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Revision as of 23:46, 7 January 2012 by Gmaxwell (talk | contribs) (some elaboration.)
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P2Pool is a decentralized Bitcoin mining pool that works by creating a P2P network of miner nodes.

Decentralized payout pooling solves the problem of centralized mining pools degrading the decentralization of Bitcoin, avoids the risk of difficult to detect theft by pool operators, and is has better fundamental resistance to DOS attacks than centralized pools.

Miners are configured to connect to a P2Pool node that can be run locally, alongside the miner. P2Pool users must run a full bitcoin node which serves the purpose of the purpose of independently validating transactions and the bitcoin blockchain. P2Pool also supports merged mining and several alternative blockchains.

P2Pool nodes work on a chain of shares similar to Bitcoin's blockchain. Each node works on a block that includes payouts to the previous shares' owners and the node itself.


P2Pool shares form a "sharechain" with each share referencing the previous share's hash. Each share contains a standard Bitcoin block header, some P2Pool-specific data that is used to compute the generation transaction (total subsidy, payout script of this share, a nonce, the previous share's hash, and the current target for shares), and a merkle branch linking that generation transaction to the block header's merkle hash.

The chain continuously regulates its target to keep generation around one share every ten seconds.

Unlike Bitcoin, nodes do not know the entire chain - instead they only hold the last 17280 shares (the last day's worth). In order to prevent an attacker from working on a chain in secret and then releasing it, overriding the existing chain, chains are judged by how much work they have since a point in the past. To ascertain that the work has been done since that point, nodes look at the Bitcoin blocks that the shares reference, establishing a provable timestamp. (If a share points to a block, it was definitely made after that block was made.)

Payout logic

Each share contains a generation transaction that pays out to the previous n shares, where n is the number of shares whose total work is equal to 3 times the average work required to solve a block, or 17280, whichever is smaller. Payouts are weighted based on the amount of work each share took to solve - proportional to the p2pool difficulty at that time.

The block reward (currently 50BTC) and the transaction fees are combined and apportioned according to these rules:

A subsidy of 0.5% is sent to the node that solved the block in order to discourage not sharing solutions that qualify as a block. (A miner with the aim to harm others could withhold the block, thereby preventing anybody from getting paid. He can NOT redirect the payout to himself.) The remaining 99.5% is distributed evenly to miners based on work done recently.

In the event that a share qualifies as a block, this generation transaction is exposed to the Bitcoin network and takes effect, transferring each node its payout.

Joining the pool

Follow these steps to join the pool:

Dependencies if running from source:

  • Python 2.6 or higher - with sqlite support
  • python-argparse for Python 2.6 and lower
  • Twisted (Ubuntu package python-twisted)


This is all for the latest p2pool version, as it includes several new workarounds. With all miners, using a high FPS target (100?) or a low aggression, and waiting for p2pool to completely start (line shows > 35000 shares) helps a lot with reducing stales.

Works as-is


Works very well as is.


Works as is.

Needs patch to reduce stales


Has a bug where it waits half a second after receiving a long polling response. There is a 10% chance that a p2pool share will be generated in that window, resulting in that hashing being useless.

A fork of DiabloMiner on GitHub that fixes this: https://github.com/forrestv/DiabloMiner Make sure to get the fast_long_polling branch!

git clone git://github.com/forrestv/DiabloMiner.git
cd DiabloMiner
git checkout fast_long_polling

Built with JAR and Windows binary: http://u.forre.st/u/xsvenrwa/DiabloMiner_2e73cc.zip


Has a similar bug, but it waits a full second.

GitHub fork: https://github.com/forrestv/poclbm Pull request: https://github.com/m0mchil/poclbm/pull/41

git clone git://github.com/forrestv/poclbm.git
cd poclbm
git checkout fast_long_polling

Windows binary: http://u.forre.st/u/wodukkea/p2pool-poclbm_win32_5590e7c.zip


Has a similar bug (waiting a full second).

GitHub fork: https://github.com/forrestv/phoenix-miner

Windows binary: http://u.forre.st/u/ycvzejfm/phoenix-miner-fba48d2-5.zip


puddinpop's RPC Miners

Does not have long polling so will not work at all.

