Lucky Bitcoin Miner Won $130,000 Beating All Odds
Recently a standalone Bitcoin (BTC) miner with an average hashing power of just 10 TH/s managed to add block 772,793 to the asset's blockchain.
The miner’s success stood an extremely slim chance, as at the time of the block’s addition, Bitcoin’s total hashing power was just over 269 EH per second, meaning that the solo miner’s 10 TH/s hash rate represented only 0.000000037% of the blockchain’s total computing power.
As a reward, the miner received 98% of the total 6.35939231 BTC allocated for remuneration and fees for the block. The remaining 2% were given to the online mining service Solo CK Pool.
In order to add a block to a chain based on a Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm like Bitcoin, the miner must first compute a valid hash for the block, which can only be discovered through brute force computation.
The machines that are designated for the mining proceess execute an encryption algorithm to produce a hash that falls below a threshold set by the network. If the algorithm produces a value that is above the target hash the miner tries the algorithm again with slightly modified input to produce a completely new hash value. The miners designed specifically to perform this function are capable of computing trillions of unique hashes every second.
How lucky can you get?
The odds of adding a block as a standalone miner are determined by the number of hashes the miner’s machine computes per second, relative to the total number of hashes that all machines on the network compute each second.
Less than an hour after solving block 772,793, the solo miner had an average hashing power for the previous hour of 10.6 TH/s, according to a post on the BitcoinTalk forum. Rougly 10 TH/s was the combined output of four machines called “workers”. This suggests that this miner’s platform was likely made up of four USB stick miners, which individually can achieve a hashrate of ~3 TH/s.
Using the difficulty level included in block 772,793 and assuming that the platform of the miner in question computed 10 TH/s it is possible to calculate the total expected hashing power as 269,082,950 TH/s at the time the block was solved.
Based on this, the probability of a miner being the first to solve the block with a valid hash is one in 26.9 million.
The contribution of mining pools
The vast majority of blocks added to the Bitcoin blockchain today are created by large pools of mining platforms that combine their hashing power and share their revenue. Each miner’s contribution is rewarded proportionally every time the pool mines a block.
Mining pools date back to 2010 and have steadily taken larger shares of the hash distribution each year as the difficulty of mining increases and mining technology improves. Today, at least 98% of online BTC miners belong to a mining pool.