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if the winning miner takes the 12BTC+fees, unless you own the biggest mining operation out there, or are not a member of the biggest pool, why bother mining, if there is no prize for second place? does the randomness still ensure the smaller pools get lucky just enough to keep them interested in mining BTC?

the link below claims the massive Bitmain solves only 3 blocks a day ? what could a smaller operation/pool hope to achieve? thanks

https://coincentral.com/the-top-5-largest-mining-operations-in-the-world/

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In the very early days of Bitcoin blocks were typically mined by one individual person, often referred to as "solo mining"). This made sense because with only CPU mining each person pretty much had the same probability of solving a block as the next person (unless they had several CPUs). Eventually as mining expanded, became more distributed, and hardware such as FPGAs, GPUs, and ASICs came along, the idea of pooled mining was developed. This allowed a group of people to put their computational power together and share the rewards across each "pooled" miner in accordance with their contributions once the pool had solved the block. Each pool is different, and will use different reward algorithms such as PPLNS, PPS, etc.

why bother mining, if there is no prize for second place?

Mining has very profitable rewards, especially if you are lucky enough to solve the block while solo mining. If you do not have to share the reward among others, 12.5 BTC will likely be more than enough to pay for the electricity used to mine the block depending on location, etc. For smaller miners, pooled mining will give them a portion of the rewards depending on how much hash rate is directed to the pool, regardless of whether they have personally solved the block themselves.

does the randomness still ensure the smaller pools get lucky just enough to keep them interested in mining BTC?

Exactly. Imagine you and a friend were the only people mining in a pool you have created. Lets say you both have one 14Th miner. If the pool solves the block, you will split the reward because you have both agreed to work together and share the rewards.

  • ok, thanks for the explanation. but do you still hear of people who are not in a big pool who actually find the golden nounce before the other big setups? i found some posts of solo miners celebrating after mining a block,but these date back to 2014/5 . if i were to take fishing as an analogy, its not impossible for a little kid on his first day fishing with some string tied to a piece of cane to outperform a seasoned fisherman with a $1000 rig, if the fisherman is having an unlucky day. is this analogy valid for mining BTC today? thx – Fred Nov 4 '18 at 18:04
  • @Fred Yep it is defiantly possible. Back then the difficulty was much lower so the chances were higher too – KappaDev Nov 4 '18 at 18:05
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Mining is not a race where the fastest one wins every round. It's more like rolling 20 dice in quick succession where the winner is the one who throws all sixes. The quicker you roll, the more chance you have to win, but even someone who rolls once a second still wins every now and then.

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