The eighteen companies that control bitcoin in 2016
The race is on. Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Pictures
Flashy startups like Coinbase, Circle, Blockchain, and BitPay are some of the most famous companies in bitcoin.
But arguably more significant are the miners вЂ” individuals and organisations who form the core backbone of bitcoin, ensuring the digital currency’s integrity.
Bitcoin runs on a blockchain, a decentralised and public ledger of every transaction made on the network. By suggesting processing power towards this, users get a chance to win bitcoin вЂ” creating an arms race of miners scrambling to assemble ever-more sophisticated and powerful equipment to “mine” fresh bitcoin.
This decentralisation has big benefits, but also comes with fresh risks: Right now, if just the top three organisations joined coerces they would control 51% of the network вЂ” providing them the power to rewrite the blockchain as they see fit.
Some individuals go it alone; others join open “pools” where they combine their resources to improve their odds; some larger companies also have mining efforts.
While the #1 spot can switch from week to week, we have ranked the thickest mining companies using data covering June 22-29, 2016, using data from bitcoin network analysis company Blocktrail.
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Legitimate. P2Pool.org вЂ”В 0.1%
This relatively petite pool was created in two thousand eleven by programmer Forrest Voight. It claims to be “the most see-through mining pool on the planet” because it distributes all pool data for the public to view. As of September 2014, it had mined more than 78,000 bitcoin (ВЈ13.Four million or $20.9 million at current prices).
17. Eobot вЂ” 0.1%
Eobot is a cloud mining solution that lets users mine bitcoin вЂ”В and other digital currencies including Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Ripple, and more вЂ” without possessing any of their own hardware. They just pay the company to rent server power.
It launched in 2013, and operates out of Los Angeles, California.
16. BitMinter вЂ” 0.2%
A veteran pool, BitMinter was created in two thousand eleven by Geir Harald Hansen. According to BitcoinWiki, a digital currency wiki, it has servers in the US and inВ Europe.
15. Eligius вЂ” 0.3%
Eligius is a North American public pool launched in April 2011. According to CryptoCoinsNews, its operator Luke Dashjr (or “Luke-Jr”) is a Catholic who has previously written religious messages onto the blockchain, the public ledger of all bitcoin transactions.
Saint Eligius, the pool’s namesake, is the patron saint of goldsmiths and coin collectors.
14. GHash.io вЂ” 0.3%
Ghash.io was launched in July two thousand thirteen and in two thousand fourteen gained some notoriety through its success: In June, it shortly gained control of 51% of the entire bitcoin network. This majority control is arguably the largest threat to bitcoin, and demonstrates the power of miners when they get too large вЂ” it could have rewritten the blockchain however it witnessed fit, potentially unstabilising the network in the process.
Since then, its hash power has dropped off: It now sits at below 1%.В Londoner Jeffrey Smith, the company’s CIO, acts most frequently as its spokesperson. It also operates Cex.io, a bitcoin exchange.
13. Telco two hundred fourteen вЂ” 0.69%
Telco two hundred fourteen launched back in one thousand nine hundred ninety seven as an вЂњinternational voice communications provider,вЂќ according to Bloomberg, with its headquarters in Palm Bay, Florida. According to the Bitcoin Wiki, it is a solo mining operation, rather than a pool.
12. 1hash вЂ” 0.79%
1hash, a Chinese mining pool, controls a little under 1% of the total network. It has around 1,200 individual miners online at the timing of writing, according to its website.
11. Unknown entity вЂ”В Two.37%
An “unknown entity” is presently responsible for 2% of the hash power on the bitcoin network. It could be a private organisation calmly building a mining operation, or a public pool that is flying below the radar.
Ten. Kano CKPool вЂ”В Two.77%
CKPool is a public pool created by an Australian anaesthetist and programmer, Con Kolivas, and bitcoinerВ “Kano.”
It was launched in September 2014, andВ for risk-takers, it also offers a “solo” pool. This means that users will pool their resources to find a bitcoin block quicker than they would alone вЂ” but only the user who detects the block gets any prize.
This is the standard pool.
