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Mining 101
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10 Popular Bitcoin Mining Pools

  • Alex Dovbnya
    Mining 101

    Being an individual Bitcoin miner can be hard work but joining a pool will get you a steady payout. The advantages of group mining are great


10 Popular Bitcoin Mining Pools
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Contents

As the old adage goes, “two heads are better one,” so go that the more miners working together to mine Bitcoin, the better the results for the individual miner in terms of rewards. So there is a definite advantage to join a pool as you can concentrate your hash power to mine more rewards and split them among the pool of miners. Let’s learn about the best mining pool for Bitcoin.

Mining is concentrated to China, which is due to a low cost of electricity and rumors that the electric suppliers route extra electricity to mining pools as not to waste it at the moment - you cannot store electricity at such a massive level for later use! This low cost of electricity and a high number of inhabitants makes for a great combination to support Bitcoin mining. Despite some saying the contrary

Concentration of mining pools by country

These top six countries have 96 percent of the world’s Bitcoin mining pools.

  1. China 81%
  2. Iceland 5%
  3. Japan 3%
  4. Czech Republic 3%
  5. Republic of Georgia 2%
  6. India  2%

Reap the rewards

One of the main reasons to join a mining pool is that you can earn more rewards as a group as opposed to a sole prospector, however, there are different ways that rewards are paid out, each with their own advantages and disadvantage. Remember, that some pools slice a percentage of the top of your rewards, from zero to three percent. Not all pools are upfront about their fee structure.

  • Pay-per-Share (PPS): Each time a share is submitted, a user is paid a fixed amount. The major downside to using the PPS structure, is this particular method results in higher pool fees and the more fees, the more your rewards diminish.

  • Proportional: The user is paid based on the proportion of shares they found. The more shares submitted, the more a miner will earn. To increase earning power in this situation, one needs to either upgrade their mining rig or find a pool with an overall lower hashrate.

  • Score based: A proportional method weighed by the time a share is submitted.

  • Pay Per Last N Shares (PPLNS): Similar to proportional, but each share can be rewarded on multiple rounds. Pay Per Last N Shares structure can be quite lucrative. This may sound similar to the proportional payout method, but there is one big difference PPLNS looks at the last N shares, regardless of round boundaries.

Top 10 largest Bitcoin mining pools

Distribution of hashrate

Many of you might be asking, “what is the best Bitcoin mining pool to join?” “Which one has the best Bitcoin mining payout?” Or “What is going to happen when all 21 million Bitcoins are mined?”

1. Antpool

Antpool is a mining pool based in China and owned by Bitmain. Antpool mines about 25 percent of all blocks. It might be the best free Bitcoin mining pool to join, but keep an eye out on the Bitcoin transaction fees that are not disclosed. Also, be aware of Antbleed. Within the last six months, AntPool has discovered the maximum number of Bitcoin blocks, around 18 percent of the total discovered blocks, making it a consistent top ranker in the list of mining pools. AntPool’s pool hashrate currently stands at around 3600 Petahash/second (PH/s). It was the best Bitcoin mining pool in 2017.

2. BTC.com

BTC.com is a public mining pool. It supports full pay-per-share (FPPS) payout methodology. Proponents claim that's more beneficial to miners as it calculates and adds a standard transaction fee to the regular block rewards, making the overall payout higher than the standard pay-per-share (PPS) payout. It currently maintains a hashrate of 5.88 Exahash per second (EH/s).

3. BTC.top

BTC.top is a private pool and cannot be joined. The pool hashrate hovers in the range of around 3100 Petahash/second (PH/s).

4. Bixin

Another mining pool that is based in China. It is a public pool, but only in Chinese.

5. BTCC

BTCC is a pool and also China’s third-largest Bitcoin exchange. Its mining pool currently mines about seven percent of all blocks.

6. F2pool

F2Pool is based in China. F2Pool has mined about five to six percent of all blocks over the past six months.

7. ViaBTC

ViaBTC is a somewhat new mining pool that has been around for about one year. Again, it is for Chinese speakers.

8. BW Pool

BW is another mining company based in China. It currently mines about five percent of all blocks.

9. Bitclub.Network

Bitclub Network is a large mining pool and could be one of the best Bitcoin mining pool to join. Remember to do your own research!

10. Slush

Slush was the very first mining pool and currently mines about three percent of all blocks. It was founded in the Czech Republic. It is one of the most popular mining pools despite not being one of the largest. It just might also be the best Bitcoin mining pool to join. It is also user-friendly and is the best Bitcoin mining pool for beginners. Additionally, when it was newer, it was one of the best Bitcoin mining pool in 2012.

Honorable Mention:

Eligius

A Bitcoin mining pool based in the US. There is no registration required, making it quick and simple to join. It was founded in 2011 and it was one of the first Bitcoin mining pools. It is a very small pool with under one percent of the network hashrate. One of the main advantages of Eligius is that there are no fees. Users receive the entire block reward, including the transaction fees. Eligius operates a PPS reward system with a minimum payout of 0.04 BTC.

Mining is hard work, work together

If you want to become a miner, it is generally recommended that you join a pool because when you work in a team, you will be more successful to mine and earn rewards on a consistent basis whereas if you go it alone, your rewards will be bigger but fewer and farther between. If you are just getting started, check out some of the listed mining pools, but remember to do your due diligence before joining.

Cover image via www.123rf.com
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About the author

Alex Dovbnya (aka AlexMorris) is a cryptocurrency expert, trader and journalist with an extensive experience of covering everything related to the burgeoning industry — from price analysis to Blockchain disruption. Alex authored more than 1,000 stories for U.Today, CryptoComes and other fintech media outlets. He’s particularly interested in regulatory trends around the globe that are shaping the future of digital assets.

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