Today we’re going to have a look at the mining pools available for Siacoin (also called ‘Sia’ for short).
The Siacoin platform is a blockchain based alternative for cloud storage. It’s decentralized cloud storage that competes with the likes of the traditional service providers Dropbox, Google, Amazon and Microsoft.
The benefit to using Sia is that anyone can host or access encrypted storage, and that everything stored and all transactions are verifiable on the public blockchain. All services on the network are paid in Siacoin, and all transactions in the Sia ecosystem are secured through filing contracts and storage proofs.
Pool Mining or Solo Mining Siacoin
There are always those who want to go it alone and take their chances as a solo miner, but the better path is to pool mine Siacoin. The reason for this is the difficulty in finding a block means you need a huge amount of hashing power, or a great deal of luck, if you expect to find a block as a solo miner.
By pool mining you’re combing your resources with those of many other miners. You have to split the rewards with these others when blocks are found, but you’ll also get more regular rewards.
It’s also important to note here that it’s no longer possible to use your GPU to mine Siacoin profitably. Since the release of the Antminer A3 in January 2018 the network hash rate and difficulty has increased to the point that you simply need to have an ASIC rig if you want to mine Siacoin. If you try to mine with a GPU, even the most powerful GPU, you’ll wait months to generate enough Siacoin to withdraw from the pool.
So, we’ll look at Siacoin mining pools and which ones are best, but keep in mind that you’ll need to purchase an ASIC rig if you’re interested in mining Siacoin. Bitmain sells new Antminer A3 rigs for just $145 (without power supply) and you can also find them used on eBay for as little as $70. And the Siacoin website has instructions for setting up an A3 rig here.
What to Look for in a Siacoin Mining Pool
If you’ve read any of our previous articles about mining pools you know that the features to look for in mining pools are very similar from coin to coin. With that in mind I’ll give you the shortened version, but if you need more details about what features to look for in a mining pool you can check out the Bitcoin Gold mining pool piece for a more detailed description of each feature.
Fees: Average fees are typically 1%, but if you can find a pool with lower fees you’ll increase your own profits.
Server Location: The pool you choose should have servers in your region of the world. If you’re in North America look for North American servers. The same goes for those located in Europe or Asia. Basically the closer the server is the more hashing power and profitability you’ll see.
Trustworthy: Do some research about the pools to see if others have found them reliable and trustworthy when it comes to payments.
Payout Scheme: There are various payout schemes, with some more geared towards luck, and others based strictly on even sharing of rewards. Which you choose is a personal preference because over the long term it all evens out.
Pool Uptime: 100% is best. If the pool servers aren’t up you aren’t mining.
Minimum Payout: Usually these are low enough to ensure you get paid pretty regularly, but check the minimums just to be sure you won’t be waiting a month or longer to get paid.
Pool Hash Power: While you might be tempted to choose the pool with the most hash power you should really try to choose pools with a smaller hash power to help promote decentralization. In the case of Siacoin, F2Pool and Siamining.com control nearly 80% of the network hash power as of late September 2018. These 2 should be avoid if you want to help decentralization and network security.
Sia Mining Pools
Siacoin mining has become somewhat centralized, but you can help by joining mining with pools that have a smaller amount of hash power. Below are the top mining pools you can use to mine Siacoin:
If you want a simple, fast mining pool then Luxor might be the perfect fit. Even better than the fact that it’s fat, trustworthy and reliable is that the team behind Luxor promises to donate 10% of their profits to the Sia community. This gesture is being made to help the community become more successful. That means not only will you be earning, but you’ll also be giving back to the Sia community.
You can double check on the promise of a 10% donation by looking at the Sia blockchain explorer. Luxor is sending the 10% to the cold storage address of Nebulous Labs, which is the company that employs all the core developers for Siacoin.
One of the downsides to using Luxor is the small number of miners. Currently the pool has just 1% of the total hash power. They’ve offset this somewhat by using a PPS payment scheme, and you have to remember you’re also supporting Siacoin and decentralization by using Luxor.
Siamining.com is by far the most popular Siacoin mining pool, controlling 55.5% of the hash power on the network. This is actually a bad thing since it promotes a centralized blockchain. If you can avoid using Siamining.com it will be very good for the network.
If you have to follow the masses then you can expect to pay a 3% PPS fee at Siamining.com, but you can also expect optimal results from their ASIC optimized mining pool. Siamining.com was the first ever mining pool for Siacoin, and you can mine anonymously with nothing more than a wallet address.
The mining pool is reliable and trustworthy, and you won’t find any hidden fees. Plus, the minimum payout is 500 SC, with payments being made daily.
Nanopool is also a popular choice for mining Siacoin, with more than 1,000 miners active. Even so, it controls less than 1% of the total hash power, which actually makes it an even better choice if you’re just getting started mining since choosing Nanopool will spread out the hash power and help secure and decentralize the network more.
The fee at Nanopool is 2% with a PPLNS payment scheme. They payout several times a day with a minimum payout amount of 1,000 SC. They also allow for anonymous mining, and there’s no need to create an account at Nanopool to mine Siacoin.
F2Pool is one of the largest integrated mining pools in the world, and it’s also the second largest Siacoin mining pool, controlling roughly 30% of the hashing power. That alone makes it a bad choice as a pool since using F2Pool will only increase the centralization and decrease the security of the network.
It’s also not great if you want to remain anonymous because you have to register an account in order to mine with F2Pool.
On the upside, the minimum payout at F2Pool is just 100 SC and they payout once a day. Even so, it isn’t a recommended pool for mining Siacoin, and even the Siacoin team itself ask you not to mine with F2pool in order to help the network.
Antpool is one of the larger Siacoin mining pools, but isn’t too large as it controls roughly 5% of the network hash power. That’s actually a bit surprising since Antpool is owned by Bitmain, the company that makes the Antminer A3 ASIC rig used for mining Siacoin.
As one of the largest pools Antpool has solid reliability, and is considered trustworthy among the cryptocurrency mining community.
Unfortunately, you do need to register an account at Antpool, so anonymity is out the window. One advantage is that they occasionally run promotions where they waive the fees. Currently, the fee for Siacoin mining is 2% and payouts are made daily with a minimum of 100 SC.
It’s unfortunate that you can’t mine Siacoin with a GPU profitably any longer. If you have affordable electricity and the means to run an ASIC rig, then the Antminer A3 can be used to mine Siacoin.
Decentralization is certainly an issue with this coin, as one pool currently controls roughly 55% of the network hashing power. Avoiding that pool, or any pool with more than 25% of the network hashing power is a good idea.
If you’d really like to support the Sia devs, the Luxor mining pool is contributing a portion of their profits to the Sia community.
I should also note here that it is possible to dual mine Ethereum and Siacoin at the mining pools that support both cryptocurrencies. Also, you would be dual mining with your GPU, which isn’t going to be profitable.
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.