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5 Best Mining Pools for Bitcoin in 2018

Gone are the days when you could mine hundreds of bitcoins a day with a basic CPU, or even a GPU. These days, bitcoin mining is all about specialized mining hardware known as ASICs (short for application-specific integrated circuits) and bitcoin mining pools.

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What Is a Mining Pool?

Bitcoin mining is all about solving relatively simple cryptographic puzzles. In fact, the puzzle bitcoin miners solve, called SHA-256, can even be solved with pencil and paper, as YouTuber Ken Shirriff demonstrates in this video.

The reason why bitcoin miners have to purchase very expensive mining hardware even though the cryptographic puzzle they are solving is so simple comes from the fact that they have to find a special number, called nonce. Because they never know which puzzle contains the number they are looking for, they have to solve an incredibly large number of them every second.

What’s more, the more people are looking for this special number, the more difficult it becomes to find it. These days, finding the special number requires so much computational power that solo mining is like trying to win the lottery.

Because the people who make money mining bitcoin prefer to have a steady stream of income instead of relying on luck, they have formed what’s called mining pools, which are really just groups of miners who mine together and split the reward. Mining pools increase the chances of finding a block at the group level by combining the computational resources of individual miners.

Thanks to bitcoin mining pools, mining has become predictable and profitable even for relatively small players who don’t have access to monstrous mining rigs consisting of hundreds of graphics cards that together consume as much electricity as a small village.

Best Bitcoin Mining Pools

Size matters when selecting a bitcoin mining pool. Larger mining pools typically offer more regular payments, lower processing fees, and higher rewards. They also offer better security than upcoming mining pools, which is very important considering how many cybercriminals are working overtime trying to steal bitcoin wallets from various bitcoin services and individual users alike.

Slush Pool

Operating since 2010, Slush is the first bitcoin mining pool in the world. This Czech Republic-based mining pool has servers distributed around the world, and it relies on an intelligent load balancing and fail-over system to ensure nearly 100 percent uptime. To stay politically neutral, Slush has a unique voting system that gives every single user a voice. This approach has served Slush extremely well over the years, making it one of the most popular bitcoin mining pools in existence.

Antpool

Owned and operated by Bitmain, a privately-owned company headquartered in China, Antpool is the second largest bitcoin mining pool at the time of writing this article. Although Antpool is based in China, its website is fully translated into English (as well as Russian), and Antpool’s official mobile app is available to everyone without any restrictions. Antpool offers a variety of security options, and its polished mobile and web interface makes it very attractive to inexperience bitcoin miners looking for their first mining pool to join.

Eligius

Eligius is an open mining pool that can be joined by anyone without registration. Unlike other bitcoin mining pools, Eligius doesn’t charge fees, and it manages under the CPPSRB reward system at 100 percent value. Miners are typically paid directly from the block reward, which means that Eligius almost never keeps any funds in its internal wallet, making it highly transparent and unattractive to hackers. Because Eligius isn’t profitable for its operators, it offers only basic functionality.

BTC.com

BTC.com is the largest bitcoin mining pool in the world. Just like Antpool, BTC.com is operated by Bitmain, who acquired it in 2016. Besides the mining pool, BTC.com also operates a very popular bitcoin wallet and a block explorer tool.

ViaBTC

ViaBTC is a relatively new China-based bitcoin mining pool. The pool has adopted PPS+ and PPLNS payment methods, and it keeps its fees as low as is necessary to guarantee pool safety and daily maintenance. The pool is managed by a professional technical team with experience in development and operation of distributed, high-concurrency, and high-availability services. Since its launch, ViaBTC has maintained an uptime of 99.999 percent.

Want to streamline your Bitcoin tax calculations?

Looking for a better way to track your crypto portfolio value live?

We recommend CoinTracking

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