Doing bitcoin mining alone is risky and often unprofitable.
In fact, mining is a competition in which the winner is whoever manages to mine a block first. Because the competition is fierce and has enormous amounts of hashpower, it is very difficult for a single miner to compete. It would take so much hashpower that it would require millions of dollars in investment, with no real guarantee of success.
Mining pools are platforms that combine the computing power of many miners and distribute any income from mining in proportion to the amount of hashpower made available to the pool by the individual miners.
Most of the new Bitcoin blocks are currently being mined by mining pools.
These pools bring together huge amounts of hashpower from a large number of different miners and are therefore extremely competitive. This also affects the choice of the pool to which a miner can affiliate, because the most powerful ones are also the ones that are able to mine more blocks, but on the other hand they are also the ones with the greatest competition from other miners, and therefore lower revenue distribution percentages.
Being a Bitcoin miner: the pools
Currently the one with the highest hashrate is F2Pool. This is a long-standing Chinese mining pool that was founded in 2013. It alone owns almost 20% of all Bitcoin hashrate, and in addition to BTC it is also mining another 40 cryptocurrency pools.
As far as Bitcoin is concerned, the pool keeps 2.5% of its revenue as commission costs and pays out daily.
In second place is Poolin, with over 12% of Bitcoin’s hashrate. It is a more recent pool, established in 2017, and in addition to BTC also undermines ETH, BCH, BSV, LTC and other cryptocurrency.
Poolin also holds 2.5% of BTC’s mining commission.
In third place among Bitcoin’s largest hashrate holders is Binance, which is not a pool but a single miner, while in fourth place is Huobi, another exchange that mines on its own.
In fifth place, with almost 10% of the hashrate, is BTC.com’s mining pool, owned by the well-known ASIC manufacturer Bitmain. Like F2Pool it is Chinese and has existed since 2013.
It also mines other cryptocurrency, in addition Bitcoin Era to bitcoin, and has a 4% commission on BTC’s mining.
In sixth place, and last of the large mining pools, is AntPool, with 9.9% of the hashrate. It is the second mining pool controlled by Bitmain, which therefore in total controls almost 20% of Bitcoin’s total hashrate. However, until a few months ago this percentage was higher.
So AntPool is also Chinese, was founded in 2014, and undermines seven other cryptocurrency pools, including Dash and Monero (XMR).
In reality there are many other mining pools, and these are only the main ones. It should be noted that adding the hashrate of F2Pool, Poolin, BTC.com, and AntPool is more than 50% of Bitcoin’s total hashrate, and adding the two major single miners, Binance and Huobi, is almost three-quarters.
So all the other pools, put together with the other single miners, barely make up 25% of the total hashrate, but in some cases can offer better conditions than the first four.
The individual miner who wants to join a pool must compare the various parameters of the various offers in order to choose the one that best suits his or her business.