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Question: Do you participate in a pool?
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Author Topic: Too pool or not to pool? That is the question..+ a poll & poolings effect on BTC  (Read 6766 times)
frankiebits
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March 18, 2011, 12:39:24 PM
 #1

PLEASE VOTE!


I have been reading and playing around with bitcoin software for a couple of weeks now. I certainly do not consider myself an expert. Most decisions I had made have came to me very easily and I feel I am understanding the network more and more everyday.

At first I decided I do not want to pool, even though I am hashing rather slowly right now I will be increasing the speed as much and as often as I can.
I know if I pool I will see fractions of bitcoins coming in at a more steady rate than if I mine solo which with my current rig right now will take me over a month of mining to see a bitcoin.

My questions about pooling are...

Was the network designed for pooling?

Would it be more beneficial to miners if there were no pools?

Doesn't having pools hashing at mega rates hurt the chances of the new comers or slow hash solo miners that are integral to the growth of the network?

I am trying to look at it from outside the box not really as a miner.

I want to know the effect mining pooling will have on the network , the difficulty , inflation , deflation, motivation of new miners and so forth and if in the long term if it will hurt the network?

Anything else interesting you might want to add go ahead I'm all ears.

PLEASE VOTE!

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March 18, 2011, 12:48:55 PM
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In my mind it's a simple calculation. The more miners there are, the less each miner will find. That's how the system is made. It will reach a point where only the most efficient systems will be able to mine coins at a rate approaching equal to their cost in electricity; balanced by the value of individual coins relative to the currency of the power bill.

Mining will give you a chance at a windfall, or nothing at all. Joining a pool increases your chance of a smaller amount, but over a long period of time it should be equal I think - unless the mining equipment is overcoming the power cost by offsetting it to someone else.

That's my thoughts anyway, but I don't know much about pooling.
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March 18, 2011, 12:49:02 PM
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Pooling is good for slower miners, and provides a location for combining hashing power. This location will give these slower miners a slightly higher payout then if they went solo.

However, for faster miners (5970 and upwards) solo mining is a good option, but payouts can be very irregular. There is an "In between" for GPU miners however, and smaller pools of fast miners are an excellent way to increase regularity of payments whilst maintaining high payouts. http://btcmine.com is a good example of one such pool.
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March 18, 2011, 01:31:04 PM
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I don't understand HOW a pool could hurt mining, all it does is help!

Pools are just a bunch of miners working together to have smaller rewards more frequently, it helps the lower hashrate miners and gives security to the higher hashrate ones. They do not "steal" any btc from the smaller miners, as the hashrate of the pool is the SUM of the miners inside them

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March 18, 2011, 01:41:27 PM
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I don't understand HOW a pool could hurt mining, all it does is help!

Pools are just a bunch of miners working together to have smaller rewards more frequently, it helps the lower hashrate miners and gives security to the higher hashrate ones. They do not "steal" any btc from the smaller miners, as the hashrate of the pool is the SUM of the miners inside them

On the network a pool is recognized as a single miner? Then the pools software handles the distribution of BTC? Is this correct?

I never said anything about anyone stealing either....

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March 18, 2011, 01:51:00 PM
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I don't understand HOW a pool could hurt mining, all it does is help!

Pools are just a bunch of miners working together to have smaller rewards more frequently, it helps the lower hashrate miners and gives security to the higher hashrate ones. They do not "steal" any btc from the smaller miners, as the hashrate of the pool is the SUM of the miners inside them

On the network a pool is recognized as a single miner? Then the pools software handles the distribution of BTC? Is this correct?

I never said anything about anyone stealing either....

Exactly correct. The pool submits the solved blocks to the network, and receives the BTC. This is then distributed to miners according to their shares. Each pool does this a little differently, but the biggest difference to the amount received per share is the amount of users in the pool: The more users, the less you get for each share but the faster blocks are solved.
frankiebits
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March 18, 2011, 01:59:09 PM
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I don't understand HOW a pool could hurt mining, all it does is help!

