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My assumptions:

Most pools have an operator. All individual miners part of the pool work on block with address of the coinbase transaction owned by pool operator. pool operator gets all the bitcoins and distributes periodically to individual miners based on the proportion of the work done.

My question:

It appears to be me that technically each individual miner can choose the list of transactions except for coinbase transaction. Is this correct? or do pool operators dictate the full block contents? If either way is possible, what usually happens in practice?

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technically each individual miner can choose the list of transactions except for coinbase transaction. Is this correct?

Technically it is possible. In fact no one do it. Pool operator assembles a list of transactions and miners only calculate sha-hashes. They do not know block contents.

or do pool operators dictate the full block contents?

Yes

  • Are individual miners at least allowed to assemble transactions themselves? I understand that they do it as they don't have any incentive to do. – balki Mar 30 '15 at 16:00
  • What do you mean by "Individual miner"? There are "solo miners" who control everything. And there are "pool miners" who only calc sha256() – amaclin Mar 30 '15 at 19:31
  • I meant pool miner. I understand no one does it but are they allowed to choose the transactions but still be part of a pool? – balki Apr 3 '15 at 22:50

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