Bitcoin mining – Howto find best paying pool?

Unfortunately, i started mining with my own hardware only 4 weeks ago, so i missed the “great times” where mining was easy and you could not lose money. Today its a bit more complicated – you have ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) mining hardware, which is designed for mining SHA-256 coins (=Bitcoin) in the 3rd generation like the antminer s4, next year the 4th generation will be released with more power and less energy consumption. But so i can give you very actual numbers for december 2014 that i have proved and you can profit from this brand new numbers.

First ask yourself from basic maths what can i earn as maximum by mining bitcoins?

If you have an Antminer S4, this bitcoin asicminer will bring you around 2 TH/s – this means, per second it can calculate 2 ‘ 10^12, ergo 2,000,000,000,000 Hashs per second, its power consumption is about 1400 watts an hour (so you calculate your energy costs 24*1.4 = 33,6 kW per day).

Okay now we want to know what we can expect with 2TH/s daily. We visit https://blockchain.info/en/stats which is a very good resource for the actual numbers of bitcoin. And we learn that the as of today, december 13th 2014, the overall network hashrate is 282,407,063.08 GH/s, this means 282,407.06 TH/s.

The bitcoin network sets the difficulty to find a block in a way, that a new block is found every 10 minutes network-wide. So this means on average 144 blocks are found every day. So if you divide 282,407.06 TH/s / 144 blocks you get 1,961.16 TH/s.

If you would have a mining power of 1,961.16 TH/s running full 24 hours, you would mathematically expect to find one block a day. Of course thats the expectation value, thats not guaranteed, but if you do this long enough, this would be the average outcome.

Okay but we said we have “only” an Antminer S4 with 2TH/s – whats in for us ?

So if you divide the daily power of 1,961.16 TH/s / 2 TH/s the result is 980.58 days. This means, that you need 980.58 days to find a block – hmmm.

So since the ASIC hashpower will evolve within the next 6 months and no one can predict, how much TH/s you will need in 6 or 12 month to keep your percentage of network hashpower, it’s not making sense to do solo mining and wait 980.58 days for your block and buy every 6 month new hardware to keep up with evolving network hashrate.

So we have to join a mining pool to get daily payouts – great! But which to choose?

The reason even with an antminer S4 you cant wait almost 3 years to have a big payout, you should join a mining pool. Thats where we come to the headline – how to find the best paying, stable and reliable mining pool ?

First we calculate what is the expected daily income with our Antminer S4 with 2TH/s. If it would take 980.58 days to find a block and earn the coin value of a block, if we join a mining pool and add our power then we would have an expected earn of 1 / 980.58 = 0.00101980460 share on a block each day.

Actually, you get 25.00 Bitcoin and transaction-fees (thats around 0.01 – 0.15 additional Bitcoins) for finding a new block. The coin value of a block started at 50 Bitcoin, and reduces every 210,000 blocks by half. Actually block number is 334,180 so when block number reaches 420,000, you only earn 12.5 BTC a block and so on, so mining will get more unprofitable.

So your expected daily income with 2TH/s is 25.05 (i use this average block value for miners) bitcoin * 0.00101980460 = 0.02554610523 Bitcoin.

Of course i have rounded these numbers while calculating, i hope you don’t worry about this, this is just your expectation value per day to have a number you can compare pool results with, i think we round a bit more and have 0.025546 BTC as an expected earning per day.

That brings back the question on electricity cost: 0.025546 BTC valued in US$ (actual price 350 US$/BTC) is 8.9411 US$. For generating this “big income” you need 1,400 watts * 24 hours = 33,600 watts. So if you would mine just for fun you could afford mining when you pay around 8.9411 US$ / 33.6 kwatts = 0.266 US$/kwatts. If you pay more, forget mining, maybe when the bitcoin price rises to 1,000 US$ you can switch on your miner again.

Hey, your headline was how to find the best paying mining pool ?!

Okay i just wanted you to understand my calculations – because some pools write they have 0% network fee and i still do only believe things i tested myself, you have of course sometimes other (hidden) fees, some networks can cheat or have different payout calculations like p2pool, PLNS, PPS and i wanted to see whats the best in real life, so here we go:

I used the last 2 weeks to run several bitcoin mining pools parallel and track each pool results to compare them now and share this with you. Please understand that i of course did not a laboratory – science – proved evaluation of this data, i used an Antminer S1, 5 Antminer S3, 1 Antminer S4 and applied different TH/s hashpowers to different mining pools and made all calculations using open office. Of course also 14 days is not a time range to avoid variances, so i just want to show you the big picture – but i keep this table updated. Please note that i did not include P2Pool, because i never got a share there and had no earnings, so the results can’t be compared, but i also keep mining, if i find a share, i’ll update the stats.

