Cryptocurrency is the rave of the moment, and Bitcoin is the king of them all. In the beginning, one could simply mine Bitcoin with a personal computer right from the comfort of one’s home. However, the surge in the price of Bitcoin drastically increased mining difficulty over the years, making the venture only profitable for those with expensive and sophisticated mining equipment. At present, Bitcoin mining is concentrated in China.
Despite that Chinese authorities have banned cryptocurrency trading and initial coin offerings (ICOs), China persists as a big whale in the Bitcoin mining ecosystem. It is home to over 80 percent of the world’s Bitcoin mining pools including Bitmain’s Antpool, BTC.com, ViaBTC, and many others.
Established in 2010, Slush was the first Bitcoin mining pool in the world and has mined more than 1 million BTC to date. Slush is one of the very few credible pools. It gives users stable and accurate payouts with excellent security features to keep clients’ coins safe at all times.
Slush is headquartered in the Czech Republic and has thousands of servers across the globe. Although the firm only mines 3 percent of all blocks, it is one of the best and most transparent Bitcoin mining pools.
Bitfury is a private Bitcoin mining pool. The firm has offices across the globe and datacenters in Canada, the Republic of Georgia, Norway, and Iceland. Bitfury currently mines roughly 2 percent of all blocks and focuses on helping firms transfer or create assets via the blockchain.
China-based F2Pool is also known as DiscusFish. The firm has consistently mined about 5 percent of all blocks since the beginning of the year. Established in May 2013, F2Pool is a credible public Bitcoin mining pool. It also supports a vast array of altcoins including Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), and more.
Bitmain’s Antpool currently mines about 25 percent of all blocks with a hashrate of roughly 4,847.10 Phs at the time of writing. The parent company, Bitmain, was created in 2013 in China by Jihan Wu and Micree Zhan.
Bitmain has a mega-mining farm in China. Recently, reports emerged that the firm has gotten approval to set up a massive mining facility in the U.S. as well. Bitmain is also in charge of the BTC.com Bitcoin mining pool.
The Power of Bitmain
Interestingly, Bitmain has faced criticism from some Bitcoin enthusiasts in recent times for its sheer dominance of the Bitcoin network. In February 2018, the co-owner of bitcoin.org, Cobra, wrote an open letter to the entire Bitcoin community, suggesting that Bitcoin’s Proof-of-Work (PoW) algorithm be changed, as the current model makes it easy for firms like Bitmain to dominate the network. Cobra wrote:
“A substantial percentage of the network hash rate is starting to become concentrated in the hands of one man and his company. The security of the Bitcoin network now essentially depends on them acting honorably, and bitcoiners being ready to respond to it. They get more powerful each day.”
Similarly, on June 25, 2018, BTCManager reported that Bitmain’s hashrate is dangerously nearing the 51 percent threshold, a scenario that could make the entire Bitcoin network vulnerable to attacks.