Pools are just a bunch of miners working together to have smaller rewards more frequently, it helps the lower hashrate miners and gives security to the higher hashrate ones. They do not "steal" any btc from the smaller miners, as the hashrate of the pool is the SUM of the miners inside them

On the network a pool is recognized as a single miner? Then the pools software handles the distribution of BTC? Is this correct?

I never said anything about anyone stealing either....

Exactly correct. The pool submits the solved blocks to the network, and receives the BTC. This is then distributed to miners according to their shares. Each pool does this a little differently, but the biggest difference to the amount received per share is the amount of users in the pool: The more users, the less you get for each share but the faster blocks are solved.

So as more and more people join pools the number of miners drops significantly, how does the number of total miners effect the network if at all?

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March 18, 2011, 02:08:51 PM
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I don't understand HOW a pool could hurt mining, all it does is help!

Pools are just a bunch of miners working together to have smaller rewards more frequently, it helps the lower hashrate miners and gives security to the higher hashrate ones. They do not "steal" any btc from the smaller miners, as the hashrate of the pool is the SUM of the miners inside them

Pooling does not hurt mining but it can (not saying it does) hurt both the stability of bitcoin and the security of bitcoin.

If two large pools covered more then 50% of mining they owners could collude together to change transactions.  This is unlikely but it is not nearly as unlikely as 51% of individual miners coordinating and doing the same thing. 

Secondly if a pool fails it takes down a much greater amount of computing power for the network then if a single miner or even a group of miners fail.  It removes a part of the redundancy of the bitcoin network. 

That being said, I do group mine with two different pools and I solo mine as well and thank the pool operators for making pools. Pooling is not nearly as lucrative for the pool operator as I thought, as with a 2% commission a pool operator with 25% of all of the mining still does not make over 50BTC a day.  Someone could get a similar amount with about five 5970's.   

So the answer is, I pool.  Smiley

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March 18, 2011, 02:38:29 PM
 #9

I don't understand HOW a pool could hurt mining, all it does is help!

Pools are just a bunch of miners working together to have smaller rewards more frequently, it helps the lower hashrate miners and gives security to the higher hashrate ones. They do not "steal" any btc from the smaller miners, as the hashrate of the pool is the SUM of the miners inside them

Pooling does not hurt mining but it can (not saying it does) hurt both the stability of bitcoin and the security of bitcoin.

If two large pools covered more then 50% of mining they owners could collude together to change transactions.  This is unlikely but it is not nearly as unlikely as 51% of individual miners coordinating and doing the same thing.  

Secondly if a pool fails it takes down a much greater amount of computing power for the network then if a single miner or even a group of miners fail.  It removes a part of the redundancy of the bitcoin network.  


This is what I am trying to understand, if you are in it for the long haul these things should be very important to you. I'm sure my poll will be proof that the majority of miners are in pools. If pools start pooling there will be a serious problem right? Like you said just they just need 51% , all you need if a few very large powerful pools to join together. This may not happen now or not for ten years but this a very serious possibility correct?  

Is there anyway to see the number of miners, their power , and how much blocks they are solving?

Edit: Also what is stopping one person with a nice chunk of cash from taking majority control of the network right now?

Wherever there is money, there is greed and corruption, the whole point of this currency is to be more secure than others so I am just trying to understand how exactly this security is accomplished. Like you said pools can possibly be a threat to this security... this is why I am trying to understand how pools effect the network as a whole and how it operates.

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March 18, 2011, 04:19:42 PM
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As the overall hashing rate of the network goes up, so does the difficulty. Now for the new "Super user" they will still earn a decent amount, but for smaller users it become unprofitable. This difficulty factor prevents inflation beyond a desired amount, and it varies to maintain the overall value of a bitcoin.

