Stratum V2 is a new method of mining operability. This new stack (multiple layers of technology) aims to address some potential flaws of the current mining protocol by incorporating more choice at the user level.
What is Stratum V2, and why is it necessary?
‘Stratum V1’, the current protocol used in PoW (proof of work) blockchain mining, has had a great deal of stability, so why is an upgrade necessary? The answer to that question lies in the potential threat of centralization on a pool level. Mining pools are becoming more and more centralized – not less.
Between 74.9% and 88.3% or more of the Bitcoin blockchain hashrate is generated through Chinese-owned mining pools. In essence, most (if not nearly all) of the Bitcoin network is held together and controlled under one roof – China.
Bitcoin hashrate distribution chart gathered from Blockchain.com.
Although the Chinese government doesn’t directly own or control any of the major mining pools (as far as we know), there is still a potential threat. If anyone were to control more than 50% of the global network hashrate, they would get to decide which transactions were processed on the blockchain.
How Stratum V2 fixes the problem with centralization
This new stratum protocol, being developed by Braiins, will give more flexibility to verifying transactions on a user level. Instead of the mining pool making the final decisions on which transactions will be processed (mined by their pool), each individual user will have the ability to choose transactions, or a list of transactions that they want to solve for.
Braiins claims that the user will also be able to elect to have their pool choose for them, much like the way it works currently.
The next steps for implementing Stratum V2
In order for Stratum V2 to work, it needs to be adopted. Unfortunately for this new technology, it will have to be adopted in each layer of its implementation – hardware, firmware, and software.
It does not appear that it will be easy to use an earlier miner setup retroactively, if it will even be possible. There may be a firmware update available to the current hardware, but that seems unlikely considering this push is primarily focused on the “individual miners” instead of the large mining operations. Most “in-the-basement” miners won’t feel compelled to go through the moderately grueling process of updating their firmware.
The future of Stratum V2
The biggest challenge for Braiins’ new platform will be getting the hardware manufacturers on board. That is what will drive adoption of the new tech.
With one of the largest mining pools at their disposal, integration into the software layer will be seamless. SlushPool has already started to develop for Stratum V2. They have even notified their users of the upcoming implementation.
Stratum V2 is focused on decentralization, which is ultimately the core of blockchain. If you would like to provide feedback on their development, they have a link at the bottom of their promotional page: https://braiins.com/upgrade
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Where does the implementation of V2 leave current owners of Bit Kit?
The consumers of the Bit Kit will probably never notice a difference. V2 is still in its early stages and may take a while to become a standard or even adopted at all. There is still a lot of testing of the technology and the market to be done before we will know for sure. Long story short, it helps with the decentralization and makes mining pools less powerful. Hands Free Bitcoin is not a mining pool, but we do utilize various pools to offer our service. Our goal will always be to provide the best, and safest experience for the customer. If Stratum V2 brings more power to you, you can expect we will implement it as soon as it is ready.