As more and more coins become the victim of ASIC mining rigs and dedicated mining farms it seems impossible for the average person to compete in mining any longer. That’s true for many coins, but there’s one coin that is still minable by individuals, and it has pledged to remain that way, even forking to halt the efforts of ASIC manufacturers.

I’m talking about Monero, a privacy focused coin that is ideal for those who wish to mine cryptocurrencies with a home computer. Monero is still able to be profitably mined with your GPU thanks to the commitment of the Monero community to remain ASIC-free.

If you haven’t already learned about Monero mining and the best home set-ups you can head over to my Monero Mining Guide to learn more about the actual mining process.

To make things even better for you mining efforts you should consider joining a Monero mining pool. We will cover everything you need to know about finding the right pool and the best XMR pools to join today.

Why use a Monero Pool?

Why Mine With Monero Pool
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Mining pools combine the hashing power of all its members to mine more efficiently. When you join a mining pool you’ll get smaller payouts, but they will also be more regular. There is less luck involved, and the earnings are smoothed out and regular. Each block mined by the pool is split between all the pool members in whichever payout method is being used by the pool (more on that later).

Mining on your own, called solo mining, is still possible with Monero, and if you did find a block you’d get a substantial amount of coins. The problem is that with a home rig setup you’d need to get really lucky to ever find a block. So even if you did find a block, it isn’t likely you’d do so very often. Which means you’re somewhat better off with a mining pool since it does away with a great deal of the variance that’s involved in mining cryptocurrencies.

Before you can actually join a mining pool, you have to make sure that you know what you are looking for from said pool.

What to Look for in a Monero Mining Pool

Cryptocurrency mining pool features to look for are similar no matter which crypocurrency you’re planning on mining. The top feature is going to be a trustworthy pool which is known for paying out all the proceeds due to the miners in the pool.

This isn’t uncommon from unscrupulous operators, but the more established pools are generally considered to be trustworthy. You’d be surprised how quickly savvy miners will discover pool operators who are trying to skim some of the payouts or hashing power.

The next feature you’ll want to investigate is the fees charged by the pool. The higher the fees, the lower the payouts and all other things being equal you want to find a mining pool with the lowest fees so you can maximize your earnings. Generally you’re going to find that most pools have very similar fees, but there are some that are higher or lower, and it’s worth your time to find out how much you’ll be giving up in fees.

A third factor you’ll want to consider is the location of the pool servers. You need to find a pool with servers that are located close to you, at least on the same continent. So, if you’re in Los Angeles it’s best to find a pool with servers in Los Angeles, or at least in the U.S. A pool that has servers only in Asia isn’t going to be most effective for you. This is because the closer the pool servers are to your location, the greater your hash power will be.

Another factor that some look at is the minimum payout of the pool. A lower minimum payout is always better, but if you aren’t too concerned with the frequency of withdrawals you might find a higher minimum payout to be acceptable. The power of your rig will also play into this. If you can hit the minimum payout in a day or two with your rig you’ll be less concerned than if it would take 10+ days to hit the minimum payout.

Many pool miners don’t consider the next factor, but it is really important in maintaining decentralization for the network. This is the total hashing power of the pool. Unfortunately too many miners just look for the biggest pool and then join it, not thinking that they are increasing the hash power of a pool that is already extremely influential within the network. It is much better to choose a smaller pool, and you’ll find with Monero that there are a good number of miners who solo mine simply because it helps to keep the network as decentralized as possible.

Finally, check the uptime of the pool. Most pools do have a very high uptime, but it’s worth taking a minute to be sure. The higher the uptime is the better, because if the pool isn’t up it isn’t mining.

Monero Hard Fork

Monero anti ASIC Fork
Monero Hard Fork

Before I go on to the best Monero mining pools I want to take a minute to talk about the recent Monero Hard fork for those who might not be aware of it.

Basically what happened is that the leading ASIC producer Bitmain announced that they had developed an ASIC miner capable of working on the Cryptonight algorithm, which is the algorithm used by Monero. The Monero community is so deeply against the centralization caused by ASIC mining that they decided to hard fork Monero to disable the ability to use ASIC miners on the coin. The hard fork occurred on April 6, 2018.

This hard fork sent a strong message to the ASIC mining folks, and we wouldn’t expect to see another ASIC miner for Monero. The fork also made the coin more privacy focused, increasing its desirability amongst the privacy concerned mining community.

The good news for individual miners is that the fork kept Monero mining easy enough that individuals can still mine the coin without worrying that ASIC rigs will dominate hash power and push aside the individuals. Monero remains extremely popular, which should also lead to price increases. In fact, it is so popular that its usage on the dark web has surpassed Bitcoin.