However, your talking about £100k's, if not in excess of £1m, of equipment costs to reach even 50% of the bitcoin network hashing potential.
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March 18, 2011, 07:52:55 PM
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As the overall hashing rate of the network goes up, so does the difficulty. Now for the new "Super user" they will still earn a decent amount, but for smaller users it become unprofitable. This difficulty factor prevents inflation beyond a desired amount, and it varies to maintain the overall value of a bitcoin.

However, your talking about £100k's, if not in excess of £1m, of equipment costs to reach even 50% of the bitcoin network hashing potential.

Does overall hashing rate simply increase by the combined efforts of the entire network or are there other factors such as total amount of miners or the average hashing rate to number of miners?

My question basically is does total number of "miners" (a pool representing 1 miner) on the network also have any influence on the rate at which the difficulty rises\falls?


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March 18, 2011, 08:16:52 PM
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As the overall hashing rate of the network goes up, so does the difficulty. Now for the new "Super user" they will still earn a decent amount, but for smaller users it become unprofitable. This difficulty factor prevents inflation beyond a desired amount, and it varies to maintain the overall value of a bitcoin.

However, your talking about £100k's, if not in excess of £1m, of equipment costs to reach even 50% of the bitcoin network hashing potential.

Does overall hashing rate simply increase by the combined efforts of the entire network or are there other factors such as total amount of miners or the average hashing rate to number of miners?

My question basically is does total number of "miners" (a pool representing 1 miner) on the network also have any influence on the rate at which the difficulty rises\falls?



In simple form no, but it really depends on what each miner is bringing to the network. You could lose 2000 CPU miners and the difficulty would barely change, but loosing even 50 GPU miners would be a large enough event to shift the difficulty. This also applies if a pool as large as "Slush" ever went down for a prolonged period in time as 120Ghash/s would instantly be lost.
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March 18, 2011, 08:52:27 PM
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Except that the early adopters here are more likely to be highly attentive of what's happening with their clients, and if Slush's pool were to suddenly go down for more than a day or two, I suspect the networking power would return in the form of the growth of other pools fairly quickly.  A temporary loss of 120 Ghash/s yes, but not for a very long time before people manually switch to another solution.
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March 18, 2011, 09:09:52 PM
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I have done both and am currently pooling. However, I am considering moving away from pools.
First, you need to trust the pool operator. I am not saying they are not honest folks but there is no way an outsider to the pool can verify that the operator is only taking what he says he is taking.
Second, these pools are mostly being run by one person and lack things like fault tolerance. If Joe pool operator makes a code change that breaks things, the pool goes down. He isn't likely to have a development environment, test deployments etc. So wwe have 2-3% comissions then there is the downtime which reduces efficiency even further.
So in that respect, I am thinking solo provides the greatest efficiency. There is no overhead loss due to comissions or pool outages.
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March 18, 2011, 09:14:43 PM
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First, you need to trust the pool operator. I am not saying they are not honest folks but there is no way an outsider to the pool can verify that the operator is only taking what he says he is taking.

Well, you can see precisely where the 50 BTC from each block goes, at http://blockexplorer.com/


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March 18, 2011, 09:21:38 PM
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As the overall hashing rate of the network goes up, so does the difficulty. Now for the new "Super user" they will still earn a decent amount, but for smaller users it become unprofitable. This difficulty factor prevents inflation beyond a desired amount, and it varies to maintain the overall value of a bitcoin.

However, your talking about £100k's, if not in excess of £1m, of equipment costs to reach even 50% of the bitcoin network hashing potential.

Does overall hashing rate simply increase by the combined efforts of the entire network or are there other factors such as total amount of miners or the average hashing rate to number of miners?

My question basically is does total number of "miners" (a pool representing 1 miner) on the network also have any influence on the rate at which the difficulty rises\falls?