So compared to our expected average maximum daily earnings of 0.025546 BTC with 2TH/s – which – unrealistically – did not include any network fees and would assume, that each mining pool would provide everything for free, i got the following real-life earnings in the last 14 days:

Bitcoin mining pool average earn / day with 2 TH/s payout min payout time
AntPool 0.02519304 BTC 0.0005 BTC daily
Slush 0.02395798 BTC 0.01 BTC hourly
bitcoin affiliate network (*) 0.02337745 BTC 0.0005 BTC every 2h
Discus Fish (*) 0.02230941 BTC 0.0005 BTC daily
Eligius 0.01765873 BTC 0.0105 BTC hourly
BTC Guild 0.01733296 BTC 0.01 BTC hourly
GHASH 0.01657099 BTC 0.01 BTC hourly

(*) Bitcoin affiliate network and Discus Fish are special mining pools, where you get paid for your mining power directly on a fixed rate. Actually these days i sent my hashpower to Bitcoin affiliate network, my rate was 0.0000000006248832 BTC per share. Your share pay rate is displayed under “Current PPS Rate” in the dashboard “Payment information” section. Discus Fish doesnt publish such a share BTC rate, you can just see what you earned a day or the last 24 hours.

The problem here is that the owner of the pool pays a fixed rate to all miners calculated on their expected earnings. If the pool owner is very unlucky and has some days in a row where he doesnt find a share, than he could go bankrupt. I have expierienced some periodes with bitcoinaffiliate network, where they didn’t pay every 2 hours and you have to wait some more time to get your bitcoin payout. So be careful watching your payouts when using such a pool – its a higher risk.

For me as a result i attached now half of my hashing power to Antpool and the other half to Slush’s Pool, as failover Pool i set Bitcoinaffiliatenetwork – when one of my primary pools are off or experience problems, i earn at least a fixed amount of bitcoin for my hashrate.

Additional hints for using these mining pools

I experienced some beginner problems using these different pools, so i will add some more pool-related information here which could be useful to you. Please note also that the values “actual hashpower share of Bitcoin network” and “actual average found blocks / day” are my calculated values for the last 7 days assuming that the network hashrate (as stated by blockchain.info) is constant at 280 PH/s, of course this is an estimate and varies a bit from the own hashrate each of these networks publishes. Especially slush, one of my favorite pools, had a very bad day on december, 12th with one orphan block and only 1 block found the whole day, but slush also found 11 blocks on december 14th, so i think the numbers show you the trend, but can of course not be exact in a 7 day range and network hashrate of course also varies and is not exact 280 PH/s.

Antpool

  • actual hashpower share of Bitcoin network: 10.91%
  • actual average found blocks / day: 15.43
  • pool fee: 0%
  • signup URL: https://www.antpool.com/
  • mining URL: stratum+tcp://solo.antpool.com:3333

Antpool is the mining pool from the manufacturers of antminer mining hardware. They offer a 0% fee, daily payouts and an easy web interface for statistics. I like the idea that this mining hardware manufacturer supports his clients by providing a 0% pool fee service. And the results show, that they do their best to keep this promise. Don’t worry because their webserver is really slow, but the connections to the mining pool is very good, you see in my payout results.

Attention! Its a bit confusing because you can either use a pool solo.antpool.com:3333 or p2p.antpool.com:3333. You should choose the solo.antpool.com that means NOT that you are solo mining (with an whooping expected time of 3 years to see your first BTC income), solo mining here stands for the normal pool mining, you get rewarded here for each block Antpool finds. The second pool p2p.antpool.com is a P2Pool mining node if you like to join a stable P2Pool node.

Slush

  • actual hashpower share of Bitcoin network: 3.13%
  • actual average found blocks / day: 4.43
  • pool fee: 2%
  • signup URL: http://mining.bitcoin.cz
  • mining URL: stratum+tcp://stratum.bitcoin.cz:3333

I really like Slush’s pool (mining.bitcoin.cz) because it has an easy and simple interface and shows whats needed to be shown. They are doing a website relaunch for the user interface with new great features, charts and statistics. Slush was the first who opens a mining pool for Bitcoin miners and also contributed the stratum protocol to the Bitcoin world, which now every pool takes advantage from. You get your payouts fast and without problems.

Attention! You can manually set a minimum difficulty for each of your workers. So if you use an Antminer S4 you have to set the difficulty for this worker to 2048 because the S4 ignores difficulties less than 2048.

