WIn short, it’s mining two blockchains at once. But that doesn’t mean you’re putting 50% effort on each chain. You use the same amount of power to mine two chains at 100% — resulting in bonus coins for the miner. Let me throw out an example for clarity. We’ll say I’m mining Triton (XTRI) and I’m earning 50 XTRI per day. Then I decide to try a merge pool that does XTRI+NBX. I still make my 50 XTRI per day, no changes in performance or power. But now I’m also earning 500 NBX. All I have to do is put my NBX wallet address in the password field of my mining software.
How/why does this work?
Merge mining has been built into cryptonight coins for a long time. It’s a feature, not a bug. Many coins have eventually gotten rid of this code. But many still keep it in there, so as a merge pool operator, I spend my time finding and working with coins that still have the code built in. The major things we have to look for is that they use the same proof-of-work algorithm, and the parent coin is a Blobtype 0, while the child coin is a Blobtype 2.
What’s actually happening is that you — the miner — do your work. You send in your proof of work to the pool. The pool checks it against the parent-coin’s chain. Then the pool edits the header of that proof of work, and sends it off to check against the child-coin’s chain. You can be a winner on both chains. If you want a more detailed explanation than that, come visit us on Discord for a chat.
What’s the catch?
I get it. I was a little skeptical the first time I saw it, thinking it was a scam in some way. But I just put a small computer on it, let it run for a few days. It worked. Then I started reading more about it, and we liked it so much that we started building our own merge mining pools.
But I guess if there’s a downside, it’s simply that you are limited in your choices. Only a few pools run the merge version of the software (it takes quite a bit more effort than single-coin pooling), and only certain coins and algorithms work as pairs.
Why isn’t everyone on merge mining pools?
I honestly don’t know. I’m baffled by how many people mine Sumokoin, when they could be mining Sumo+LuKa (or Sumo+B2B, or Sumo+Bytecoin, etc).
- Both chains remain fully independent of one another. The only part of this that is “merged” is the mining.
- You do not need special software. Xmr-stak and xmrig both work fine. (We have had significant issues with JCEMiner on our pools, though)
- You are using half the wattage you would be if you were mining both chains with the same hashrate, so you are basically saving the planet
As of writing this, Llama & Horse Mining Co. has four merge pools online: