What does it take to run a pool?

I’m not super interested in pools. I may join one in the future, but time will tell. But my main question is, What does it take to “run” a pool? I keep seeing people talk about low fee pools. Isn’t that a race to the bottom? Is there an overhead to running a pool? Can there be zero fee pools (with out somebody taking a loss)? And why not create one “super pool” where 100% of farmers are members and rewards are distributed according to contribution?

There is a lot of work involved, but the very first question is what country you are in. If the USA, it’s much more difficult because of lawsuits that can occur and taxes from the IRS treating coins as “property”.

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There can not exist zero fee pools without somebody paying for hardware, network, developer time, security professionals, designers, marketing and support. What would be the motivation for anybody to spend this much? Those things aren’t cheap. The only legitimate motive I see would be for chia company to run their own pool to help the network, but they already said they wont do it.

That is my question. I understand marketing and developer time. But what is the hardware and network overhead? The individual farmers plot and farm. What is the infrastructure overhead to run a pool?


Pool would run the web server that would communicate with farmers, mainly to receive proofs of space (simpler version of the same challenges that are currently solved for solo mining). Exactly how much traffic this would generate, and how much computing power is needed is not known yet, but the bigger the pool the bigger the overhead here.

Additionally, you want to ensure pool being up and running all the time! You know even AWS goes down sometimes, but if pool goes down people get very angry.

People get angry is not infrastructure overhead though. When AWS gets down, there are many millions of dollars lost for AWS customers. And people still choose to use them. Amazon has SLA’s to cover that contingency. SLA’s do not have an anger provision. Again, I’m not sure why this is not a race to the bottom.

High Availability is an infrastructure overhead. You need to have redundancy baked into architecture from the start, and it’s not as easy as it sounds. SLA give guarantees per single entity (instance, az, etc), and your task is to take those and make them at least theoretically as close to100% as possible.

If it’s race to the bottom? Every business competes to provide the best price to quality ratio (again, at least in theory). Pools are not special here. Promises of 0-fee-forever pools are unrealistic of course.

I understand redundancy, I develop video streaming software for a living. About 2% of all internet traffic is originated via the video pipeline I built while working at Twitch (Which is an AWS subsidiary). Running a multi cloud multi region HTTP server sounds like a cake walk relatively speaking. I understand easy is not “free”, but there are so many alternate ways to generate income from a large user base (including donations). At least enough to cover costs.

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If you’re right - donation-led pools would dominate the market. Didn’t happen to other cryptocurrencies, won’t happen here.

Here was an interesting detail in Bram’s Twitter thread earlier: