Bitcoin Gold (BTG) is a forked version of Bitcoin that took place in October of 2017. In short, the stated purpose for the fork that created Bitcoin Gold was to “make Bitcoin decentralized again”.
Now, it’s obvious that Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency, but what the Bitcoin Gold community was referring to is the mining process for Bitcoin. Even today Bitcoin mining operations are pretty centralized, because the power required to mine Bitcoin has led to huge mining farms, and powerful ASIC miners.
Bitcoin Gold has gotten away from that to a large degree by using a Proof of Work algorithm known as Equihash, which is ASIC resistant. That means it’s still possible to mine Bitcoin Gold with a home computer, making mining more accessible and decentralized.
And that’s why we’re taking a look at Bitcoin Gold mining pools. But first, is a mining pool even necessary for Bitcoin Gold?
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Bitcoin Gold Pool Mining vs Solo Mining
When you’re mining Bitcoin Gold you can choose to mine on your own (solo mining) or with others (pool mining). The difference is when you’re solo mining all the hash power is coming from your computer(s), making it less likely you’ll find a block, but when you do you get to keep the entire reward.
With pool mining you’re combining your hash power with that of hundreds or thousands of others. This means you’ll find many more blocks, but you’ll also have to share the rewards.
Solo Mining or Joining a Pool? Image via Fotolia
Solo mining can work if you have many high end video cards to mine with, so you have a great deal of hash power on your own. But pool mining gives more even rewards. If you solo mine you might not find a block for weeks, and you’ll get paid 12.5 BTG when you do.
If you pool mine you’ll get paid a much smaller amount every day. That amount is based on how much hash power you’re contributing to the pool. So, if your hash power is 1% of the pool total you’ll get 1% or 0.125 BTG (less fees) every time a block is found by the pool.
What to Look for in a Bitcoin Gold Mining Pool
We’ve been over many of these features to look for in a mining pool before as they’re pretty standard. And honestly, with these in place any mining pool is as good as another mining pool, the choice really comes down to the users preference. So, without further ado, here’s what to look for in a good Bitcoin Gold mining pool:
- Fees: This is probably the one feature that will make a difference from one pool to the next over the long haul. As you might have already guessed, the pools with the lowest fees, when all else is equal, are going to be your best choice. On average fees run about 1%, so anything below that is a good deal.
- Server Location: This isn’t a negotiable factor. You need to have servers that are somewhat close to your location. When I say somewhat close I mean Europeans should choose a mining pool with servers in Europe (possibly as far away as Russia) and North Americans should choose a pool with servers located in North America. The closer the server is to your location, the less latency and the greater hashing power you can provide to the pool.
- Trustworthy: Don’t simply choose a pool because it’s located in the same city as you and has 0% fees. It also needs to be trustworthy. Do a search and see what others have to say about the pool before using it. Or simply try it out and see if they are paying in full and on time.
- Payout Scheme: This is something you’ll need to look at and decide how important it is to you. There are many different payout schemes offered by mining pools. Some are geared more towards luck, while others look to make payouts as fair as possible based on contributed hash power. Pay per Share (PPS) and Pay per Share Plus (PPS+) are two popular schemes that remove miner risk as the pool pays a flat payment for each share solved. Another popular payout scheme is Pay Per Last N Shares (PPLNS) where payment is made as a % of shares they contribute to the total shares (N).
- Pool Uptime: This isn’t always easy to find, but try because you need the uptime of the pool to be as close to 100% as possible. If the pool servers aren’t up, you aren’t mining. And that means you’re losing money.
- Minimum Payout: This isn’t a huge deal and probably won’t be a deal breaker if everything else looks good, but a lower minimum payout is better because you get paid more quickly. If you aren’t too concerned with getting paid rapidly this won’t be much of a concern for you.
- Pool Hash Power: You need to do a bit of a balancing act here. On the one hand you want a popular pool with a lot of hashing power, because that pool will be finding the most blocks. On the other hand, if the hashing power is too great you run the risk of centralization and possibly even a 51% attack. A good rule of thumb is to look for the greatest hash power, but not greater than 25% of the total. If a pool already has more than 25% of the hash power you should choose a different pool simply for the health of the network.
Bitcoin Gold Pools
For nearly everyone reading this article the best choice will be to go with pool mining over solo mining. You’ll get regular payouts and won’t have to depend as much on luck. If you have a small mining farm with a dozen or more GPUs feel free to go ahead and solo mine, but understand that your rewards will be inconsistent at best, and if you’re unlucky you might not make nearly as much as you would with a pool.
Pool.gold is a very popular pool that was created by one of the founding members of Bitcoin Gold. It boasts 100% uptime and 0% fees, and is considered to be very user friendly.
Pool.Gold BTG Pool Stats
Beginners can reach out to the 24/7 support team at pool.gold and someone will help with miner configuration to get you up and running as quickly as possible. There are global servers, and payout is 0.01 BTG minimum, so it’s a very good pool for those new to Bitcoin Gold mining.
Minergate is a GUI miner that can be quickly downloaded and easily setup to work on any computer. It also has support for mining about a dozen other coins, and the ability to auto-mine, where it will switch to whatever coin is currently most profitable. There are global servers and minimum payout is just 0.01 BTG. Because there’s really nothing to do in the way of configuration this is probably the easiest miner for beginners.
MinerGate unique selling points
It’s been around since 2014, and has more than 300,000 active miners as well as paying out more than $200 million in 2017. There have been complaints in the past from users that Minergate isn’t paying out the full amounts being mined, but nothing was ever proven.
2Miners says they are a mining pool made for professionals by professionals. In addition to Bitcoin Gold they have mining support for 18 other cryptocurrencies. Servers are located around the globe, and latencies are very small.
2Miners Bitcoin Gold Mining Pool Stats
The fee is 1% and there is a minimum 0.01 BTG payout, with payments being made every 2 hours.
BTGPool Pro is a bit smaller than the previous pools, but still had nearly 300 miners connected when I looked on September 17, 2018. That’s not bad at all.
BTGPoolPro Bitcoin Gold Statistics
They have servers located globally, and a standard 1% fee and 0.01 BTG minimum payout. If you’re concerned with helping support decentralization of the network this would be a good choice over the previous three Bitcoin Gold mining pools.
Suprnova.cc is one of the most popular mining pools, with support for nearly 50 different cryptocurrencies. It is also very popular for Bitcoin Gold, with over 2,000 miners. They have servers located globally, and like other Bitcoin Gold pools they collect a 1% fee and have a 0.01 BTG minimum payout.
Other BTG Pools
As you can see, most Bitcoin Gold pools are quite similar, and over the long term you’ll have similar results no matter which you choose. The rest of the pools that will support BTG can be seen on the Bitcoin Gold website.
Mining Bitcoin Gold is a good choice for the home miner, since it uses the ASIC resistant Equihash algorithm. And the Bitcoin Gold Foundation is committed to keeping the coin ASIC resistant, so home miners should be able to continue their mining activity as long as it remains profitable for them.
Fortunately there are also a large number of mining pools to help you keep your earnings consistent. With a 1% fee and 0.01 BTG minimum withdrawal being pretty standard among these pools it really won’t matter which one you choose. My only suggestion is that you try to choose one of the small to mid-sized pools to keep centralization high on the network.
While Bitcoin Gold was subject to some controversy at its inception, there hasn’t been any negative press since, and so the coin continues gaining popularity, although its price has shrunk throughout 2018 as the cryptocurrency markets have suffered a broad based downturn.
Mining now might be a very good choice as you could see the value of your mining rewards double, triple, or more once cryptocurrency markets in general recover.
Featured Image via Fotolia