While there are over 1,000 altcoins out there, most of which offer at least some potential for profit, bitcoin remains the most popular and the most valuable. You can invest in bitcoin, or you can trade it if you like, but many people are attracted to mining for it. While you can do this solo, your chances of success are much higher if you join forces with others. You do that through a bitcoin mining pool. What are the top bitcoin mining pools out there, and what should you know about them?

AntPool

AntPool is the single largest bitcoin mining pool in the world. It’s privately owned, and based out of China. As of early 2018, AntPool has discovered the maximum number of bitcoin blocks. In fact, the pool is actually responsible for discovering around 18% of all the blocks found so far this year. In terms of hash rate, AntPool’s power currently stands around 3,600 ph/s.

BTC.com

BTC.com is the world’s second largest bitcoin mining pool, and is responsible for finding almost 17% of the bitcoin blocks so far in 2018. Note that this is a relatively new pool, founded in late 2016. It’s also owned by the same company that owns AntPool, and it is likewise based out of China. Note that BTC.com follows a full pay per share payout format that offers slightly better profitability for miners. The pool’s hash rate currently stands around 5.88 eh/s.

BTC.TOP

BTC.TOP has mined roughly 13% of the bitcoin blocks in 2018 and currently boasts a hash rate of 3,100 ph/s. Note that this pool offers the ability to mine both bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, which may make it a more attractive option for miners looking to maximize their earning capabilities and mine more than just bitcoin.

ViaBTC

ViaBTC is what’s called a diversified mining operation. The pool allows miners to mine quite a few different cryptocurrency options, including bitcoin, litecoin, Dash, Bitcoin Cash, ETH and ETC, as well as ZEC. Saying that, this pool has only generated around 11.5% of bitcoin blocks in 2018, and its hash rate stands at 2.77 eh/s.

Slush

The last entry in the top five bitcoin mining pools is Slush. It is one of the oldest pools, and was founded back in 2010. Since that point, the pool has actually mined over 1 million bitcoins. With that being said, the pool only has 9% of the bitcoin blocks for 2018. The pool’s hash rate is roughly 2.34 eh/s.

Others of Note

We noted the top five bitcoin mining pools above, but there are many, many other contenders out there. Some of those that you should know include the following:

  • Bixin
  • BTTC
  • F2pool
  • BW Pool
  • Kano CK Pool
  • Eligius

Bitcoin Mining Pools vs. Cloud Mining

A relatively new option has sprung up in recent years that offers some of the benefits of bitcoin pools, but works differently. Cloud mining offers the ability to go solo, without the costs of building your own mining rig. You can find dedicated, virtual, and shared cloud mining operations, as well as plans that allow you to lease hash power. Which is better for your needs?

Really, it all comes down to how much you want to spend. Joining a pool is expensive upfront, because you have to pay for the rig and your electricity consumption. Cloud mining becomes expensive over time, as you have ongoing payments to the cloud company that is doing the mining for you.

In the end, both bitcoin mining pools and cloud mining provide the means to build your wealth. Make sure you investigate your options and choose the best for your needs.

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