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I'm trying to understand why a pool would want to give rewards to miners who mine at low difficulty. Please tell me where this logic falls apart. If the network difficulty is a nonce ending in 100 zeroes, but a miner solves a hash (not sure what words I'm supposed to use here) with a nonce ending in only 10 zeroes and submits that to the pool, the pool now knows that this particular nonce ending in 10 zeroes is not valid so other miners don't need to work on it, and as such the miner who just solved that problem has saved others some time, so they are entitled to a reward?

Ultimately what gains the pool any rewards at all is if someone solves the hash matching (or greater than) the network difficulty so I'm trying to understand how solving a problem at a lower difficulty helps the pool (and thus leads to rewards for that miner).

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It's not that solving a problem at a lower difficulty helps the pool, it's that trying to solve the problem helps the pool cause you can 'accidentally' mine a block on the actual difficulty. Pool members share the lower difficulty blocks to prove they tried.

A pool member can find a block on the actual difficulty and don't share it with the pool on purpose, but won't get any reward by doing that.

  • Thanks but I'm still not completely clear. If I wanted to game the system, couldn't I just repeatedly solve problems at low difficulty to show I'm trying but never actually solve the problem that ultimately gives money to the pool? It seems unfair to the folks who are actually mining the block that they would have to share rewards with a bunch of folks that chose to just solve the minimum difficulty without trying the network difficulty. – Dave Mar 5 '18 at 23:39
  • I wouldn't call that 'to game' the system, because ou gain nothing by doing that. You would be 'trolling' the pool. I read in other answers here they would eventually find that out by statistics methods and ban you, but I don't know how effective those methods are. – Osias Jota Mar 5 '18 at 23:41
  • This is my last follow up because I appreciate your responses -- when you say "gain nothing," that's not completely accurate is it ? I was told when someone solves a problem of minimum difficulty they do receive a share propportional to the low difficulty, so even though its small, they're still receiving something, right? – Dave Mar 6 '18 at 3:37
  • I was talking about the case when a pool member solves the block ABOVE the minimum difficulty and decides not to share it with the pool – Osias Jota Mar 6 '18 at 11:14
  • Oh okay I see what you're saying. – Dave Mar 6 '18 at 19:53

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