The Nasty business of mining
Wednesday 17 December 2014
Back in July we talked to Og Nasty, founder of Nasty Mining, about his innovative approach to bitcoin mining. In particular, NastyPool is a zero-fee P2P mining pool that integrates a bonus lottery system and creates a community around it in various different ways – making bitcoin mining something that people do for fun again, as well as money.
In the intervening months we’ve seen mining suffer from a series of problems – none insurmountable, but some serious. The 51-percent issue has reared its head a few times; beyond that, as the downtrend persisted miners have apparently taken to selling their proceeds immediately rather than keeping them in the hopes of long-term appreciation. Mining has become ever-more competitive as it centralises around a few big players, with Difficulty continuing to rise... until last week when, for the first time in two years, it dropped slightly. Quite what this means remains to be seen, but it appears that for now, there is an uneasy equilibrium.
So, what better opportunity that to revisit Nasty Mining, find out what’s been going on there and pick Og’s brains about the state of the mining ecosystem in general?
As the hashrate has risen exponentially over the past few years, hobbyist miners have lost ground to the big, industrial outfits – huge facilities based in locations with cheap electricity and readily-available cooling, Iceland being one favourite.
‘Over-investment in Bitcoin mining and a falling exchange rate has caused profitability to suffer,’
comments Og. ‘I think there will be some casualties of major players in the mining space as a result. With mining technology continuing to advance at an alarming rate, there is a thin line between success and failure that is highly dependent on how quickly you can get reliable equipment. With a handful of manufacturers failing to deliver products or delivering substandard products along with low profitability, the home miner has a wide range of obstacles to navigate. One thing is for sure, 2015 will continue to surprise in the mining field.’
Og’s approach to these issues is not only to give small miners back a little edge with his fee-free pool, but to remind then what it’s really all about. ‘More than mining, I think it is important to remember what makes bitcoin great and fun. NastyFans is developing a lot of things that show how fun and useful bitcoin can be. With our new 5oz Silver Minted Seats [spectacular physical coins] on the way soon, and NastyPool offering unique P2Pool features, I think people will begin to take notice of some of the great things we’re bringing to the table.’
Over the last few months, Og and Nasty’s developer, nonnakip, have been hard at work expanding their range of features to attract new miners. ‘NastyFans started as a group of Bitcoin mining enthusiasts that followed and mentored OgNasty with his private mining operation, but it has evolved into something greater as we try to add more fun and excitement of our own,’ says nonnakip. ‘To name some fun stuff: custom logos, custom collector silver coins, custom merchandise (T-shirts, mirrors, glasses), contests, a promotional video, monthly live webchats, our extraordinary minted seats, and our own Bitcoin mining pool (NastyPool) that directly supports P2Pool. And that is all extra stuff on top of the fun of being a part of the challenges and triumphs of OgNasty’s NASTY MINING.’
Fun with bitcoin
Nasty’s primary objective is that bitcoin should be fun. Although miners join to profit, it is this aspect that keeps them involved. NastyFans is supported by donations, which enables it to concentrate on building the community through many different initiatives. In the current climate this is more important than ever before, continues nonnakip:
‘The secondary but also very important objective of NastyFans is to promote bitcoin, and in particular bitcoin mining. Over the past years we’ve seen bitcoin mining turning into a collection of elite centralised mining facilities. Sadly this has moved far from the origins of bitcoin, when everyone used local CPU cycles to create a massive decentralised public ledger. P2Pool was a brilliant next step for mining, allowing miners to work together fairly in a decentralised environment without requiring trust in each other. Unfortunately, now even P2Pool is getting so big that most miners have difficulties participating. This problem will get worse as P2Pool continues to grow. NastyPool tries to promote bitcoin mining by offering miners direct access to P2Pool in a way that allows even small miners to participate easily.’
The most important difference from other pools is that NastyPool charges no fees. ‘This allows any miner to easily participate in the P2Pool network just by pointing the miner at NastyPool. No need to run a local Bitcoin node. No need to run a local P2Pool node – NastyFans does that for them. And as with any unmodified P2Pool node, miners can have the newly generated bitcoins sent directly to their payout address.’
‘Secondly NastyPool offers the option of using the payout method NastyPoP. NastyPoP is short for NastyPool Prop-on-PPLNS, which essentially functions as a hop-resistant PPS-like payout system. Miners that use the NastyPoP payout method are actually mining collectively under a single P2Pool address. The payouts to that address are then distributed fairly to the miners regardless of their size.’
NastyPool is open to anyone, and miners don’t need a NastyFans account to mine there: just point your miner at nastyfans.org:9332 and use your bitcoin address as the username to receive payouts.
Additionally, hardware requirements are low. Of course, without a significant hashrate you’re not going to get rich, but the NastyPop payout system does mean that payouts rely less on luck and are based instead on the real work of miners. ‘This is particularly attractive to small miners but also makes P2Pool mining less stressful for large miners. Right now NastyPoP pays out around 6 or 7 Satoshis per MH/s. That means even CPU mining is enough to receive some Bitcoin payouts each week. That is why NastyPoP is so fun. NastyPoP allows even CPU miners to earn weekly Bitcoin payouts while mining directly on the P2Pool network.’
Want to know more? Take a look at the Nasty thread on bitcointalk.
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