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How does a pool solve a block?

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Good question.

Each of us actually works on solving the whole block. The way the cryptography works, there is no way to "split" the hashing process into smaller parts. For example, I solve small hash "A". You solve small hash "B".  There is no way to guess the big hash "AB" from the already hashed "A" and "B" alone. I cannot even tell that you hashed "A" just from looking at the hash (I can only brute-force it, trying all inputs and comparing outputs. This is basically mining = hard :)). More than that, small changes in the hash input result in big changes of the hash. Example: Hash of "12345" may be "abcdefghij", and the hash of "12346" may be "Xy9gQlFf11". 

Why is it different from solo mining?

  • Solo mining requires me to solve the entire block to get the reward (entire block), which is very small chance (myHashrate / globalHashrate).
  • Pool mining divides work into more rigs, monitors each miners performance, and then divides the block rewards to all miners based on their work submitted for finding the block*. Reward from the block is now ((myHashrate / poolHashrate) - pool fees), but the "chance" to find a block is much bigger (poolHashrate / globalHashrate).
  • Long-term (read: infinitely long), it is more profitable to mine solo, as you don't pay pool fees (which are small anyway). But in practice, most people have absolutely tiny hashrate power compared to global hashrate, so they would have to mine for a veeeery long time to find one block. And that would depend heavily on luck. This is why we have pooooooools ❤️ 

And what prevents me from stealing the block from the pool?

  • Well, the block which you are solving has the pool address for reward already in it, so if you find the block solution, there is practically no chance to change the payout address in a way that the block solution is still valid.  

*Read my reply on another topic on how the performance of your rig is checked so that the pool can pay you fairly:  https://forum.hashvault.pro/topic/84-is-there-a-relation-to-network-difficulty-and-share-difficulty/

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