May 2018 update – The front end for Eligius has been down for time now since late 2017, and while it may be mining with some users, it hasn’t found many blocks in a long time. Therefore it is not recommended to mine on this pool.
A look at Eligius 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.
We thought we’d have a look at one of the smaller (currently), but longest established mining pools. Eligius was founded in mid 2011 in North America and overall has found over 2.5% of all bitcoin blocks mined to date.
Over time and especially with the advent of large-scale private bitcoin mining operations their market share has dropped, and they are now finding between six and ten blocks a day with about 4.5% of daily blocks found. when I started using them a few months ago, this was about 6% and they have maintained an average of 11 petahashes for the last six weeks I’ve been using their pool.
Eligius operates using a Pay Per Share with Recent Backpay (Pay Per Share) reward system, taking a 0% fee, and passing on mining transaction fees along with the block reward. They mine Bitcoin and Namecoin, although stats currently aren’t available for NMC . The pool utilises the Stratum mining protocol, and vardiff so difficulty will adjust based on your hashing power. Their servers are based in North America.
Earnings are confirmed after 120 network confirmations, and while the default for your first payout you must mine a minimum of 0.04194304 BTC, you can configure this to be smaller, anything over their minimum of 0.01048576. Once you hit the threshold, your payment is queued with other pool users, and as blocks are found, they send the payouts. You need to be able to sign messages with your bitcoin address to make changes. (added 11 October) If your mining stops for a couple of days then your earnings are added to the payout queue, so this means that people who have tiny amounts of power can still get something to their wallets at the end of it.
While the pool operator is very active on bitcointalk, the news on their site is infrequent and their twitter have been silent since February 2014. However, there is a live IRC channel which is active throughout the day, and they are one of the only pools I’ve come across with a telephone number for support. The pool also contains some pretty useful stats and graphs when you sign up for My Eligius, which gives you an idea of your earnings over time, and how it steps up in incriments. A cool feature of the pool is that people can view everyone’s stats, so looking through the leaderboard lets you see what kind of power individual miners are throwing into the pool.
Securitywise, the site requires any changes are signed using your bitcoin wallet address, which is also your username. So there’s no issues of someone changing a payout address for bitcoin, but namecoin can be changed. The pool operator has done a lot of work on various pieces of bitcoin software, including BFGMiner and open source mining pool software, and the stats for the pool also have their own github.
So in conclusion, the interface of Eligius is very disjointed, with very different websites and personal stats, and a bit of duplication of data. However, their mining reward system means that they eventually pay out for orphan blocks, and you can certainly generate a steady stream of blocks from them. Their minimum payout threshold means that you need to have a reasonable amount of hashing power to get to the point where you’ll be able to withdraw, unless you stop mining for a few days, and with difficulty increasing and overall the pool getting less blocks per day as time goes on this will only get worse. But the pool is one of the longest established, most reputable and reliable pools that is available to the public, with a friendly community of fellow miners.