We live in a modern world where innovations happen very frequently and the crypto mining scene is not an exception. With the number of new things out there it’s often hard to keep track of what new is happening around you. Moreover, the amount of work required to keep a mining pool hosting several different coins is actually much more than one could think: daily, new splits are happening on various coins’ networks, there are various security and feature updates coming out that require the updating and testing of the infrastructure and of course, there are dozens of support request from our fellow miners, seeking answers of advice.
In such a world it is still important to pay attention to the smaller things that may sound insignificant to many but that actually do a noticeable impact on the miners’ daily income and performance — and many other pools don’t do that as things “just work” without it. One of these smaller things is the so-called discard flag, and 2Miners are making full use of it.
What Is a Discard Flag?
Let’s step back a little and do a quick review of how mining works in general. The cryptocurrency node is forming a new block that the solution has to be found for. The solution is a special hash number that “signs” the header of the newly formed block and aligns it against the previous block — this is a base principle of how the blockchain works and maintains its integrity. Then the pool software (there are some open source and freely available ones, yet most major pools, 2Miners included, are running on their own proprietary solutions) takes the newly formed block and distributes the “work orders” to all of the connected miners.
The miner software by itself is a giant number-crunching machine that takes the “work order” and distributes it among its computing cores — this is usually the GPU in the mining graphic cards or special ASIC chips. Then the mining computing cores try billions of combinations of different numbers until it arrives at the right solution that matches the “work order”, or, if it couldn’t do it until the next “work order” came in, discards the computations and starts anew.
Naturally, the blockchain is a living thing and new transactions get added to the pending pool every second or so. When this happens, the cryptocurrency node adds these to the new pending block and broadcasts the update to the connected pool software indicating that the block has changed. But the trick here is that often while the block did change, the actual “work order” did not! Yet the pool blindly rebroadcasts the new (and as we know, not-so-new) work order to its miners, causing their computing powers to scrap what they have been doing and start the search from the beginning with the newly arrived data.
NiceHash, the most known resource that allows people to sell and rent the hash power, is well known for proposing innovations and suggestions to the mining protocol that powers communications between the pool and its miners — Stratum. One of their proposals was a so-called “discard” flag that gives the connected miners a hint whether the arriving work order is completely new or if it is an update to the previous one.
Discard Flag Usage
Smart mining software (such as Gminer or Lolminer) take that into account and can make decisions whether they should call a “full stop” to their connected computational powers or if they could allow searching further, without causing a harsh abort.
As you can easily guess, frequent restarts of the solution search cause the loss of hashing power and lower the possibility of finding the correct solution. But it turns out that most mining pools out there are not utilizing this at all, blindly relaying what the cryptocurrency node has told to its miners. In the contrast, we at 2Miners are making full use of the modern proposals and use the “discard” flag gracefully to let the miners know whether they can continue searching or not. This increases the miners’ hash rate output by a noticeable number.
In a modern world, even small things matter. It is the attention to detail and a strive for excellence that makes our pool stand out from the crowd. Thanks for continuing to work with us and together we’ll be driving the world to a better future!