Bitcoin – Miners arm themselves against pools

The Stratum V2 protocol used by bitcoin miners to communicate with pools continues to innovate.

Stratum V2

The main feature of Stratum V2 (SV2) is to give miners the privilege of selecting transactions.

Other nice features are communications encryption and reduced bandwidth requirements. On the one hand by encoding messages in binary and on the other hand by eliminating redundant messages. We can read about stratumprotocol.org :

“Stratum V1’s human-readable JSON-RPC protocol makes messages 2-3 times heavier than necessary. Stratum V2’s binary encodings minimize message sizes, speeding up communications between miners and pools. »

Furthermore, Stratum V1 is not suitable for large installations with hundreds or thousands of machines that each communicate directly with a pool. This results in a significant unnecessary waste of energy.

When you put it all together, Stratum V2 reduces the average message size from about 100 bytes (unencrypted) to 48 bytes (encrypted).

Another advantage: the removal of empty blocks. Their existence is due to the fact that Stratum V1 does not allow the hash of the previous block to be sent in isolation. The pools therefore send an empty block of transactions to communicate it quickly.

For what ? Because this hash is the only data absolutely necessary for the miner to start hashing. Receiving it before transactions provides the ability to hash for a few extra seconds. Blocks are sometimes found in this time frame. This results in empty blocks.

With Stratum V2, the pools only have to communicate the hash of the last block since it is the miners who are responsible for building the blocks. The hash is sent via a dedicated and optimized 32-byte message.

SRI, the latest implementation of SV2

SRI (Stratum Reference Implementation) is a new implementation of the Stratum V2 protocol. It allows miners using the SV2 or SV1 protocols to connect to an SV2 pool and build their own blocks if they wish.

Only one pool uses SV2 at the moment: DEMAND. The Ocean pool launched at the start of the year by Luke Dash and Jack Dorsey plans to adopt it later this year.

One of the very nice new features is the ability to instantly change pools if the latter refuses your block. If some of the transactions are for example on the OFAC bitcoin address blacklist.

In such a scenario, SRI automatically submits the block to another pool. Miners can configure multiple fallback options. And if all listed pools decide to censor, the block is mined solo.

This configuration strongly encourages pools to refuse any regulatory pressure that would force them to censor transactions. The sanction would be immediate via the diversion of the hashrate to competitors.

THE communicated of SRI also specifies that this system can also be used if the pool has internet connection problems, or if it refuses the block because of transaction fees lower than its fee policy.

This new implementation is good news for the decentralization of bitcoin. Pools that adopt it will attract miners wanting to be masters of their blocks.

Miners who do not like ordinals will also have the choice of filtering them. What the Ocean pool is already doing. Don’t miss our latest article on this subject: Bitcoin – Discontent is growing against the ordinals.

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