My Own Mining Pool

Yes I’m frustrated again…

It seems like common sense to me that there should be a mining pool that you point your hash power to, magic happens and you get paid.

Magic? Well the pool could monitor the best mining conditions, taking into account the difficulty/block reward/exchange rates, and send work for the most profitable coin to the miner. The coins are mined and traded for a desired payout currency that’s sent to the miner. i.e. the Miner could mine the X11 protocol and the pool would send work for the most profitable x11 coin, exchange the mined coins and trade them then pay back the miner in Bitcoin or some other Altcoin…

This is the definition of a multi-pool, and they supposedly exist, so why am I frustrated?

  1. I had a terrible time finding any.
    1. There are some lists of multi-pools, but most of the sites are down/gone.
    2. Some you’ll find still working are so unpopular that the reward rate is very low.
    3. The websites/directions etc. aren’t in English. Shame on me for not being fluent in all the languages of the world.
  2. I found
    1. Does everything I want
    2. Popular enough to pay miners regularly
    3. The stratum server drops my connection like clock work every 2 hours 20 minutes and I have to restart all my miners to get reconnected again.

The next best offering is a service where you sell your hashing power to people who want to boost their own or don’t want to own/manage mining hardware. The multi-pool in this case points your hardware to the mining the buyer wants done and you are paid part of the fee they charge to the buyer.

Hands down the best site for selling your hashing power is NiceHash, reliable connections, active market place, profitable mining. A few months ago NiceHash was hacked someone stole 4700+ coins from the wallet they pay miners from. Seriously… the story is that an employee had their laptop stolen and this laptop had the keys to the NiceHash kingdom. How can you operate a business in this day and age without safe guards for this kind of thing? I work for a company with 30,000+ world wide employees and we can shut out an employees laptop and access to everything in seconds should they call into the help desk and report stolen hardware.

Let’s set the numbscullery aside, it is possible to implement a reliable, globally distributed, multi-pool. It is possible to place safeguards in your infrastructure and operating procedures to greatly reduce the risk exposure of hacking.

So I’m putting my time and money where my mouth is. I am going to create a globally distributed multi-mining pool that will pay miners in the more stable of the cryptocurrencies available. I plan to use a state of the art infrastructure that makes the different parts modular and not interdependent. The maintenance monitoring of health will be managed by a globally distributed team of experts. Initially the interface will be in English, but then internationalized shortly after.

Wish me luck.

Cryptocurrency Mining Software and Pools

In “Mining Cryptocurrencies” I wrote briefly about CPU, GPU and ASIC mining. All of these mining methods require software to get work (the complicated math problem) from the Cryptocurrency’s network and send it to the hardware to calculate.

Also, note there are several different kinds of math problems currencies use related to their protocol. I won’t go into a lot of detail, first because I’m not a math wiz, second because I could devote several posts to one protocol and there are several, but most importantly because that’s not the approach I’m taking in my blog. I’m here to help someone who doesn’t need to know every last tiny nuance of every Cryptocurrency to get started.

I will however list some Currency and Protocol pairs. Bitcoin uses SHA-256, Litecoin and DNote use scrypt, Dash (which used to be Dark Coin) uses X11, Ethereum uses Ethash, and ZCash uses Equihash. If you’ve taken my advice in previous posts you’ve checked out and know you know what some of the items on that page are.

Going back to mining software… As I stated above, the hardware performs the math, but software is required to gather the math and send it to the hardware. That means a device is required to communicate with the hardware. In the case of CPUs, GPUs this usually means a computer with a hard disk to install the software. The first versions of ASIC miners were USB devices for computers and the software would detect them to send work to them. Standalone ASIC devices still have a CPU,  network interface and software, but these software is flashed to a chip or written to an SD card plugged into an integrated computer like a Raspberry Pi.

Nearly all mining software is available for free from Start by either going to a mining pool or the coin’s community page to find links and instructions. Standalone ASIC miners have their own software. Upgrades are usually available from the manufacturer.

In most cases the software only provides mining for one protocol. That’s not always the case, some developers have created software that can receive a command from a pool that mines multiple pools to switch which currency the software is mining.

Mining software is almost exclusively written in C++. Which doesn’t mean a lot to many people. But it allows for two main advantages. First the software can be easily put together for multiple OS, Linux and Windows being the most popular. Secondly the software is modular, or it can be broken up into pieces.  Developers can take a miner currently available on Github for one currency and replace the parts they need for another currency and thus all the existing support for GPUs and OS come along for the ride. Likewise, if a new family of video cards is released it’s easy to add a new piece of code to support those cards. When you’re looking for mining software make to you download the right package for your operating system and your video card family (Windows/Nvidia or Linux/AMD etc.) Some software packages have both video card families available in each OS package, but you’ll find from reading through reviews that one software might work better with your hardware than another.

There is scant little mining software for Apple products. Mostly because Apple sucks. Yeah I said it. But also, because you can’t add and upgrade the Video cards for GPU mining and Apple locks down what software is made available to their systems. I guess the company is scared mining software might over heat the CPU.

As a funny side note, my son was actually trying to mine Litecoin on some of our old Android phones. He had to place them under box fans to keep them from over heating and in the end he never made enough to = $0.01, but the price of Litecoin is on the rise again so who knows.

Solo vs. Pool

I introduced a new term “pool” above, so now is a good time to talk about solo vs. pool mining. Solo mining means you use your hardware to mine blocks directly on the block chain. This can be profitable for the first 10 minutes a new currency network is up. Once the currency becomes popular and there is always a handful of miners who seem to have invested $1 billion in hardware to have the best Hash Rate, it’s time to find a pool.

Pool mining means miners pool their Hash Rates, or combine their work. The Pool itself gets the block reward and divides it among its member miners per the amount of work each contributed to finding the block. There are several different methods of determining how much each miner gets of the reward, but in general the miner who does the most work get the highest percentage. One of the bits of information you’ll get from is how much currency you should generate a day. Keep in mind that with Solo mining you only receive a reward when you find the block, but then you get the whole reward. You may not actually get that reward for several weeks… months? in the case of Bitcoin, unless you have spent $1 billion in your mining farm you will not see a reward ever. However, with pool mining, because you earn some of the reward every time a block is found, you should see your balance growing at the rate has calculated for you.

In the early days when most Bitcoin enthusiasts were altruistic and rebels against the world, all the software was open source and the pools were free. That’s not 100% the case anymore. Some of the best mining software for Altcoins has a DevFee built-in. For some part of your mining day the software will disconnect from your pool and connect to the developer’s pool and account and mine for them to reimburse them for the time they spent developing the awesome software you’re using. Likewise, mining pools almost universally charge a fee, 1 or 2% of your earnings to pay for the upkeep, fees and maintenance of the servers you’re using.

Up next a look at networks and wallets.

Stay tuned!

Wikipedia – Bitcoin

Bitcoin Forum – The most popular place to discuss all Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrency Trading Charts

Most Profitable Mining Calculations

Some Exchanges