Time and again, the topic of Bitcoin (BTC) mining polarizes the crypto community.
But how centralized is BTC mining actually? What are mining pools and how has mining changed?
What are bitcoin mining pools?
Mining pools are groups of cooperating miners who agree to share mining rewards in proportion to their contributed hash rate. Mining pools offer many advantages in that rewards are more predictable and, in many cases, higher. At the same time, however, they concentrate power with the owners of the mining pool. However, Bitcoin miners always have the option to redirect their hash power to another mining pool. For example, if a miner no longer agrees with the mining pool owner’s actions, they can simply switch to another pool.
The Bitcoin network is often criticized for having a majority of its miners from China. Currently, the majority of mining pools are definitely located in China. There are about 20 major mining pools and broken down by percentage of hash power, an estimated 65 percent of the global hash rate is located in China.
Bitcoin Mining Pools
Below are the top five mining pools that have mined the most Bitcoin Supersplit blocks in the last three months. Together, these bitcoin mining pools account for a hash rate share of over 60 percent.
Antpool is one of the oldest bitcoin mining pools. The mining pool is located in China and has a hash rate share of 10.19 percent. This gives AntPool a total hash power of 15.20 EH/s . The company behind Antpool is Bitmain, the largest manufacturer of bitcoin mining equipment. However, Bitmain’s management team has repeatedly made headlines in the past. As recently as July of this year, there was infighting between founder Micree Zhan and co-founder Jihan Wu. The dispute was over the unauthorized theft of 10,000 Antminers from a company facility in Mongolia. Despite the controversies, miners do not seem to have lost confidence in the mining pool. After all, AntPool is still one of the most important bitcoin mining pools in the world.
4 Binance Pool
A new player in the bitcoin mining sector is Binance. The crypto exchange has been operating its own mining pool since April 2020. In the last six months, this mining pool has been able to grow rapidly and now the mining pool owns a share of 10.56 percent of the global hash rate. With a hash power of 18.39 EH/s, Binance is currently one of the largest mining pools in the crypto space and the company is also expanding massively in staking.
Binance states that the mining pool’s nodes are already located in America, Europe, China and other places around the world. In addition, users who connect to Binance’s pool would be automatically assigned to the nearest mining node to make mining as efficient as possible. However, there is no data yet on how distributed the miners really are within Binance’s mining pool.
3. BTC.com Pool
BTC.com is another Bitcoin mining pool from the Middle Kingdom. With a hash rate of 18.41 EH/s and a market share of 10.73 percent, BTC.com is currently the third largest mining pool in the world. BTC.com was founded in 2016 and consistently ranks among the top mining pools by hash rate share. In addition, the company also supports so-called smart pools. In these pools, exactly the cryptocurrency that is currently most profitable is mined automatically. The hash rate of the users is thus to be optimally divided in order to maximize profits.
This mining pool is also based in China. Poolin comes with a computing power of 20.18 ethahashes per second and a market share of 11.92 percent. Poolin is one of the most renowned bitcoin mining pools. Both CEO Kevin Pan and CTO Terry Li previously worked at Baidu. The mining company mines several other cryptocurrencies besides Bitcoin and owns huge hashrate shares there as well.