Mining is essential for the Ethereum blockchain network to function and is a good way for miners to earn some extra money. Mining serves multiple purposes, including generating Ether in a method that doesn’t require any central issuer.
Additionally, mining allows the network to verify transactions before adding them to the blockchain’s public ledger. Via mining, the miners reach a consensus about transaction history and prevent fraud, such as double-spending Ether.
A Refresher on How Mining Works
The process of mining for Ethereum is nearly identical to that of Bitcoin. Miners use their computers to guess answers to the puzzle quickly and repeatedly for every transaction block until one gets the correct answer.
Specifically, miners run the unique header metadata for a block via a hash function while changing the nonce value. Miners who find hashes matching the target receive Ether and then broadcast this block across the network. Each node then validates the block and adds it to its copy of the blockchain ledger.
Because the puzzle can’t be solved by cheating, it is referred to as proof of work. Profitability from mining depends on the computing power devoted to it and luck.
Those who want to mine need computer hardware that is dedicated to this task full time. Ether mining requires GPUs, and most miners will want to make a mining rig with several GPUs. From there, you install mining software and use it to connect to the Ethereum network.
Why People Use Mining Pools
Mining pools are a logical choice for those who want to make a profit from mining Ether since you’re unlikely to be the one to solve the cryptographic puzzle and earn the Ether on your own. With a mining pool, however, everyone in the pool works toward the same goal.
When the pool makes a profit, it is divided up between miners in a way that is proportional to the power contributed. While that is the typical payout structure, some mining pools have a slightly different one.
Tips for Choosing a Mining Pool
With so many Ethereum mining pools available, you do not want to choose the wrong one since this can lead to a loss of money or just wasted time. Always pay attention to a pool’s reputation as well as how long it has been around.
While some newer pools can be reputable, you will always feel more confident with a well-established pool that has kept up a positive rating from miners.
Some feel that you should also opt for one of the pools that are larger or have a greater hashing power since this increases the chances of profits. Others point out that with larger pools, you get lower but more reliable payouts, while smaller pools have more irregular but larger payouts. You will have to decide which of these structures is best for you.
Don’t forget to also consider the interface of your chosen mining pool. After all, you want a clean user experience. You should also confirm that your chosen pool has support, a feedback mechanism and transparency, all of which will increase your confidence.
Of course, you should absolutely always confirm that the Ethereum mining pool you select is compatible with the hardware you have, as well as the mining software you prefer to use. Finally, consider the stability of the pool, payout frequency and threshold, and fee structure.
With a clear idea in your head of why you may want to join an Ethereum mining pool and how to pick one, it is time to take a look at the best ones available.
At one point, Dwarfpool was the largest of all Ethereum mining pools, but it has since fallen in popularity. It has a fee of 1 percent, a standard rate among other pools.
This pool makes it possible to mine other currencies in addition to Ethereum if you choose. It also lets you withdraw once your balance hits 1.01 Ether, a lower requirement than some other pools.
Unlike the other pools on this list, Dwarfpool opts for the round-based pay per share (RBPPS) payment method, based on the PPS method. Because of Dwarfpool’s distributed infrastructure, it can guarantee an uptime of 100 percent.
Ethermine is the largest mining pool for Ethereum. It has a service fee of 1 percent and has a minimum payout threshold of 0.05 ETH. Just keep in mind that if you withdraw under 1 ETH, there will be an extra 0.001 ETH fee.
At the time of writing, there were 133,716 active miners and 506,069 active workers. The pool has a hash rate of 66.9 TH/s and mines 75.29 blocks per hour.
Users appreciate that Ethermine does not require any registration and has secure servers spread throughout the world, including in China, Europe and America. There are instant payments, and the interface is simple and convenient.
The pool also has accurate miner statistics and reporting, including detailed statistics both per workers and globally. Ethermine has an efficient mining engine with a low orphan rate.
In terms of rewards, the pool pays all of them, including fees and blocks. It uses a real-time PPLNS payout scheme.
Another standout factor of Ethermine is its third-party apps for Telegram, Android and iOS. Plus, it offers a professional helpdesk and full stratum support.
Ethpool is actually very closely related to Ethermine, as they share their underlying pool but use different methods of payment. While Ethermine relies on the PPLNS method, Ethpool uses pay per share (PPS). This is a more predictable outcome, but Ethermine’s requirement for some luck increases the average payment by about 5 percent.
At the time of writing, Ethpool had a hash rate of 2.3 TH/s and was processing 3.04 blocks per hour. It has 1,172 active miners and 12,681 active workers.
This mining pool has servers in North America, Asia and Europe. Its mining fee is 1 percent, just like Ethermine.
Like Ethermine, Ethpool has full stratum support, detailed statistics for global and per-worker figures, a professional helpdesk and a third-party Android app. Additionally, it has low uncle rates and pay transaction fees and uncles. It also has warnings set up for invalid shares and supports all Ethereum miners.
