May 2018 update – Discus Fish / F2Pool remains a leading bitcoin mining pool, and since this review has expanded to cover SC, DASH, XMR, XMC, DCR, XZC, XVG, LTC, ZEC, EH, ETC,
A look at Discus Fish Mining Pool (originally published December 2014)
Please note: This review is based on a relatively small amount of hashing, a few hundred ghs. The stats outlined in this review may not apply to larger miners. We hacked our antminer S1’s to mine nine pools concurrently, letting us run proportional power across a wide variety of mining pools. This review is part of our series of bitcoin mining pool reviews.
So now that we have our quad Antminer S1s up and running in with about 650ghs in BitcoinsInIreland towers, we have been looking at our options for our reviews with some meaningful hashing power. While looking through the various pools, and the overall market share over on Blockchain, and rising in prominence throughout 2014 has been the Chinese mining pool, F2Pool, better known in the Bitcoin mining world as the Discus Fish mining pool.
Discus Fish operates using a PPS (Pay Per Share) reward system, taking a 4% fee. They mine Bitcoin and Litecoin, depending on your preference. They also merge mine three additional coins, UnitedScryptCoin, Huntercoin and PesetaCoin. The pool utilises the Stratum mining protocol, and vardiff so difficulty will adjust based on your hashing power. Their servers are based in Beijing, Qingdao and Hangzhou in China.
So hitting the first page of the pool, you are presented with a minimalist set of options. After registering and activating your email address, you can proceed to add in a worker automatically using yourusername.something and pointing to their servers. If you have a few different machines, it’s best to name these separately. The pool doesn’t send alerts for workers that go down, unlike some of the American and European pools, but offers another team/company who offers this service, although we didn’t try this in this review.
Once your miners have submitted a few shares, the rather sparse screens give you really basic information. Some graphs showing your average hashing speed, and your current earnings, paid earnings, and cumulative earnings – that’s it! The display values also don’t update dynamically, but if you hit refresh every few seconds you will see the amounts tick up bit by bit as each share is counted. Now one of the things I do like about Discus Fish is that they have a very low payout point. Most of the pools I have tried have at least a 0.01 BTC automatic payout, although some will let you manually withdraw over a threshold, with a fee. In reality, this means it can be days or weeks before you hit a payout threshold.
But Discus Fish is set to automaticaly payout when your 24 hour earnings go above 0.001 BTC and seems to round to the nearest 0.0001. Their site states that they work off midnight UTC, so payouts up to this time are dispatched several hours later the following morning. For us, we -started mining about 10pm, and had our first payout at 4.39am the following morning, So if one of your goals is to have a bitcoin wallet that is growing bit-by-bit. day-on-day, then this is a good option for you. Just note that earnings that are in accounts inactive for 90 days are donated to the pool.
Securitywise, the site operates with https, and lets you have the option to lock your bitcoin wallet address to an account, to prevent it being changed in the event of your account being hacked. The site also doesn’t let you change your email address, but also doesn’t seem to utilise email verification for actions, unlike the other pools. So make sure you pick a strong secure password.
So in conclusion, while the interface of Discus Fish leaves much to be desired, you can’t fault their ability to generate blocks, and any half decent amount of hashing power pointing at them will generate regular amounts lodged to your wallet. An ideal pool for small-scale miners who want to be able to access their bitcoin funds in days, not weeks, and the PPS fee may be high compared to other pools, but they pay out for orphan block and don’t have the swings in luck that other pools can have, giving you a degree of regularity in calculating your mining rewards.
Update 1st October. UnitedScryptCoin merged mining support was announced as being dropped. Updated minimum payout from 0.0005 to 0.001
Simple but effective
A minimalist interface currently controls nearly 1/4 of the world’s mining rewards, and is one of the few still using a Pay Per Share system. Higher fees than others are offset by regular payouts and a really low payout threshold, making this great for small-scale and occasional miners, as well those commanding much higher amounts of mining power.