Chapter 5.2

In the last chapter, we talked about crypto mining pools and how they work. We talked about how thousands of miners worldwide pool their resources together to increase profitability and raise the chances of winning a block reward.

Now, we’re going to talk specifically about bitcoin mining pools. Bitcoin, obviously, is the best-known cryptocurrency in the world today. There are plenty of well-known bitcoin mining pools – including Antpool, BTC.com, F2Pool, and BitFury.

Today’s top five mining pools are responsible for contributing approximately 80% of the hashrate to the bitcoin network. 4 of the top 5 bitcoin mining pools are based in China (Slush, meanwhile, is based in the Czech Republic).

It may be tempting to choose the biggest bitcoin mining pools. These pools are well-established and are the default choice for popular mining apps and software. However, bitcoin users concerned about network stability and hashpower concentration may want to choose a smaller mining pool. It’s healthier for the bitcoin network to choose a smaller pool. Of course, it’s also less than ideal to mine bitcoin with a Chinese mining pool when your miner is based in the United States.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at today’s top bitcoin mining pools, including how hashrate is distributed across each pool.

Where Are Bitcoin Mining Pools Located?

In September 2017, the Chinese government cracked down on cryptocurrency exchanges and cryptocurrency trading. They did not, however, target bitcoin mining operations.

Today, the vast majority of bitcoin mining pool hashrate is based in China. China-based mining pools are responsible for approximately 80% of the hashrate on the bitcoin network. China is led by major pools like BTC.com, Antpool, and ViaBTC. In fact, the only non-Chinese pool that cracks the top 6 mining pools in the world is Slush, based in the Czech Republic.

Here’s how bitcoin mining pool hashpower is distributed around the world:

China: 81%

Czech Republic: 10%

Iceland: 2%

Japan: 2%

Georgia: 2%

Russia: 1%

Why these countries? It’s generally accepted that bitcoin mining is unprofitable if you’re paying more than 5 cents per kWh for electricity. The countries above generally have access to cheap electricity. Hydroelectricity is particularly popular and cheap in Georgia, for example, while some mining operations are based in Iceland for its access to cheap geothermal electricity.

Top 10 Biggest Bitcoin Mining Pools in the World Today

Here’s how the top 10 mining pools break down by hashrate:

BTC.com (China): This China-based mining pool is a public mining pool run by Bitmain, the same company responsible for the Antminer series of ASIC devices. BTC.com is responsible for approximately 30% of the bitcoin hashrate on the network.

Antpool: Antpool is another China-based mining pool owned by Bitmain. The pool contributes approximately 15% of the bitcoin network’s total hashpower.

SlushPool: SlushPool is based in the Czech Republic, where it’s responsible for contributing approximately 11% of the bitcoin network’s total hashrate. Slushpool is run by Satoshi Labs, the same company behind the popular Trezor lineup of hardware wallets.

ViaBTC: ViaBTC is a relatively new mining pool based in China.

F2Pool: F2Pool, also known as DiscusFish, is a China-based mining pool responsible for mining approximately 7% of the blocks on the bitcoin network.

BTC.top: BTC.top is a private pool based in China. Membership in the pool is not open to the general public. The pool is responsible for approximately 7% of the bitcoin network’s hashing power.

Unknown: After BTC.top and F2Pool, the next biggest pool according to Blockchain.info is “unknown”. Put simply, some blocks are mined by smaller, lesser-known pools, individual miners, or private pools that don’t disclose details online. At last count, approximately 5% of all blocks on the bitcoin network are mined by unknown pools.

DPOOL: DPOOL is responsible for contributing approximately 4% of the bitcoin network’s hashrate.

BTCC Pool: BTCC is a China-based mining pool that was once one of the biggest mining pools in the world, but today mines only around 3% of blocks on the bitcoin network.

Bixin: Bixin mines approximately 3% of all bitcoin blocks.

Other Mining Pools: After Bixin, the list of the world’s biggest mining pools drops off significantly, although there are still plenty of well-known smaller pools like BitFury (1.6% of bitcoin network hashpower). Other notable pools include BitClub Network, BW.com, 58COIN, KanoPool, Bitcoin.com, ConnectBTC, and BitcoinRussia.

Numbers Change Frequently

It’s important to note that hashrate distribution changes frequently. The numbers above are accurate as of May 2018, but they can change wildly from month to month. For the latest updates on hashpower distribution across the bitcoin network, check Blockchain.info here: https://blockchain.info/pools

Written by Andrew T

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