EthereumPool has a relatively long history of Ethereum mining, having been in operation since 2015. It charges a fee of 2 percent and lets you make a withdrawal once daily provided your balance is at least 0.1 ETH.
This mining pool stands out for its constant development and history of stability. The downsides are a higher commission than some other pools and an income that is occasionally lower than that of other pools.
Compared to other pools, it is relatively small. At the time of writing, there were only 250 active miners and 361 active workers. However, it has a rate of 15.626 GHash/s and has mined 24,528 blocks.
This is a relatively new Ethereum mining pool, but it shows a great deal of promise. It has a commission fee of just 1 percent and lets users withdraw funds once daily, which may soon increase to twice daily.
At the time of writing, it had a rate of 15.700 GHash/s, 362 active workers and 250 active miners. This project is actually closely connected to EthereumPool; it was founded on the source code from that mining pool.
This is one of the largest mining pools, working for both Ethereum miners and those who mine Bitcoin. The only downside of F2pool is that unless you are from China, you cannot use it. Even so, it is large enough to earn a spot on the list of best Ethereum mining pools.
It is worth considering if you live in Asia, as there are servers throughout the continent for redundancy and security. Just keep in mind that the fees are also very high, charging 3 percent. However, payments are daily, done via the PPS method.
Miningpoolhub generates around 7.6 percent of hash rates within the Ethereum network. Its rewards are calculated based on transaction fees, block finding fees, incentives and bonuses.
A strong point in favor of Miningpoolhub is that it has servers in Europe, Asia, and the United States, allowing for a redundant mining environment and additional security. Out of all the pools on this list, Miningpoolhub also has one of the most informative websites, including a quick start guide and FAQ section, something few other pools offer.
If you choose to branch out in the future, Miningpoolhub actually has 35 different mining pools, each with its own cryptocurrency.
This is a very strong point in favor of Miningpoolhub if you want to start with Ethereum mining but are open to the idea of expanding.
Miningpoolhub also offers algo switch mining, which lets you mine multiple coins using the same algorithm, something you will not find on the other pools that made this list. Because of the large number of pools and supported altcoins, Miningpoolhub also offers Auto Exchange, which lets you exchange mined coins to another altcoin without using a separate exchange.
Nanopool launched during early 2017 and is already considered among the fastest and largest mining pools. At the time of writing, its Ethereum pool had 88,452 miners and a pool hash rate of 41,004.4 GH/s. Payouts are from 0.05 to 20 ETH. Nanopool distributes the award with a PPLNS scheme and charges a 2 percent fee.
One nice thing about Nanopool is that in addition to being one of the best Ethereum mining pool options, it is also a pool for mining other cryptocurrencies. This way, if you choose to mine another crypto, you will be able to remain with the same general pool. Other mined currencies include Ethereum Classic, SiaCoin, ZCash, Monero, Pascal and Electroneum.
The downsides of Nanopool are the higher-than-average server lags, lower ping and smaller “ball.” To make up for this, you get a simple user-friendly interface, intuitive setup process and the ability to calculate profit within a certain time period.
Like some of the other best Ethereum mining pool options, Suprnova allows you to mine Ethereum as well as several dozen other cryptocurrencies including Litecoin, ZCash, Monero and BitcoinCash. The interface is nice and straightforward, but those in search of anonymity will not like the fact that you have to register.
The commission fee is the familiar 1 percent charged by many other mining pools, and the minimum payout is at 0.01 ETH, a very low figure. Withdrawals are conveniently automatic. Suprnova also has a reputation for reliability, high-quality service and good performance.
Compared to most other pools on this list, Suprnova’s Ethereum mining pool is relatively small, with just 230 active workers and a rate of 59,985.71 MH/s. Even so, this pool is worth considering for its range of other cryptocurrencies that you can mine.
Those who are still relatively new to Ethereum mining will appreciate that Suprnova’s Ethereum pool page has instructions for getting started, including how to register and create workers, how to download a miner, how to configure your miner and how to create an Ethereum address so you can receive payments.
There is also a short question-and-answer section called “About” that answers many common questions about the pool.
Those who want the best Ethereum mining pool that does not require registration should look at Weipool. It doesn’t charge a reward fee for your block rewards. The minimum payment threshold is 1 ETH, and payouts release after 24 hours.
For those who want to join an Ethereum mining pool as a way to put their computer hardware to use earning Ethereum, there are numerous pools to choose from. You will want to consider the payout schemes, size of the pools and their reputations to select which one to join.
It is also worth considering whether you want a pool that focuses solely on Ethereum mining or also offers mining for other cryptocurrencies. Any of the above choices will give you one of the best Ethereum mining pools and let you join a community of other miners looking to make a profit by mining Ethereum.