Mining difficulty dropped significantly immediately following the fork, and it remains much easier to mine Monero now than it was before the fork. Now is a great time to get started. Let’s take a look at some of the best Monero mining pools.

Top Monero Pools

Now that you have a rough idea of what you need to be looking for in a mining pool, we can summarise a list of some of the most respected pools currently in the market. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list and as with anything cryptocurrency related, you should do your own research.

Minergate

Minergate has been a very popular Monero mining pool choice due to its ease of use. It has 99.7% uptime, which is quite good, and its mining pool fee is just 1%, which is standard among mining pools. Minergate also has a very low minimum payout of 0.01 XMR so most people will be able to get daily payouts.

Minergate Pool Statistics
MinerGate Pool Statistics

Finally, you are able to do web mining with Minergate, which is very convenient and has contributed to the popularity of the pool. Minergate contributes roughly 16 MH/s to the world hashrate, which is approximately 460 MH/s.

Nanopool

Nanopool is another popular choice for Monero mining pools. It has the standard 1% mining fee, but when looking at uptime there may be some concern. Over the past week the uptime was 99.99%, but over the past month it was just 92.74%. It’s probably an isolated incident, but worth noting.

XMRNanopool Dashboard
XMRNanopool Dashboard

The minimum payment is 0.3 XMR, and Nanopool has several payment rounds per day. One reason to avoid Nanopool is that it currently has the largest hashrate of any pool at 103 MH/s.

MineXMR

MineXMR will hit you with the same 1% fee as the above mining pools, but when it comes to minimum payout MineXMR is a low 0.004 XMR, which means pretty much anyone should be getting daily payouts. Uptime is an outstanding 100%.

MineXMR Features
MineXMR Features

One similar concern to Nanopool is the large hashrate at MineXMR, which is currently over 95 MH/s. It is less than 25%, but worth keeping an eye on if you choose to mine here. You can see hashrate and pool uptimes here.

Monero Crypto Pool FR

Monero Crypto Pool FR has been a popular option for European based miners, but recently their uptime hasn’t been all that good. Over the past month they are showing an uptime of just 81.79%, which is simply unacceptable.

In addition, they have quite a high mining fee of 2%. Minimum withdrawal is 0.3 XMR, which is also a bit high compared with competing sites. As for hashrate they are at 1.59 MH/s.

MoneroHash

MoneroHash is one of the oldest pools for Monero, having been launched in October 2014. They have a bit of a high mining fee at 1.6%, but they also allow you to mine directly to an exchange wallet, so you avoid transaction fees.

MoneroHASH Features
MoneroHASH Features

There’s a fairly high minimum payout of 0.5 XMR, so consider that as well, especially if you don’t have a particularly powerful mining rig. The hashrate at MoneroHash is 4.32 MH/s and uptime over the past month was a solid 99.92%.

Support XMR

All the previous pools mine coins other than Monero, but Support XMR mines only Monero. They have a low fee of just 0.6% and a minimum payment of 0.1 XMR, making them one of the best in financial terms. They also allow you to monitor the performance of your rigs on the per worker hash rate chart.

Support XMR Pool Stats
Support XMR Pool Stats

SupportXMR pays their miners every two hours and they allow you to set your own payment thresholds for normal and exchange wallets. They’re popular, as you can tell by their 82.89 MH/s hashrate. In terms of uptime they are also one of the best, with 100% uptime over the past 30 days.

XMRPool.net

This is another Monero only mining pool, but XMRPool.net is far smaller than Support XMR. Like Support XMR they have a low 0.6% fee, but the minimum payment here is 0.3 XMR. You can see how small the mining pool is when you look at the hashrate, which is just 607.27 KH/s. Uptime is excellent though at 100%.

Unipool.pro

Unipool is a pool operator which has just launched their new website. They have a Monero pool as well that can also be accessed here.

Unipool Monero Pool
Unipool Monero Pool

Unipool’s Monero pool is smaller than all of the other pools above. However, this can be beneficial when it comes to block rewards and decentralisation. The total pool fee for mining XMR is 0.5%.

Conclusion

Monero mining remains one of the best options for home mining enthusiasts, thanks to the Monero community’s commitment to remaining ASIC resistant.

When you combine your Monero hashing power with other users you can smooth out the variability in earnings, since mining pools will find blocks far more frequently than individual miners.

There are many good Monero mining pools, and your choice of which one to use should be based on the location of the servers, the fees charged, the trustworthiness of the pool, the uptime of the pool, and the hash rate of the pool.

Happy Hashing!

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Posted by Steve Walters

Steve has been writing for the financial markets for the past 7 years and during that time has developed a growing passion for cryptocurrencies.