Pool vs. solo mining

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Although most miners prefer to mine in pools, there are still merits to solo mining.

Why You Are Here

An article addressing the pros and cons of solo and pooled mining can often answer questions easier than simply asking in: #bitcoin-mining.
Additionally, this page can serve as a reference for members of #bitcoin-mining to direct those with questions.

What this topic discusses

The purpose of this page is to explain what the differences between pooled mining and solo mining. This Topic will give pros and cons of each to aid in the decision of a mining approach.

What is Pooled Mining?

Pooled mining "pools" all of the resources of the clients in that pool to generate the solution to a given block. When the pool solves a block, the 25 BTC generated by that block's solution is split and distributed between the pools participants.

What is Solo Mining?

Solo mining is when a miner performs the mining operations alone without joining a pool. All mined blocks are generated to the miner's credit.

Pros/Cons

Pool Mining Pros
  • Pooled mining generates a steadier income.
  • Pooled mining can generate a 1-2% higher income (before fees, if any) due to long polling provided by the pools.
Pool Mining Cons
  • Pool mining can suffer interruptions from outages at the pool provider.
    Pools are subject to DOS attacks and have other downtimes, too. Backup pools and solo mining can be configured for these cases.
  • Pooled mining tends to generate a smaller income due to fees being charged and transaction fees not being cashed out.
    There are zero fee pools. Until now, transaction fees are not cashed out by any pool.
  • Pools might be part of attack scenarios.
Solo Mining Pros
  • Solo mining is less prone to outages resulting in higher uptime.
  • Solo mining doesn't incur any fees. For each discovered block, 25 BTC and the transaction fees are paid to the miner.
Solo Mining Cons
  • Solo mining tends to generate more erratic income.
  • Solo mining wastes time due to only supporting getwork pull.

See Also