Competition is heating up to unseat F2Pool from its long-held place as Bitcoin’s largest mining pool. Bitmain’s AntPool has its sights set on overtaking F2Pool’s hashrate, and the number of blocks mined per pool hints at AntPool’s ambition.
Over the past six difficulty periods, the percentage of blocks mined by AntPool has steadily increased from 13% to 22% in the last epoch. Over the same period, F2Pool’s share of blocks has mostly stayed flat just above 20%. And with 80% of the through the current difficulty period, AntPool has already mined almost 10% more blocks than F2Pool.
The difference between blocks mined by each pool, moreover, has steadily dropped for the past six months ever since F2Pool mined nearly twice as many blocks as Antpool in November 2020. In April, F2Pool mined only 121 blocks more than Bitmain’s pool.
For the past several weeks, both pools have bounced between first and second place for the pool’s share of hashrate multiple times, according to data from BTC.com. Some of this shuffling is of course due to the mechanics of estimating hashrate. Usually, F2Pool and AntPool control around 33 exahashes per second (EH/s) of hashing power.
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Part of AntPool’s growth comes from Bitmain’s requirement of subscribers to the Antminer VIP purchase program to use AntPool for their new machines, and nifty funnel for more hashrate allocation.
Fees for both pool fees are also fairly competitive. (Read more about pool fee structures here.)
Regardless of which one sits in the top spot, both pools still control a significant amount of hashrate. Both pools also remain committed to backing the protocol’s continued growth and improvement, after having signalled their support for Taproot, Bitcoin’s pending privacy and scalability upgrade. Whether AntPool can successfully unseat F2Pool for a sustained period of time, however, remains to be seen.