If you ask 10 people that question, you will probably get 12 different answers and each of them will be valid for a different reason.
When you make this decision you need to think about 3 main aspects of a mining pool.
1. Pool size
2. Pool functionality
3. Pool trustworthiness
One of the ultimate questions of all time – Does size matter? Well, it usually does 🙂
Many say that there is no difference between a small mining pool and a big one as eventually you will get the same amount of coins out of the small mining pool compared to the big mining pool. And that is absolutely true. Small pools can hit an unlucky time period followed by an extremely lucky one, while the big ones have a constant flow of finding blocks. If you choose big enough time period to compare such two pools you will see that you get the same amount of coins from both of them. That is also a fact, but with one key catch you have to consider – Time!
The smaller the pool the greater is the time you will need to get the same amount of tokens compared to the big pool. And as many of you have already guessed, Time is of the essence when you are a miner.
Let’s take this example – A new coin is released and you have two pools. The time you need to get the same amount of tokens out of the two pools is for example 1 month. In that 1 month the Global Hash Rate will vary and like with every new coin out there usually only increase. The increase of the Global Hash Rate changes everything, as the Big pool is having a constant flow of new blocks when the difficulty of mining is low, while the small pool varies so much that you basically miss a descent percent of your easy earning at the start of the coin.
If the coin is already in a relatively steady state, 6 months after it has been launched, the Global Hash Rate will not fluctuate so much. So now the rule that everything evens out between the small and big pool is again true. But what happens if the price of the coin rises? You will have another brief opportunity to be really profitable until other miners jump to the coin. Again there is a time period when the big pool gives you an advantage over the small pool.
On the other hand having over 51% of the Global Hash Rate in one single pool, can be dangerous for the Coin as this gives the means to the pool to manipulate the decentralized ledger. More info on the 51% Hash Attack <HERE>
That is usually why people decide to stay in small to medium pools. You must consider – is there a Pool fee, are you happy with the payment intervals of the pool, is it a stable pool that can withstand a DDoS attack, do you like the way the pool gives you information about your miners and their hash rates, do you see your immature tokens, does the pool support secure connections of the miners and its front end, can your personal statistics be viewed by other users, does it require registration and so on.
Some people prefer a smaller pool that that gives you better tracking of your hash rates and earnings, while others prefer pools that give Block Finders Rewards, or pools that are build to prevent frequent currency jumpers that arrive for few fast blocks and then jump to the next more profitable coin.
The choice is yours to make depending what you value in a pool.
If you do a search for reviews of any pool, you will always find unhappy people. Most of the complains are that a pool fee is actually X times greater to what it should be, payments are delayed, the pool statistical tools do not represent the the actual miner hash rate and so on. Most people do not factor the Luck they have while mining and most pools show you the actual share rate that you submit, not the hash rate at which you search for the next block on the network.
So before disregarding a pool because some one lashed and bashed against it on some forum, just check how many miners it has in total. Because as you know miners are fairy creatures that can sense when there is something wrong with a pool. If the pool has 200 miners on it, the probability if it scamming them is slim.
And remember, the pool you choose is your decision. I have tried to summarize the facts I learned mining for the last 6 months.
If you liked what you just read or you don’t agree with us, you can always join our discussion at the BitcoinTalk.org and share your opinion.