Once you get Ethereum mining hardware, your next step is to decide on which Ethereum mining pool you’ll join.
A mining pool helps you get more frequent payouts rather than only getting paid when you solve an Ether block.
Note that mining has a lot of up-front costs, and if you just want Ether then it’s usually a better idea to just buy Ethereum.
You’ll also need Ethereum mining software to point your hardware towards your selected pool. And, an Ethereum wallet to receive payouts to. A hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano X would be the best option.
We’ve listed the top pools in order of hash rate share according to poolwatch.io:
Just a note about pools:
The pools below are mining pools. This means you need to own mining hardware.
You need a wallet before you can mine Ethereum.
Our guide on the best crypto wallets features wallets that support ether. Read it here!
Ledgers newest hardware wallet makes storing ETH easy without sacrificing security.
ZenGo is a multi-cryptocurrency wallet for iOS and Android. It supports Ethereum.
MetaMask is a simple ETH & ERC20 desktop wallet. It's an add-on for FireFox.
Now that we have a wallet to store our mined ETH on, let’s discuss some of the top Ethereum mining pools.
Sparkpool currently mines approx. 32% of all ETH, making it the largest mining pool on the Ethereum blockchain. It runs at a 6% profit and offers lots of features for its members, including a very nice way to mine anonymously with no signups and profits deposited directly into your own personal wallet.
Payout Scheme: Full Pay Per Share (1%)*
Ethermine is one of the oldest and most established Ethereum mining pools. They offer very low fees and regularly find new blocks since they are the second largest Ethereum mining pool (and claim to the 'highest performing' ETH pool).
Payout Scheme: Pay Per Last N Shares (1%)*
F2pool is not only one of the largest Ethereum mining pools (10%), but also one of the largest and most well-funded mining pools for all major coins. Their team of dedicated developers means that you can depend on the mining software they offer to be efficient and high quality.
Spiderpool is a newer, up-and-coming Ethereum mining pool with an impressive list of partners including Huobi Global, Node Capital, XFX. However, it is a chinese language only pool, so if you don't speak Mandarin, get used to relying on google translate (which is hit or miss).
Payout Scheme: Full Pay Per Share (4%)*
Nanopool is a minimalist Ethereum mining pool with a basic UI and a nice API. It is the 5th largest Ethereum mining pool, but focuses on providing a great product over a flashy one.
Payout Scheme: Pay Per Last N Shares (1%)*
When you become a member of a mining pool, there are a number of ways your rewards for contributing hashing power can be calculated. All of the payout methods use the term “share”.
A "share" is awarded to members of the mining pool who present a valid partial proof-of-work.
Essentially, the more hashing power you contribute to the pool, the more shares you are entitled to.
The most simple payout scheme, Pay Per Share guarantees the miner a payout regardless of if the pool finds the next block or not. The value of a share is determined by the amount of hashing power that is likely needed to find a block divided by the reward for finding it.
If 100 shares are likely needed to find a block and the reward is 6.25 BTC, then each share is worth .0625 BTC (6.25 / 100).
Payment is paid from the pool’s existing balance and the amount of the payment is determined based on your number of shares.
Because payment is guaranteed, more of the risk is on the mining pool operator. The payouts to the pool members is therefore smaller than in Pay Per Last N Share, explained below.
One final feature of Pay Per Share is that transaction fees from each block are kept by the pool operator. Pool members are only paid based on block rewards.
Full Pay Per Share (also known as “Pay Per Share +”) is the same as Pay Per Share, except transaction fees are also paid to the pool members on top of the block reward.
Pay Per Last N Shares is a more complicated payout that shifts more risk to pool members but also more rewards.
In Pay Per Last N Shares, pool members are only paid once a block has been found. Once a block is found, the pool looks at your share contributions for all previous blocks where the pool did not find the block, and this is called a “time window”. All the blocks in a time window are known as a “round”. Using these numbers, the pool determines your total share contributions over the round to determine your payout.
For example, if the pool mines through 6 blocks before finding a block, Then their reward for all the hashing power the pool contributed to the network over that 6 block round is 3 ETH (not including transaction fees). If you contributed 100 shares for each of those blocks and the total number of shares was 1000, then your payment would be .3 ETH or .05 ETH per block.
The idea behind this payout scheme is that it removes all luck and only pays members based on their contribution to actual revenue earned by the pool. This scheme also incentivises members to continue mining on in the pool even as the profitability of mining different coins rises comparatively. This is because disconnecting from the pool before a block is found will pay you nothing.
Pools that use Pay Per Last N Share may or may not include transaction fees in their reward payouts so it is up to your to find this out from each pool.
Mining is not the fastest way to buy ethereum.
Buying ethereum with a debit card is the fastest way.
This section will answer common questions about Ethereum pools.
Ethereum mining is the process of earning Ethereum in exchange for lending your computer’s processing power to the Ethereum blockchain in order to secure it by processing transactions without a central authority.
All of the pools on our list are pretty good, but mostly, you just want to choose one that is reliable, has low fees, and has a server near you. You will also want to note which kind of payout scheme the pool uses and decide if it works with how you plan on mining (just ETH or a mix a coins)
No, Ethereum mining pools and Bitcoin mining pools are completely different! Because Bitcoin and Ethereum use different hashing algorithms, the hardware needed to mine each coin is different and so are the pooling protocols used.
You can check in your Ether mining software that you are really being paid according to your shares contributed. And because you will know ahead of time how payouts work, you can audit the payouts based on the blockchain to make sure you are being paid fairly.
Yes, with the proper hardware and a good mining pool, Ethereum mining can be profitable.
As of July 2020, the most powerful GPU for Ethereum mining is the AMD Radeon R9 295X2 at 46 Megahashes per second.