Bitcoin runs on a blockchain, a decentralised and public ledger where every transaction made on the network is permanently registered. By offering processing power towards this, users are rewarded with bitcoin creating a run to assemble ever more sophisticated and powerful equipment to mine new bitcoin.
Although many think that startups like Coinbase, Blockchain, or BitPay are some of the most important companies in the bitcoin mining industry, in fact where the most important bitcoin companies reside.
The miners form the core backbone of bitcoin, ensuring the digital currency’s integrity and decentralization. This decentralization of he bitcoin industry has huge benefits, but also comes with new risks: Right now, if just the top three organizations joined forces they would control 51% of the network — giving them the power to rewrite the blockchain as they see fit. And if this happens, it can ruin bitcoin.
Some individuals have their own mining machines to mine alone while others join open mining pools where they combine their efforts to improve their chances to get newly issued bitcoin. However, larger companies are leading the mining efforts. According to Business Insider and data collected from Blocktrail the 5 companies leading the Industry listed below:
- AntPool — Bitmain was launched in Q1 2013, and co-founder Jihan Wu is the CEO. It boasts that its technology accounts for 56% of global bitcoin miners. Bitmain comes first with a total hash rate of 17.82%.
- DiscusFish/P2Pool — officially known as F2Pool, this Chinese pool is also known as DiscusFish due to its logo — a discus fish. It is operated by Wang Chun and Mao Shihang. A spokesperson told Business Insider that the pool owns no hardware itself; 100% of its hash power comes from users. DiscusFish gets second place with a total hash rate of 16.49%.
- BitFury — BitFury is the best-funded mining hardware company in the business, raising $20 million (£12.8 million) in July 2015. It was, CoinDesk notes, its third round in two years, and it has now raised $60 million (38.4 million) in total. BitFury controls about 16.4% of the total hash rate.
- BTC China Pool — a relative newcomer to the scene, the BTCChina Pool is one of the biggest players around despite only launching at the end of 2014. It was founded in 2011, and is currently led by Bobby Lee, who became CEO after purchasing the exchange in 2013. BTC China Pool comes 4th with a total hash rate of 13.74%.
- BW Pool — BW Pool is another Chinese pool. It has almost no publicity in the English-speaking world, despite its size. It made a rare public statement in July 2015, when it co-signed a Reddit post in favour of an increase in block size — an ongoing technical question the bitcoin community is debating. BW Pool gets the fifth place with a total hash rate of 7.68%.
These are the Top 5 companies leading the bitcoin mining Industry. Several more are still on the queue but only these five along secure about 72.13% of the total network hash rate which can be a little bit scary. Fortunately, the network participants all try to keep it totally decentralized in an attempt to prevent the 51% attack.