Cointelegraph spoke with the creator of the first bitcoin mining pool of the world, Slushpool, which has released its Chinese version targeting the untapped potential of the growing Asian market.
Slushpool belongs to SatoshiLabs based in Prague, Czech Republic. As one of the earliest Bitcoin companies, SatoshiLabs also operates bitcoin hardware wallets named Trezor and Coinmap used to check the merchants who accept bitcoin worldwide.
Marek Palatinus, who is also known as “slush” to many people, is the architect of the Slushpool, which launched in 2010, to become the first bitcoin mining pool in the world. More than 939,000 BTC have been mined since it started operating in December 2010.
Although the bitcoin mining pool industry is developing very rapidly in China comprising a large portion of the total hash rate, Slushpool was, in fact, the major choice for miners around the world before China’s domestic mining pool, Pond F2pool, was founded.
This March, Slushpool released its first version in Chinese. “China is one of the markets, which are not fully developed and bitcoin is becoming more and more popular there,” said Palatinus. “So we have opened our service to China and offered technology support in Chinese through our server based in Beijing and Singapore.”
Before working in the Bitcoin industry, Palatinus has worked in the IT industry for nearly 15 years. He has developed several successfully internet startup and worked as an enterprise architect for one of the largest banks in Central Europe.
Cointelegraph: How did you create the world’s first mining pool?
Marek Palatinus: Hi, my name is Marek Palatinus but in the Bitcoin space I'm better known by nickname “Slush.” The SlushPool was created in late 2010 when I was mining for bitcoins alone with my computer and realized that it's quickly becoming unprofitable for single miners. Fortunately, a solution came to my mind. I've created a system where small miners would join together to pool their resources and share their profit proportionally. That's why the method is called “pooled mining.”
CT: Who owns SplushPool? And how has it been going at Slushpool since it was created?
MP: SlushPool has been going through a lot of stuff since its inception. It will be 5 years this December and in the history there have been just very few hours of downtime. Most of our business consists of taking care of the infrastructure and providing customer support. The SlushPool falls under our parent company called SatoshiLabs, which also produces bitcoin hardware wallet called TREZOR and runs a Bitcoin services directory CoinMap.org.
CT: How many people work in the Slushpool team?
MP: SlushPool was originally a one man project and then gradually after few years I've realized that it's getting more serious, so I've started to bring more people in. Now there's up to 8 people working on various parts of the business.
“[O]ur pool has the best user interface and monitoring capabilities.”
CT: Why did you decide to release a Chinese version?
MP: Bitcoin mining is a global phenomenon so it is natural for this business to expand to all continents. China is one of the biggest untapped markets with a huge potential as Bitcoin is quickly becoming popular there. We have already released our service in China; we have servers in Beijing and also in Singapore for Asia-pacific and we even provide support in Chinese language.
CT: Compared with other mining pool, what advantages do the Slushpool have?
MP: I can honestly say that our pool has the best user interface and monitoring capabilities. Any bigger mining farm operator will tell you that quickly identifying the problem when things go wrong is the key. This is where we have edge over other pools in the advanced monitoring and reporting features. Our support team is also very well informed and provides answers and help quickly.
CT: On the Chinese version of your website it says that “our unique return system provides loyal users with steady and transparent rewards.” How does this work?
MP: We are using a score based system to distribute bitcoins to miners proportionally to their hashing speed. This system works best for people who mine with our pool over a longer period of time, because sometimes the reward can be unpredictably higher or lower. That's the nature of bitcoin mining.
CT: Could you explain what the “smart load balance” and “failover system” features are?
MP: These are systems we use on the server side of our business. In simple words it means that our servers are distributed on a cloud and even if it goes down locally, we can relay you to other servers in different location to achieve the highest possible uptime so our customers can earn bitcoins without interruption.
“[W]e send payouts automatically to miners so there's never too many bitcoins on one spot [.]”
CT: How does Slushpool secure users’ accounts?
MP: We take security very seriously at SatoshiLabs and no different is it on SlushPool. That's why we send payouts automatically to miners so there's never too many bitcoins on one spot, thus not even making a target for hackers. Users can also enable 2 factor authentication for access to their accounts. When you combine this with our TREZOR wallet risks are very minimal.
CT: What’s ahead for Slushpool in the future?
MP: Right now we're working on implementation of “merged mining”, which is additional revenue stream for miners without any added effort from their side. A mobile friendly website and mobile monitoring app is also in the pipeline.
In general we'd like to provide our users with everything they need to mine efficiently. We're also testing new possibilities of getting feedback and proposals on new features through our Development corner. There are always many things that we can choose from to develop or integrate but currently our main focus is to get more miners on board from all around the world.
[Editor’s note: The interview was conducted for 8BTC News on behalf of Cointelegraph by Meng from 8BTC.]
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