that exchanges could no longer offer 0% trading fees. This ruling flushed a lot of wash trading from the Chinese exchanges.
So, just why is China the world’s leader in Bitcoin mining?
Reason #1: Cheap Electricity
Electricity cost is the most important factor for a profitable mining operation. As mining difficulty increases, the least efficient miners are forced to shut down first.
Electricity in China is extremely cheap compared to most other countries. Chinese electricity in industrial regions is either supplied by hydro-electric facilities or subsidized by the state.
China’s cheap electricity keeps Chinese miners at peak efficiency and allows them to outlast their foreign competitors.
Reason #2: Excess Coal
Coal is the cheapest power source but also the dirtiest. It’s well-known that China has comparatively lax environmental policies. Major cities like Beijing are notorious for their high levels of smog, produced mostly by burning coal.
Energy producers can freely burn coal and use the energy for Bitcoin mining. Instead of physically transporting the coal, it’s easier and more cost-effective to establish a Bitcoin mining operation near a source of coal and convert carbon directly to crypto.
#Bitcoin enables Chinese entrepreneurs to export coal by burning it and using the energy to mine.
— Emin Gün Sirer (@el33th4xor) July 20, 2015
Reason #3: Leading Bitcoin Mining Pools
Mining pools, as the name implies, are collaborations between individual miners and, frequently, major mining companies. Their hashrate is combined so that the pool has a better chance of finding a block. The block reward is then shared among all contributing members, according to their proportional hashrate.
The result is that many miners outside of China are attracted to Chinese mining pools due to their size. The bigger a pool, the more steady and predictable a member’s earnings. Many miners are lured by the prospect of small, steady earnings as part of a major pool, as opposed to the high- reward-but-low-odds lottery which is solo or small-pool mining.
China is home to four of the five largest Bitcoin mining pools over the past year. As of the 29th of March, 2017, the distribution of hashrate was as follows:
Antpool is another Chinese based mining pool, maintained by the ASIC manufacturer, BitMain. Antpool has mined nearly 20% of all blocks over the past year. Antpool currently has a hashrate of about 675 Petahash per second (PH/s).
There is some speculation that AntPool disguises its true hashrate by running subsidiary pools. These are said to include ViaBTC, BTC.com, GBMiners, CANOE and possibly others.
2. F2Pool / DiscusFish
F2Pool, also known as DiscusFish, is based in China. F2Pool has mined about 18.5% of all blocks over the past twelve months. At the time of writing, it controlled about 380 PH/s.
BTCC is China’s third largest Bitcoin exchange and also operates a large mining pool. The BTCC pool has mined about 11% of all blocks over the past year. It controls about 240 PH/s.
4. BW Pool
BW, established in 2014, is another mining company based in China. BW’s pool has mined about 10% of all blocks over the last year. It controls in the region of 225 PH/s.
So, what does this situation mean for Bitcoin? Sadly, nothing good:
There’s a definite downside to China’s mining dominance:
Having so much mining power centralized in any single country exposes the Bitcoin network to a worrying degree of political risk.
Should the Chinese government decide to crack down on Bitcoin, perhaps seeing it as a threat to their economy or a competitor to their own planned digital currency, they could wreak untold havoc in the Bitcoin ecosystem.
The video below offers an inside look at how Bitcoin mining farms in China operate: