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Author Topic: Does pool hopping really work?  (Read 14902 times)
grue
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May 26, 2011, 01:38:37 AM
 #1

Has anyone done any tests to prove that pool hopping actually works? i know there's a paper published a while ago with mathematical proof that it works, but is there any tests confirming this?

edit:
link to pool hopping topic: https://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=3165.0

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SchizophrenicX
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May 26, 2011, 01:50:40 AM
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Can someone point me to that thread/article about pool hopping. I'm interested in reading about it and maybe adding to the newbies guide thanks Smiley

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May 26, 2011, 01:57:07 AM
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https://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=3165.0

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eMansipater
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May 26, 2011, 02:47:01 AM
 #4

Pools these days are designed to punish pool hopping, so it can't be done profitably.  This topic is only useful for people starting new pools--not sure it makes sense to have it in a newbies guide.

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May 26, 2011, 02:51:00 AM
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Pools these days are designed to punish pool hopping, so it can't be done profitably.  This topic is only useful for people starting new pools--not sure it makes sense to have it in a newbies guide.

The largest pool (deepbit) is not designed to punish pool hopping. The only safeguard that it has against pool hopping is delaying statistics. But that only increases the difficulty of pool hopping, it does not prevent or punish.

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May 26, 2011, 02:53:50 AM
 #6

Ahh, but then who would you hop to?

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May 26, 2011, 02:57:07 AM
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Any of the other smaller new pools that have no safeguards in place?
xenon481
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May 26, 2011, 02:57:40 AM
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Any of the other smaller new pools that have no safeguards in place?

Or solo, or even Deepbit PPS.

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May 26, 2011, 06:07:21 AM
 #9

Ahh, but then who would you hop to?

It only matters that the pool you are hopping from doesn't implement score-based distribution. You can jump to one that does, like slush's. In fact, this helps you a bit because you'll get close to your EV for your hashrate quickly even if you come in late in a round.

Also it's easier to do this if the pool you're hopping from is small, so you can jump off after a 2 hour round or somesuch.

I was planning on implementing a proof of concept, but then I got bored. Tongue

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grue
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May 26, 2011, 09:27:09 PM
 #10

so is there a consensus on whether it really works or not? It would be nice if someone could publish results showing whether it works or not.

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May 26, 2011, 09:39:55 PM
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so is there a consensus on whether it really works or not? It would be nice if someone could publish results showing whether it works or not.

Yes, it really works.

No, nobody has owned up to cheating everybody else out of money.

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May 26, 2011, 10:34:55 PM
 #12

We've known for a while it works. My question is, who's responsibility is it to trying prevent this? Pool operators obviously don't have a big interest in keeping out computing power and I can't blame them. Though if it's just a matter of way the pool is being operated then, who else can? Soloing is an option, but not a great option for everyone. And lastly, is this really an issue that exist and can we detect this in any way with proof? The talks of it being possible has been around for a long time now.
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May 26, 2011, 10:42:25 PM
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We've known for a while it works. My question is, who's responsibility is it to trying prevent this? Pool operators obviously don't have a big interest in keeping out computing power and I can't blame them. Though if it's just a matter of way the pool is being operated then, who else can? Soloing is an option, but not a great option for everyone. And lastly, is this really an issue that exist and can we detect this in any way with proof? The talks of it being possible has been around for a long time now.

You can probably detect it statistically from the distribution of block times for the pool.  If there is pool hopping then there should be a longer tail.  In the extreme case (which obviously doesn't happen) once a block takes too long everyone hops out and the block never finishes (infinite block time).  I don't know for sure there is enough data to make a strong statistical inference on this, but I would guess there is.

I would bet every BTC I own that there is pool hopping happening on at a fairly large scale, and people have automated it.  And I agree that the way things are structured now the pools don't have a huge incentive to do anything about it. The best thing to do is avoid pools without good defenses. 

