Blockstream, the Canadian blockchain services company well known for its work on the Bitcoin Lightning Network, yesterday announced details of its Bitcoin mining operations, opening the doors to more institutional and enterprise customers. It revealed it had been mining on behalf of major investment company Fidelity and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman.
It has also created a mining pool called Blockstream Pool, to offer smaller miners the chance to tap into its vast resources. The two offerings will be based in North America and will be using sustainable energy in partnership with utility provider Hydro Quebec.
The company said the project began in 2017 due to concerns that the Bitcoin mining hashrate became increasingly centralized. According to Blockstream CSO Samson Mow, the mining operations can produce up to six exahashes of mining power, at full power, which is just shy of 10 percent of Bitcoin’s current total network hashrate—currently at 67.6 exahashes.
Mow added that Blockstream itself will continue to use a small amount of the computing power involved to mine on its own behalf, with the majority in control of its clients. In theory, this stops it from having too much control over the network—unless it decides to run all the equipment for its own purposes.
Blockstream said that its mining pool is the first production mining pool utilizing the BetterHash protocol, a protocol that gives individual miners the ability to control which transactions to include, and which blocks to mine. This gives more decision making power to its clients, helping to keep the network decentralized. But again, as long as it allows them this choice.