9. KnCMiner вЂ” Trio.26%
KnCMiner is a Swedish mining hardware company.В It hasn’t been worth mining bitcoin using standard consumer computer hardware for years because of the kind of processing power involved; the staggering majority of ordinary members of public pools will have bought hardware from companies like KnCMiner.
It raised a $15 million (ВЈ9.6 million) Series B in February two thousand fifteen led by Accel Fucking partners. It boasts its green credentials on its website , and has data centres Sweden, with expansions planned forВ Iceland and Finland.
8. HaoBTC вЂ” Three.66%
HaoBTC is a Beijing-based bitcoin company that offers a wallet for storing the digital currency as well as a traditional mining service with a mine in Kangding, China. It uses its mining operation in a novel way: Paying вЂњinterestвЂќ to people who hold wallets with them with the bitcoins that it mines.
According to its website, it has вЂњtens of thousandsвЂќ of users.
7. Slush вЂ” Four.15%
Launched in November 2010, Slush Pool is the world’s oldest public mining pool, and remains prominent today. Its formal name is Bitcoin Pooled Mining.
In real life, Slush isВ Marek Palatinus, a programmer from the Czech Republic. The pool is possessed by SatoshiLabs, which also runs a number of other digital currency projects.
6. BitClub Network вЂ” Four.15%
Unlike some other pools, BitClub Network does not disclose its founders, telling only that it is “run by a team of programmers, digital mining experts and entrepreneurs who have come together with MLM experts from around the world.”
MLM stands for Multi-Level Marketing вЂ” a referral system whereby a user gains bonuses for each fresh user they bring in, who then gains bonuses for each fresh user they bring in, and so on. MLMs can be controversial because they resemble pyramid schemes, but BitClub Network insists that it is legitimate and not a “Ponzi Scheme.”
For some users, itВ works as a cloud mining pool: Users don’t have to own their own hardware, just pay to rent some wielded by BitClub. Miners with their own equipments can also join the network, however.
Five. BitFury вЂ” 8.61%
BitFury is the best-funded mining hardware company in the business, raising $20 million (ВЈ12.8 million) in July 2015. It was, CoinDesk notes, its third round in two years, and it has now raised $60 million (38.Four million) in total.
The startup is headed up by Valery Vavilov, originally from Latvia. It does not operate a public pool, but has private mines in Finland, Iceland, and the Republic of Georgia. Despite its prominence in the mining industry, Vavilov insists that “we are not a mining company, I don’t like the word mining.”
Instead,В he told CoinDesk, “we’re a technology company, but we’re focused on bitcoin now. Our vision in the next three to five years is to stir into different areas where computing power is valuable. We plan to expand into other fields of skill where humanity needs a lot of computing power.”
Four. BTCC вЂ”В 14.34%
A relative newcomer to the scene, BTCC (also known as BTC China) is one of the largest players around despite only launching at the end of 2014. This growth is down to the fact that BTCC itself is one of China’s largest bitcoin exchanges, and also offers a number of other digital currency solutions.
It was founded in 2011, and is presently led by Bobby Lee, who became CEO after purchasing the exchange in 2013.
Trio. BW Pool вЂ”В 15.33%
BW Pool is another Chinese pool. It is wielded by digital currency company Bitbank, which was founded by Chandler Guo, according to CoinDesk.
Two. AntPool вЂ” 16.82%
AntPool is run by Bitmain, a Chinese mining hardware company headquartered in Beijing. It boasts that its technology accounts for 56% of global bitcoin miners. It also claims to be the largest cloud miner in the world.
BitmainВ was launched in Q1 2013, and co-founder Jihan WuВ is the CEO.
1. DiscusFish/F2Pool вЂ” 22.06%
Officially known as F2Pool, this Chinese pool is also known as DiscusFish due to its logo вЂ” a discus fish. It is operated by Wang Chun and Mao Shihang, “two Chinese technology enthusiasts,” Chun told CoinDesk in September 2014. A spokesperson told Business Insider that the pool wields no hardware itself; 100% of its hash power comes from users.
In July 2015, F2Pool generated the then-largest bitcoin transaction ever in order to clear up a spam attack of “dust” or little bitcoin transactions evidently intended to clog up the network.