Although most of the Bitcoin community would not like to see a centralization of hashing power within the Bitcoin network, the reality is that it’s bound to happen. Some mining pools are going to offer better perks than others, and these pools are eventually going to have more users than others. There are eight major pools that can be tracked on various hashing distribution charts, but four of these pools are much bigger than the others. Let’s take a look at the four biggest mining pools on the market right now.

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Ghash.IO

Ghash.IO is currently the largest mining pool on the Bitcoin network, and there are two main causes of this pool’s rise to Bitcoin glory. First of all, there are no fees for the mining rewards that are paid out on this pool. Secondly, the fact that this pool grants easy access to anyone interested in Bitcoin mining through the commodities markets on CEX.IO means that newcomers to the world of mining are likely to use the easy to understand cloud mining methods provided by Ghash.IO.

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There was a point where the Bitcoin community was worried about a possible 51% attack from Ghash.IO, but the people behind the mining pool calmed these fears by temporarily cutting off new memberships.

BTC Guild

BTC Guild is one of the oldest mining pools in existence, and it’s ability to stick around longer than others is a testament to how they run things. This pool actually gave the Bitcoin community a 51% attack scare before Ghash.IO ever had a large percentage of the hashing power distribution, and it currently controls about half of the hashing power that Ghash.IO controls on the Bitcoin network. BTC Guild’s fee scheme allows miners to receive bitcoins, namecoins, transaction fees, and rewards from orphaned blocks. Their fee structure leads to an effective fee of 1%.

Discus Fish

Discus Fish in a mining pool that basically came out of nowhere, and they seem to be earning a larger share of the overall Bitcoin hashing power on a daily basis. They’re actually a bit controversial in the Bitcoin mining scene because they limit block sizes to 48K. This has the possibility to eventually drive up transaction fees, but there doesn’t seem to be a solution for their “bad behavior” at this time. The pool uses a 3% fee and is based in China, although anyone is allowed to join the pool from anywhere in the world.

Eligius

The Eligius mining pool gets its name from Saint Eligius, the patron saint of goldsmiths and other metalworkers. One of the most interesting aspects of this mining pool is that it requires no registration. This means Bitcoin miners using this pool can remain somewhat anonymous. This is another mining pool that does not charge any fees on payouts, and the minimum payout is just over 0.04 BTC. This mining pool also allows their users to mine from a Tor hidden service.

What to Expect in the Future 

The titans of the Bitcoin mining world always seem to rise and fall, so we can expect this list to change on a regular basis. Just like Ghash.IO was able to overtake BTC Guild, we could eventually see a new pool take the top spot over the next year. Picking out the right mining pool will change from person to person, so make sure that you do all of your research before finding one that works for you. While you may just want to look at the fees, you also need to think about how easy it is to make a withdrawal, how stable the pool has been over the past few months, and other factors. We will cover the news about Ghash.IO mining pool on an instant basis to keep you informed about the upcoming features. Stay tuned!