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May 26, 2011, 10:46:06 PM
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We've known for a while it works. My question is, who's responsibility is it to trying prevent this? Pool operators obviously don't have a big interest in keeping out computing power and I can't blame them. Though if it's just a matter of way the pool is being operated then, who else can? Soloing is an option, but not a great option for everyone. And lastly, is this really an issue that exist and can we detect this in any way with proof? The talks of it being possible has been around for a long time now.

You can probably detect it statistically from the distribution of block times for the pool.  If there is pool hopping then there should be a longer tail.  In the extreme case (which obviously doesn't happen) once a block takes too long everyone hops out and the block never finishes (infinite block time).  I don't know for sure there is enough data to make a strong statistical inference on this, but I would guess there is.

I would bet every BTC I own that there is pool hopping happening on at a fairly large scale, and people have automated it.  And I agree that the way things are structured now the pools don't have a huge incentive to do anything about it. The best thing to do is avoid pools without good defenses. 

BitcoinPool was getting hit really hard with jumpers on long rounds a while back. They were seeing their hashrate get cut in half during long rounds.

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May 26, 2011, 10:52:18 PM
 #15

BitcoinPool was getting hit really hard with jumpers on long rounds a while back. They were seeing their hashrate get cut in half during long rounds.

Notice that this sucks for the pool even though some of these people aren't even doing it in order to game the system.  They just feel like the pool isn't paying out very well so they want to try something else.  People are going to hop from a pool with the unexploitable score system if the round is really long, but at least in that case it won't hurt the people who don't jump.
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May 26, 2011, 10:56:50 PM
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It works to improve your miner's efficiency. It's not cheating: as with all improvements to efficiency, those who don't do it end up with less. Unlike other efficiency improvements, it doesn't help the network. The end result when everyone uses it could be problematic.

smooth
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May 26, 2011, 10:59:34 PM
 #17

It works to improve your miner's efficiency. It's not cheating: as with all improvements to efficiency, those who don't do it end up with less.

I tend to agree as long as the pool doesn't have a rule against it.
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May 26, 2011, 11:10:05 PM
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It works to improve your miner's efficiency. It's not cheating: as with all improvements to efficiency, those who don't do it end up with less.
I tend to agree as long as the pool doesn't have a rule against it.
Yeah, fair enough. Rules are rules, after all.

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May 26, 2011, 11:21:06 PM
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We've known for a while it works. My question is, who's responsibility is it to trying prevent this? Pool operators obviously don't have a big interest in keeping out computing power and I can't blame them. Though if it's just a matter of way the pool is being operated then, who else can? Soloing is an option, but not a great option for everyone. And lastly, is this really an issue that exist and can we detect this in any way with proof? The talks of it being possible has been around for a long time now.

You can probably detect it statistically from the distribution of block times for the pool.  If there is pool hopping then there should be a longer tail.  In the extreme case (which obviously doesn't happen) once a block takes too long everyone hops out and the block never finishes (infinite block time).  I don't know for sure there is enough data to make a strong statistical inference on this, but I would guess there is.

I would bet every BTC I own that there is pool hopping happening on at a fairly large scale, and people have automated it.  And I agree that the way things are structured now the pools don't have a huge incentive to do anything about it. The best thing to do is avoid pools without good defenses. 
You can do more than just detect it. When Slush was planning on changing to score-based as a result of the paper, the comparison between share and score based pooling specifically showed three people who were pool-hopping. And this was a while ago.

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May 26, 2011, 11:42:07 PM
 #20

No, nobody has owned up to cheating everybody else out of money.

Well, nobody *publicly* claimed that he's cheating others. But I'm sure that somebody implemented it, because free money are free money Smiley.

I wanted to implement it (and openly demonstrated) because of never ending discussion with some people (who don't understant that it really works), but then lost a motivation. It's their problem that they didn't catch it (actually they later introduced some anti-hoping strategy, too; you know who Smiley.

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