Bitcoin Affiliate Network

Botcoin Affiliate Network pays you a fixed price per share when you apply your mining power here. The payouts are every 2 hours, so you can easily check when there are problems and your payouts don’t arrive every 2 hours you could switch your miners to another pool until your payment arrives. You automatically mine additional Namecoins in merged mining when using Bitcoin Affiliate Network which you can transfer to your namecoin address and sell on one of the cryptocurrencies internet exchanges.

Attention! If you want to use an Antminer S4 you have to use port 3335 to get a fixed 2048 difficulty to reach your S4 miners full 2 TH/s hash power: stratum+tcp://geo.bitcoindigger.com:3335

Discus Fish

  • actual hashpower share of Bitcoin network: 23.23%
  • actual average found blocks / day: 32.86
  • signup URL: https://www.f2pool.com/
  • mining URL: stratum+tcp://stratum.f2pool.com:3333

Discus Fish is actually the biggest mining pool of the Bitcoin network. Discus Fish also pays you a fixed amount for your hashing power, but you see only the actual earnings, earnings of the last 24 hours and sum of your payouts, so the statistic part of the user interface is a bit undervalued there 😉 But Discus Fish is my favorite pool for mining Litecoin (LTC), if you have a scrypt miner and want to mine Litecoins, you can use port 8888 of the mining URL for LTC mining.

Eligius

  • actual hashpower share of Bitcoin network: 3.54%
  • actual average found blocks / day: 5.00
  • pool fee: 0%
  • signup URL: http://eligius.st/~gateway/
  • mining URL: stratum+tcp:/stratum.mining.eligius.st:3334

Eligius is also a Zero-Fee Bitcoin mining pool, its very easy to setup – you dont have to register you just send your Bitcoin Address as workername and your payouts will be sent to your address automatically.

BTC Guild

  • actual hashpower share of Bitcoin network: 4.04%
  • actual average found blocks / day: 5.71
  • pool fee: 2%
  • signup URL: https://www.btcguild.com/
  • mining URL (Europe): stratum+tcp://eu-stratum.btcguild.com:3333

BTC Guild is also one of the “older” mining pools who started some years ago. If you mine with BTC Guild you also generate Namecoins, you can payout your Balance of Bitcoin and Namecoins seperately. BTC Guild has very good statistics and charts so you can understand their payout system very fast and intuitive.

Attention! You can set minimum difficulty here also for each worker seperate. So dont forget if you mine with an Antminer S4 setting the difficulty for this worker to 2048.

GHASH

  • actual hashpower share of Bitcoin network: 16.06%
  • actual average found blocks / day: 22.71
  • pool fee: 0%
  • signup URL: https://ghash.io/
  • mining URL (Europe): stratum+tcp://uk1.ghash.io:3333

For beeing the second biggest pool in Bitcoin network, the performance is poor. Officially there is a 0% pool fee, but if you watch the results – strange. Maybe the 14 day test was a bad luck period for GHASH. With GHASH Bitcoin mining you also automatically mine for Namecoins. GHASH offers also LTC+DOGE and Multipool mining for scrypt miners. GHASH is part of the cryptocurrency exchange CEX.IO, so you can exchange your mined NMC, LTC, DOGE and other currencies with only some clicks.

Thank you for reading this, if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment.

If you liked this post and find it useful, i would appreciate a donation to my bitcoin address: 1E1ScT5gVRhHsA42CGPUB1sdNrA3GngNAX

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4 thoughts on “Bitcoin mining – Howto find best paying pool?

  1. Rey

    I’ve read your post. Its decent but needs some rework and grammatical corrections. Also, about the luck issue, to do a full experiment and really test out each pool you would need:

    A) More time on each pool with some controlled measure (i think its impossible with the actual conditions at the moment)
    B) To block the effects of each antminer, that means you would need at least to use same miner for each pool (in case they did have some problem then it would not affect the experiment)

    my 2 satoshis.

    Like

    Reply
    1. ronny2014b Post author

      Hi Rey,

      thanks for your comments.

      i applied a better experiment here in the second try where i use 2 identical antminers s3 to compare slush and GHash:

      best wishes,
      ronny

      Like

      Reply
  2. pcm

    Thanks for posting this info. kudos to the author. Now I think I have to throw away my Nano Fury 4GH/s. Coz i’ts not profitable. Can anyone give a friendly advice? I have 2 Nano Fury USB ASIC. Is there a better way to earn bitcoins without these TH/s miners?

    Like

    Reply

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