So you want to start mining Horizen (ZEN) and are looking to increase your profitability? It may make sense to join a ZEN mining pool.

As an Equihash Proof-of-Work cryptocurrency, Horizen (ZEN) provides a good alternative for miners looking to branch away from Zcash (ZEC) mining. Miners can easily allocate their resources back and forth between the two chains based on profitability.

However, given the competition from Equihash ASICs, solo mining has become much less profitable than it used to be. This is why it could be considered profitable to join a Horizen mining pool and increase your chances of discovering new blocks.

In this article I’ll introduce you to Horizen and then spend some time reviewing some of the top Horizen mining pools.

What is Horizen?

Horizen is a privacy-centric blockchain platform that aims to provide every global citizen with complete privacy and control over their digital footprint. It is unique among blockchain projects in its real-life use cases beyond simply being another potential currency. Ultimately Horizen hopes to allow its users to communicate privately as well as going anywhere and publishing anything on the web completely anonymously.

Fork of Fork on ZenCash
Fork of a Fork of ZCash

Horizen initially launched as ZenCash on May 23, 2017 as a fork of ZClassic, which itself was a fork of Zcash. It was rebranded to Horizen in order to fully embrace its own identity separate from that of Zcash.

Just like its mother blockchains – Zcash and Zclassic, Horizen uses the Equihash mining algorithm.

Horizen accepts ASIC Miners

Despite suffering a double spend attack in June 2018 the Horizen team made the decision to remain with the Equihash algorithm rather than switching to an ASIC-resistant algorithm.

The main reason this decision was made is that the team found the Horizen network had become more secure with ASICs mining, even though Horizen isn’t the largest Equihash currency being mined.

The Horizen team monitored the usage of the Equihash ASIC miners and they appear to be mining ZEN directly rather than selling their hashing power to NiceHash, and this has been a positive for the Horizen network.

Top 5 Horizen Mining Pools

So, which mining pools are best for ZEN miners?

In general mining pools tend to be very similar, and with Horizen you aren’t going to have to search hard to find mining pools. The official Horizen website lists 27 mining pools to choose from. We’ve narrowed that down and present to you the most popular Horizen mining pools.

Remember, it’s never wise to increase the hashing power of a mining pool beyond 25%, so simply choosing the largest mining pool is rarely a good idea. Horizen is somewhat unique among altcoins though, because its hashing power is spread out quite evenly, for the most part.

When choosing a good mining pool the fees are important, as is the uptime of the pool, and its geographical proximity to your location. Keep those things in mind and read on to find out the top 5 Horizen mining pools.

Zhash.pro

Zhash.pro is a pool we haven’t come across before, but it is the number one pool when it comes to mining ZEN, controlling roughly 25%-30% of the hash power. It’s not too surprising that it has become the most popular ZEN mining pool since it features extremely low 0.5% fees, auto-payouts at just 0.1 ZEN and global dedicated servers.

ZHash Mining Pool Stats
ZHashPro Mining Pool Statistics

It also features anonymous mining, making it perfect for privacy coins like Horizen. Because the hash power of this pool is so high it’s better avoided to help maintain network decentralization. If you’re drawn to the low 0.5% fee you might want to try the fifth mining pool in our list, Luckpool, which also has a 0.5% fee with far less hash power.

F2Pool

F2Pool is one of the largest integrated mining pools in the world, and it’s also the second largest Horizen mining pool, controlling roughly 15%-20% of the hashing power. That actually makes it a pretty good choice as you’ll help to decentralize the network. It’s also a sign that ASICs aren’t hurting Equihash mining yet because F2Pool is based in China and is normally very heavily influenced by ASIC miners.

F2Pool Horizen
Some Features of F2Pool

One really negative aspect of F2Pool is the high 4% mining fee. It also isn’t the best choice if you want to remain anonymous because you have to register an account in order to mine with F2Pool. That’s a huge downside with a privacy-centric coin like Horizen.

