All About BTC, LTC, ETH mining as well as other alternative crypto currencies
It seems that one of the earlier large Bitcoin mining pools that was trusted by many home miners over the last few years is going to be closing down at the end of this month. BTC Guild will be shutting down its mining servers on June 30th, 2015 at 23:59 UTC. Users will still be able to log in and retrieve their history and request withdrawals until September 30, 2015. According to Eleuthria, the pool operator, the main reason for making this decision was one one side the high costs for operating the pool as well as the recently finalized NYDFS BitLicense regulations that can put BTC Guild at risk. The pool will be closing down for sure and it is not going to be available for sale to another operator due to concern over user privacy and security.
This is sad new for many people that have used BTC Guild over the years and still continue to mine at their favorite and trustworthy pool. Unfortunately with more and more mining power getting focused in large industrial mining farms mostly in Asia things are not going to get better for other pools such as BTC Guild where mostly small home-based miners gather. This is also the reason while the percentage of the Bitcoin network total hashrate in pools like BTC Guild (only about 3% currently) has been steadily decreasing. In its prime time BTC Guild has managed to reach about 40% of the total network hashrate back in 2013, but now things are looking quite different and unfortunately not much in faour for the small home miners.
After the closure of ScryptGuild Scrypt mining pool earlier this year, BTC Guild – one of the large Bitcoin mining pools was apparently facing the possibility of getting shut down. The creator and operator of the BTC Guild mining pool has announced that the two main reasons for deciding to close the pool are the increase of attempts to hack the service (though it never has been hacked) and the new regulations that the US government is pushing for the Bitcoin related businesses. To read the official announcement posted on Bitcointalk about the closure of the pool. Eleuthria, the owner and operator of the BTC Guild, has however since announced that there is significant interest from multiple parties to purchase the pool, so the ownership of the pool could change and it may continue to operate under different management. Today however some more good news were announced – apparently we are not going to be loosing the BTC Guild pool, a service many of us have been using for years mining Bitcoins, and it is most likely not going to be sold either, but will continue to operate. Here is the latest post regarding the situation from Eleuthria:
A brief update on the weekend’s events: BTC Guild is not closing down in the near future. BTC Guild is not being sold in the near future. I am beginning to go over options with some colleagues in other countries and lawyers to consider moving BTC Guild to another country. This may involve taking on a partner, but I would maintain the primary role in the management and operations of the pool itself. More on this will be made available as it develops.
That process will be the answer to the concern over regulation. The second part, the concern about the cost of a successful compromise of the pool, is something I am working on addressing. I have already made some changes to the pool hot wallet to significantly decrease the amount of funds kept online. It will mean failed withdrawals may happen more frequently (we haven’t had that happen in many months), though it is preferable to have a few withdrawals delayed for 12-24 hours than have the site shut down due to a compromise.
I am also exploring ways that the pool could make a transition to coinbase payments to further reduce the amount of funds at risk at any given time. This probably won’t happen for a few months, if it happens at all.
The ScryptGuild Scrypt mining multipool has announced that they are going to be shutting down on September 27, 2014. However the mining servers will halt in 2 weeks, which is August 10th. Users will have until September 20th to withdraw their balances before the coin daemons and wallets are taken offline. The information about ScryptGuild shutting down is apparently not directly related to the New York Bitcoin Regulations that are currently in the works, however there is information that the BTC Guild mining pool might also be closed down if these regulations are approved in their current form.
Under the current proposals (subject to public comment and revision), operating a pool within the US will be impossible to do legally without obtaining significant personal information on ALL users, not just those in the US. There would also be significant financial costs which would exceed the amount of money the pool has generated since inception. Since there is no way anybody will mine on a pool with those requirements, it means that any pool in the US will be forced to shut down, or operate illegally and hope they’re ignored.
If the regulations are finalized (this is unlikely to happen for at least 3-4 months if not more) in a form that still applies to pools, the pool will be forced to shutdown. This news post is being made as notice that this is an exception to the stated 3-month closure window identified in our FAQ and the forum thread. If the regulations pass, the 3-month window will be reduced to 45 days due to legal requirement to cease operations prior to the regulations taking effect.