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Using mining pools, how do miners switch what coin to mine so quickly? Can someone explain?

Also do miners store a copy of the blockchain locally?

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how do miners switch what coin to mine so quickly

This is called profit switching, and is usually implemented by the pool software. For example, NOMP explains this feature:

Coin-switching ports using coin-networks and crypto-exchange APIs to detect profitability. Miner's connect to these ports with their public key which NOMP uses to derive an address for any coin needed to be paid out.

See https://github.com/zone117x/node-open-mining-portal

Also do miners store a copy of the blockchain locally?

Typically, no. Miners focus their resources on the hashing algorithm and implement minimum necessary data transfer. Nodes store and validate the data and the miners will just get the latest block template from the node to mine, and then send solutions back.

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  • OK thank you. So basically all miners do is calculate blocks? – user99201 Aug 21 '18 at 15:45
  • Yeah, the bitcoin ASIC miners are optimized to do SHA256 as fast as possible while consuming as little energy as possible. This is to maximize profitability. In early days a node did mining as well, but it didn't take long to separate the functionality. – JBaczuk Aug 21 '18 at 16:01

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