Let's say I get a hash rate of X when mining either Bitcoin or Namecoin.

When using Merged Mining, will I be able to still do X concurrently on both blockchains, or will I do significantly less than X?

In other words, if I merge-mine other coins, will it hurt my Bitcoin mining rate at all?

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Every hash you do will contribute fully to the hashing power of both block chains. You will have to do a tiny bit of extra work when you generate a work unit, but that's almost insignificant, and you only need to generate a work unit once for every few billion hashes you do.

You will generate just as many Bitcoins as if you only mined Bitcoins and just as many Namecoins as if you only mined Namecoins. There are only two downsides of any significance. First, your Namecoin blocks will be a bit larger than they would otherwise be, since they include Bitcoin headers. Second, you will have to generate new work units every time a new block is discovered on either hash chain, so about twice as often. (This can be a big deal for a large mining pool.)

See my answer to this question for details on merged mining.

  • David Schwartz If the difficulty on the aux chain is extremely low, it may not possible for the miner to produce a valid bitcoin block. Because calculation is restarted every time an aux-block is found. Am i right? – linusfan Mar 9 at 6:18

A few of us have been running some tests merge mining a number of chains at once. While in theory the hit rate should remain the same, in practice so far we are seeing reduced results. Hopefully we will find out why soon.

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