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There are three primary methods of crypto mining for an individual miner: mining by oneself, joining a mining pool and joining a cloud mining. Mining by oneself and joining cloud mining aren’t as popular as pool mining due to higher hardware requirements and whooping power consumption. However, Things have also started to change for pool miners as a major share of Bitcoin miners belongs to some unknown miners.
According to recent data, unknown miners who had been merely 6% of the Bitcoin mining pool at the beginning of 2018, have increased exponentially to a total of 22% of the Bitcoin mining pool by the end of 2018.
The fear of 51% attacks (such as in the Ethereum Classic attack) has already started haunting many small miners, forcing them to switch off their equipment. Statistically, the Bitcoin mining revenue was flying high at a whopping $5.8B at the beginning of 2018. Miners made almost $2B in January 2018 alone but the sharp fall in cryptocurrency prices took it down by 83% to $210M in December.
As small miners cease to exist increasingly, a decline in the mining pool dominance is becoming very noticeable. Isn’t it obvious? The dominance or the computing power that the pool needed to operate and keep in dominant position comes from those small miners; decreased number of these miners will negatively affect the dominance of the entire pool or Bitcoin network.
Moreover, Bitcoin mining data of the beginning of last year indicated that Bitmain was in the lead; BTC.com and Ant were having the majority of the stake (40%) in Bitcoin mining network followed by ViaBTC (12%) at the second position leaving the combination of Slushpool, BTC.TOP, and F2 pool (27%) on the third position. Small pools (9-11%) and unknown miners (15-16%) were standing last. The equation changed by the end of 2018 when the group of unknown miners has seen having 22% of the total mining pool resulting in decreased dominance of the Bitmain led pools by almost 6%.
Increased Bitcoin price and ASICBOOST to the rescue?
Bitcoin had just experienced a blood bath and presently shows no sign of reversing the trend which could have actually help in increased hash power but it couldn’t sustain it. However, it may fall further.
Another thing that can encourage the miners is the launch of ASICBoost (only for miners running on Bitmain’s AntMiner S9) that can save up 10-15% in power consumption and results in a further increase of hash power as more mining pools begin to support the upgrade.
Ironically, the gains in hash power still wouldn’t be sufficient and that’s the main point of the concern haunting small miners as well as giants such as Bitmain.