Despite suggestions that Bitcoin mining pools are not as profitable as they used to be, the new open-source platform by China’s website for Bitcoin block statistics seems to have found a place on the list of the top ten mining pools.
According to the pool distribution statistics provided by Blocktrail as at the time of writing, BTC.com launched the new platform about two weeks ago and is now at the tenth spot on the list of pools covering 2.40% of the market share, based on the past week’s record.
In a chat with CoinTelegraph, Bitmain’s Nishant Sharma says the pool has been launched now despite the halving having cut the block rewards in half because the mining community remains strong and is still growing.
Zero mining fee
Bitmain’s BTC.com which started as a block explorer last year is using some incentives to draw users. It will be charging zero mining fee for the pool until 2017, and will offer a 1% subsidy to every new user within the first three months of its launch, provided the user maintains a hashrate for at least one month.
Some of the pool’s new features are its “PoolWatcher” function to “listen” to other mining pools to reduce the number of orphaned blocks and increase the pool’s productivity; and the “BtcAgent” software which enables mining farm owners or miners with multiple workers to monitor workers in their LAN on the mining pool.
Whether these features will enhance its competition with other operators and rise on the list cannot be determined yet especially with all the incentives still attached to its services.
Welcome to the club
It is still a long way from established pools such as DiscusFish / F2Pool which currently holds 16.12% of the market, AntPool 14.78%, BW Pool 13.24%, BTCC 12.38% and ViaBTC 9.89%
ViaBTC is relatively new too. It launched less than a month ago with an announcement that it is currently testing Bitcoin Unlimited, a software client which allows users to signal support for hard fork-induced changes to Bitcoin's block size limit.
“We are testing on Bitcoin Unlimited, but don't have a schedule yet to switch to it,” it says on Reddit.
Like BTC.com, most of these top ten pools, which are believed to be currently fully validating blocks with Bitcoin Core 0.11 or later, are located in China except for the likes of Slush which is based in the Czech Republic.
What is a Bitcoin mining pool?
Bitcoin mining pools are a way for Bitcoin miners to pool their resources together and share their hashing power while splitting the reward equally according to the amount of shares they have contributed to solving a block.
A "share" is awarded to members of the Bitcoin mining pool who present a valid proof of work which their Bitcoin miner solved. They use two popular types of payment - PPS or 'pay per share,' and DGM or ‘Double Geometric Method.’