What Is A Bitcoin Mining Pool?
So you've got your Bitcoin mining hardware hooked up, and you’re looking to get your software connected and running. If you want a steady flow of Bitcoin from your mining operation, you're likely going to want to join a Bitcoin mining pool.
If you don't have hardware and software, you might want to also read our post, [What is Bitcoin Mining?], to learn everything you'll need to start Bitcoin Mining.
Mining pools are groups of people who lend the hash power of their cryptocurrency miners to a central source. Being connected via the Internet, the miners all work as one and collectively increase their chances of solving the solution to a block faster, and ergo receiving the mining block reward.
Each participant agrees to receive a portion of the reward dependent upon the amount of power they lent to the pool. This is a great way for people with only one or two miners to receive a regular flow of Bitcoin.
What Are The Biggest Bitcoin Mining Pools?
An enormous portion of all Bitcoin mining happens in China. This is largely due to the low cost of electricity, and a dense local population of Bitcoin miners. Some estimates even go as high as 80%+. The largest Bitcoin mining pools in the world are in China, though some have servers located in Europe and North America, allowing anyone in the world to route their hash power through them.
Both of these Bitcoin mining pools are run by Bitmain Technologies Ltd, a company based in Beijing, China. Together, they are responsible for around 40% of all block production worldwide.
Bitmain is also one of the largest producers of the application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chips that are used in modern Bitcoin miners, and in total, they own 11 Bitcoin mining farms in China.
Another mining pool based in China, ViaBTC has pools set up for many of the most popular cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereum, Dash, and more. If you're looking to mine more than just Bitcoin, this may be the choice for you.
Based in the Czech Republic, Slushpool was the very first Bitcoin mining pool. Producing its first block in December of 2010, the Slushpool has mined over 1 million Bitcoin in total. It is widely regarded as the go-to for new miners due to its reliability and ease of use.
There are tons of mining pools out there to choose from. Again, many are based in China, but that actually doesn’t matter all that much, as many of the Chinese Bitcoin mining pools can be joined by anyone in the world who knows where to point their miners.
F2Pool – Yet another China-based mining pool, this one has an English interface, making it much easier for the rest of the world to interact. This is another pool that offers users the option of mining some of the most popular altcoins like Litecoin and Ethereum.
BTC.top – Based in China (are you starting to see a trend here?), BTC.top is still a fairly new pool, being founded in 2017, but has grown fairly quickly. The problem here is that BTC.top is currently a private pool, meaning you can’t readily join it.
BTCC – BTCC is China’s third-largest cryptocurrency exchange, and runs a pool that consists of around 5%-7% of block production.
Bitclub.network – Bitclub is a mining pool that is touted as one of the best Bitcoin mining pools, though it’s important to note that Bitclub works a little more like a Multi-level-marketing system, or cloud-based service. Users pay into the system and receive a daily reward based on purchased shares and referral commissions.
Teamwork Makes The Dream Work!
If your cryptocurrency mining rig isn’t incredibly powerful, your best option for mining Bitcoin is almost always going to be joining a mining pool in order to get the most out of your hardware. The rising mining difficulty [BTC difficulty chart] will make it very challenging for solo miners to receive any rewards at all, due to the amount of time it would take to find the solution. If you’d like to know more about the rate at which Bitcoins are produced, and how long before no new Bitcoin can be mined, read our blog post, [How Long Does It Take To Mine 1 Bitcoin?]