In simple form no, but it really depends on what each miner is bringing to the network. You could lose 2000 CPU miners and the difficulty would barely change, but loosing even 50 GPU miners would be a large enough event to shift the difficulty. This also applies if a pool as large as "Slush" ever went down for a prolonged period in time as 120Ghash/s would instantly be lost.

Say everyone in every pool started solo mining, would that also have an effect on the difficulty?

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March 18, 2011, 09:32:15 PM
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First, you need to trust the pool operator. I am not saying they are not honest folks but there is no way an outsider to the pool can verify that the operator is only taking what he says he is taking.

Well, you can see precisely where the 50 BTC from each block goes, at http://blockexplorer.com/



But what does that tell you? Let's say I ran a pool with a 5% comission. So I get 2.5 BTC from each block. What stops me from having my pool software simulate a few 5970 clients, awarding me their score in the pool rankings. That of course would be done with seperate addresses so it wouldn't show up on block explorer. I can't think of a way to protect against something like that.
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March 18, 2011, 09:35:59 PM
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First, you need to trust the pool operator. I am not saying they are not honest folks but there is no way an outsider to the pool can verify that the operator is only taking what he says he is taking.

Well, you can see precisely where the 50 BTC from each block goes, at http://blockexplorer.com/



But what does that tell you? Let's say I ran a pool with a 5% comission. So I get 2.5 BTC from each block. What stops me from having my pool software simulate a few 5970 clients, awarding me their score in the pool rankings. That of course would be done with seperate addresses so it wouldn't show up on block explorer. I can't think of a way to protect against something like that.

Over time, participants could get together and realize that their combined returns were less than expected.

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March 18, 2011, 10:38:44 PM
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But what does that tell you? Let's say I ran a pool with a 5% comission. So I get 2.5 BTC from each block. What stops me from having my pool software simulate a few 5970 clients, awarding me their score in the pool rankings. That of course would be done with seperate addresses so it wouldn't show up on block explorer. I can't think of a way to protect against something like that.
It's enough just to compare your expected payout to real one. It should be the same on average, every participant can do this.

Second, these pools are mostly being run by one person and lack things like fault tolerance. If Joe pool operator makes a code change that breaks things, the pool goes down. He isn't likely to have a development environment, test deployments etc. So wwe have 2-3% comissions then there is the downtime which reduces efficiency even further.
So in that respect, I am thinking solo provides the greatest efficiency. There is no overhead loss due to comissions or pool outages.
Do you have any statistics on pool outages or proofs of fault tolerance lack ? How would you know if pool operators have test deployments or not ?
Please, don't make such assumptions.

Solo mining efficiency is higher only if you have hashing speed high enough to find blocks faster than difficulty adjustment steps.

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March 18, 2011, 10:41:54 PM
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As the overall hashing rate of the network goes up, so does the difficulty. Now for the new "Super user" they will still earn a decent amount, but for smaller users it become unprofitable. This difficulty factor prevents inflation beyond a desired amount, and it varies to maintain the overall value of a bitcoin.

However, your talking about £100k's, if not in excess of £1m, of equipment costs to reach even 50% of the bitcoin network hashing potential.

Does overall hashing rate simply increase by the combined efforts of the entire network or are there other factors such as total amount of miners or the average hashing rate to number of miners?

My question basically is does total number of "miners" (a pool representing 1 miner) on the network also have any influence on the rate at which the difficulty rises\falls?



In simple form no, but it really depends on what each miner is bringing to the network. You could lose 2000 CPU miners and the difficulty would barely change, but loosing even 50 GPU miners would be a large enough event to shift the difficulty. This also applies if a pool as large as "Slush" ever went down for a prolonged period in time as 120Ghash/s would instantly be lost.

Say everyone in every pool started solo mining, would that also have an effect on the difficulty?

Nothing, the hashing rate for the entire network would remain the same, but the GPU miners would probably solve a much larger percentage of the blocks: Basically all it's going to affect is the amount of money that CPU miners don't already get.
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