Option Reference

usage: run_p2pool.py [-h] [--version] [--net {bitcoin, litecoin, namecoin}]
                     [--testnet] [--debug] [-a ADDRESS] [--logfile LOGFILE]
                     [--merged-url MERGED_URL]
                     [--merged-userpass MERGED_USERPASS]
                     [--give-author DONATION_PERCENTAGE] [--p2pool-port PORT]
                     [-n ADDR[:PORT]] [--disable-upnp] [-w PORT]
                     [-f FEE_PERCENTAGE] [--bitcoind-address BITCOIND_ADDRESS]
                     [--bitcoind-rpc-port BITCOIND_RPC_PORT]
                     [--bitcoind-p2p-port BITCOIND_P2P_PORT]

p2pool (version 31cbeea)

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --version             show program's version number and exit
  --net {bitcoin, litecoin, namecoin}
                        use specified network (default: bitcoin)
  --testnet             use the network's testnet
  --debug               enable debugging mode
  -a ADDRESS, --address ADDRESS
                        generate payouts to this address (default: <address
                        requested from bitcoind>)
  --logfile LOGFILE     log to this file (default: data/<NET>/log)
  --merged-url MERGED_URL
                        call getauxblock on this url to get work for merged
                        mining (example:
  --merged-userpass MERGED_USERPASS
                        use this user and password when requesting merged
                        mining work (example: ncuser:ncpass)
                        donate this percentage of work to author of p2pool
                        (default: 0.5)
  --disable-upnp        don't attempt to use UPnP to forward p2pool's P2P port
                        from the Internet to this computer

p2pool interface:
  --p2pool-port PORT    use port PORT to listen for connections (forward this
                        port from your router!) (default: bitcoin:9333,
                        litecoin:9338, namecoin:9334)
  -n ADDR[:PORT], --p2pool-node ADDR[:PORT]
                        connect to existing p2pool node at ADDR listening on
                        port PORT (defaults to default p2pool P2P port) in
                        addition to builtin addresses

worker interface:
  -w PORT, --worker-port PORT
                        listen on PORT for RPC connections from miners
                        (default: bitcoin:9332, litecoin:9327, namecoin:9331)
                        charge workers mining to their own bitcoin address (by
                        setting their miner's username to a bitcoin address)
                        this percentage fee to mine on your p2pool instance.
                        Amount displayed at
                        (default: 0)

bitcoind interface:
  --bitcoind-address BITCOIND_ADDRESS
                        connect to this address (default:
  --bitcoind-rpc-port BITCOIND_RPC_PORT
                        connect to JSON-RPC interface at this port (default:
                        bitcoin:8332, litecoin:9332, namecoin:8332)
  --bitcoind-p2p-port BITCOIND_P2P_PORT
                        connect to P2P interface at this port (default:
                        bitcoin:8333, litecoin:9333, namecoin:8334)
  BITCOIND_RPCUSER      bitcoind RPC interface username (default: <empty>)
  BITCOIND_RPCPASSWORD  bitcoind RPC interface password

Protocol description

P2Pool's protocol mirrors Bitcoin's P2P protocol in many ways. It uses the same framing (prefix, command, length, checksum, payload) and similar commands:

  • version - sent to establish a connection - contains (version, services, addr_to, addr_from, nonce, sub_version, mode, best_share_hash)
  • setmode - sent to update the mode sent in the version message - contains (mode)
  • ping - sent to keep connection alive - contains ()
  • addrme - request that the receiving node send out an addr for the sending node - contains (port)
  • addrs - broadcast list of nodes' addresses - contains (addrs)
  • getaddrs - request that the receiving node send count addrs - contains (count)
  • getshares - request that the receiving node send the shares referenced by hashes and parents of their parents, stopping at any share referenced by stops - contains (hashes, parents, stops)
  • share0s - broadcast message of the hashes of shares - contains (hashes)
  • share1as - broadcast message of the contents of shares that do not qualify as bitcoin blocks - contains (share1as)
  • share1bs - broadcast message of the contents of shares that qualify as bitcoin blocks - contains (share1bs)

The mode is 0 for low-bandwidth mode, which sends the hash of a share first before sending the entire share, or 1 for low-latency (default) mode, which forwards the entire (~170 byte) share always. The two nodes on either side of a connection use the minimum of their two preferences for that connection.


This project was announced on June 17, 2011 by Forrest Voight[1].

The began testing against mainnet in mid-July, 2011. The pool was reviewed on a Bitcoin Miner post on July 26, 2011[2].

The software author's address for donations can be found in the signature section of his forum profile.

See Also

External Links