Long post Warning:
(hit the scroll wheel down if not interesting in my ramblings on Bitminter, p2pool and a stronger/decentralized network)
BitMinter has been a great place to mine. Dr. Haribo is an awesome pool op and one I have no problems trusting with large sums of coins. I have however finished migrating my farm to p2pool. I joined BitMinter (way back when we had 30GH/s and I was 10 of them
) because I was concerned about the risk large pools represented
. I decided to put my hashing power where my mouth was and it has been an interesting experience.
It wasn't an easy decision as I have grown attached to BitMinter but I have moved to p2pool because I feel it is the best "weapon" against an increasingly centralized Bitcoin. Small pools find it difficult to grow due to variance which keeps them small and thus they have higher variance (and the cycle repeats). Even if a pool does grow there is always the risk it displaces a fallen giant, becomes a giant itself and the risk remains. Thus I now believe that "medium sized pools" are unstable. They either decline or grow and while the top few pools may change mining will be dominated by a dynamic of a few super pools and lots of tiny ones.
That being said there are issues which make p2pool non optimal for small miners so pools (hopefully smaller pools) have a role to play. We talked about it briefly weeks ago but i believe a hybrid pool which uses p2pool as a back end is the missing link.
It is a symbiotic relationship. The hybrid pool and p2pool gains significantly reduced variance from increased hashing power. Both are now more competitive at attracting their respective "core audience". If BitMinter sent hashing power to p2pool then p2pool (and BitMinter) would have an average block generation time of <4 hours.
It is the integration of small & medium sized pools which will move p2pool to the next level. I believe large farms, hybrid pools and "subp2pools" can form a decentralized backbone. This is necessary for p2pool to grow beyond that TH/s level and maybe someday provide 51% of the hashing power.
It looks like this guy has taken that idea and run with it:https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=66202.0
Granted he only has 5GH/s (native) and a crude interface but I admire his spirit. One thing i would point out is he enjoys about 70% less variance than BitMinter despite his tiny size. Minters don't jump ship that wasn't the point. I believe BitMinter could do it better
using existing codebase and Dr. H experience as a solid pool ope. I think BitMinter could grow to be one of the largest pools by offering a decentralized alternative for those who don't want to either use large centralized pools, get slammed by the variance of small pools or run their own p2pool instance.
A hybrid pool involves a few components
a) Running p2pool daemon (pool can provide it a static "vanity" address for payment)*
b) Issue getworks generated by p2pool to users
c) When miners returns shares:
1) record diff 1 hashes (shares) for reward splits (same as now)
2) forward share-chain diff hashes (currently ~600) to p2pool network
3) broadcast full diff hashes (solved blocks) to Bitcoin network (same as now)
* p2pool may need to be either re-coded or integrated into existing pool backend to handle higher getwork volume.
When p2pool finds a block all miners payment addresses are already in the coinbase to payment is secure. Bitminter would then take the sum it receives and split it among miners based on shares recorded in step b above. This is very similar to how BitMinter pays out now. Each day instead of having 1 or 2 blocks where it is the only payee in the coinbase it would have 6 to 12 blocks where it is one of many payees in the coinbase.
An example of the coinbase split can be seen here (this is the reward split in every hash worked by every miner):http://p2pool.info/
(1p2pool is my vanity address, bitminter could advertise as say 1Minter
I leave an open offer
to assist with building/testing/experimenting with a BitMinterHybrid. I also understand that it isn't something to be done lightly so a copy of the BitMinter code & database could be moved to a seperate "test instance" to test p2pool integration without interrupting the mainline pool.
I am willing to provide whatever is needed:
a) hashing power pointed at a server including remote access to the rig if needed. No need for payment, no worries if it has 99% stales, instances crashes, etc. All my rigs are 2GH/s (no you don't get the rack-mounted water cooled one
). If we getting it working with one I am willing to donate all of them to provide further testing.
b) funding for servers, equipment, or anything else that is needed
c) coding work (while I can't take the lead I can provide assistance, bug checking, etc)
d) technical details on p2pool and optimizations (I have spent a large amount of time looking over the p2pool codebase)
If Dr. H doesn't want to be involved but would consider selling BitMinter code & database structure (not data) I would be willing to purchase it. This would be an independent project, fully de-branded, not having any affiliation to BitMinter. It would just provide a rapid template for building a 200GH/s capable hybrid pool. I know he has worked extensively on the pool backend with little compensation this would be an opportunity to monetize it. I will donate an extra 10% for Dr.H to offers as a block bonus to miners of BitMinter.
If Dr. H never wants to take me up on either offer no hard feeling. If he gets the urge in a week, month, year the offer remains open. I have enjoyed my time mining here. I am sincere when I say BitMinter has the best pool op, a great layout, and an awesome community of miners.
Last Edit: 2/29/2012 09:54 - improved clarity of some parts, cut ramblings by 1.8%.