Suprnova.cc

If you’ve done any pool mining at all you’ve almost certainly heard of Suprnova.cc as they are frequently one of the top mining pools for dozens of coins. One nice thing about that is that there’s a unified login that can be used across nearly all of those pools, so you don’t have to reset logins and worker information.

Suprnova ZEN Mining Pool Stats
Suprnova.cc ZEN Mining Pool Statistics

Suprnova.cc has the standard 1% mining fee and a nice low 0.1 ZEN minimum payout. They hold about 14%-18% of the total hashing power, making them a good choice if you want a solid pool that isn’t endangering the decentralization of the network.

MiningPoolHub

MiningPoolHub is the fourth most popular Horizen moining pool, it still controls roughly 14%-18% of the hash power. You’ll also see that they are still calling this Zencash. Not a big deal. Miningpoolhub has global servers and the mining fee is a standard 0.9%.

MiningPoolHub Recent Statistics
Recent Statistics on MiningPoolHub for Horizen

Minimum payouts are just 0.1%, making this a good choice for home miners. It also supports multi-algorithm switching, changing to the most profitable coin in the algorithm if you like. And you can get pay-outs in any coin you like, even when mining Horizen.

Luckpool

Luckpool.net is a Canadian based pool, so is best used by those located in North America. It is a bit different from other pools in that it charges a smaller 0.5% miners fee, but also offers something they call the Miner’s Jackpot. This is a bonus paid to the miner who actually finds the block. In the case of Horizen the Miner’s Jackpot is 1 ZEN. This leaves 7.63 ZEN to be shared among the other miners.

Horizen Luckpool Mining Pool
Luckpool ZEN Stats and Pool Features / Offers

They are also different in using the Proportional (PROP) payout system. The minimum payout is just 0.1 ZEN and this is an anonymous pool, meaning there’s no need to register or provide any personal information. They also control just 8%-10% of the total hashing power, making them a solid mining pool, but small enough to maintain decentralization.

What Pool to Choose

So now that you have an idea of the selection of ZEN mining pools at your disposal, you have to decide on the most profitable pool. This will depend on a number of factors including the following:

  • Fees: Clearly one of the most important requirements is the fees that one is expected to pay for the pool. Based purely on this metric the cheapest pools to join seem to be Zhash and Luckpool.
  • Pool Uptime: You are only earning ZEN when the pool is fully functional and not down for maintenance. The pool uptime is a really important consideration when it comes to your selection as this will directly impact the amount of ZEN that you are likely to earn. Like exchanges, mining pools can be prime targets for DDoS attacks so it helps to use a pool that has effective safeguards in place.
  • Location of Servers: Obviously distance plays a large part in what pools you decide to join. Distance from the server will impact on latency in the connection and that does not work so well when you are competing for block rewards.
  • Payout Terms: When it comes to the terms that are attached to payouts from the mining pools, this is really a personal preference. Many of the pools will have a minimum payout requirement that has to be met before you can withdraw coins. They will also differ in terms of the regularity of the payouts.
  • Hashpower: This one is often a bit less clear cut. Although a pool with a higher hashpower has more chance of finding a block, you will have to share the ZEN block reward with more miners. So you will have to weigh up the lower probability of finding a block in a smaller pool compared to the lower more payout on a pool with larger hashpower.

Given these requirements, it seems as if Zhash could be a good pool to join given its lower fees as well as the auto payout of a minimum of 0.1 ZEN. This pool does have the largest hashing power on the network at over 25% so you need to weigh up the pros and cons of this as.

Conclusion

These five Horizen mining pools should give you plenty of ideas to get started, but if you don’t see one you like head over to the Horizen website to see all the other ZEN mining pools that are available.

While mining pools can contribute to the centralisation of a chain, they are probably one of the only ways in which you can realistically compete as a home miner. If you want to try and reduce mining centralisation you should then probably join a pool that has less of the hashing power.

However, centralization of mining on Horizen is less of a concern as it is on Zcash and hashing on Zen can be an attractive alternative for your Equihash ASICs or GPU rigs.

Featured Image via Fotolia

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.