Pool or Solo?

Once you’ve decided what equipment you’ll use to mine, you need to decide how to mine: solo or in a pool. Mining alone, you risk going long periods of time without finding a block. When you do find a block mining solo, however, you keep it all – the whole 25 litecoin plus fees. To be clear, this tradeoff exists only if you have a lot of hash power (multiple ASICs). If you’re solo mining using GPU or CPU, you have essentially zero chance of ever earning any litecoin.

Pool mining, in which large numbers of miners combine and distribute the proceeds according to the hash power contributed, is still subject to the vagaries of chance: your pool might find three blocks out of 10, then wait for 200 blocks to find another one. Even so, your earnings are almost certain to be more steady with a pool; the tradeoff is that you only earn a small cut of each block the pool finds.

Another aspect of pools to consider is security. Some pools have excellent reputations, but others fall on the spectrum from questionably managed to outright scams. Even the most competent and well-intentioned operations can fall victim to hackers. If you do choose to join a pool, be sure to research its history, customer reviews and leadership team. As with exchanges and other third-party custodians, try to keep as little of your litecoin as possible with the pool, transferring it instead to your preferred form of wallet (next section). https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/JKaLr/1/Litecoin hashrate distribution

Finally, keep in mind the market concentration of the pool you want to join. It can be tempting to join the biggest pool since it likely offers the greatest chance of finding blocks frequently and turning a profit. If your pool reaches half the network’s hashing power, though, it represents a risk to the litecoin network itself. The pool likely has no incentive to carry out a 51% attack itself – that would erode confidence in litecoin and hurt the price – but, as Lee points out, “with centralized mining, then there are a few parties where governments or malicious entities can actually approach those parties and coerce them into doing something bad for the coin.”

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