The main concern of miners, regardless of the mining algorithm they select, is the loss of shares or stale shares.

Whether you are mining ERGO, Zcash, doing Solo Mining or any other PoW algorithm like Bitcoin, you need to control stale shares to get higher rewards and make your gpu or asic perform.

The purpose of this article is to explain what stale shares are and how to reduce the number of shares being rejected by your mining rig by preventing them from occurring.

What are Stale Shares

A stale share is one sent by the miner to his mining pool or group after it has already completed the task and started to mine a new block.

To better understand why stale shares happen, it is necessary to start with the concept of “mining a block” and how the mining pool interacts with your hardware.

Don’t worry if you are still not clear on the concept, we will develop it now.

How a Block is mine

Depending on the mining algorithm is the time it takes to mine a block. For example, in Bitcoin a block is mined every 10 minutes and in Ethereum every 13 seconds. The mining block acts as a shoebox for transactions that take place within the network and have been verifiable by miners. Once the box is complete, a new one is opened to continue storing transactions. This is where the concept of stale shares comes in.

If the block has already been completed and your miner keeps sending shares to the same block, you will start having losses and rejections because your shares are obsolete due to the fact that the group or pool is already mining a new block.

How the mining pool interacts with the miner

When you connect your gpu or ASIC devices to solve complex mathematical mining equations, the pool keeps track of the tasks you have performed through the shares you send to the group.

In other words, the mining pool is like a school teacher giving you homework. Each task you complete is a share you have performed. Depending on your hash power, the number of shares you can perform will depend on the computing power (hash rate).

Why I have Stale Shares

As we said before, once the block has been completed, the nodes must send the information of the new block to be mined (new mathematical calculations) to the miners. Sometimes, depending on several factors that we will see below, this information does not arrive on time and that is why you get stale shares.

Stales Shares by long polling

As part of cryptomining, long polling is used by mining groups such as 2miners, ethermine, nanopool and others to inform miners that the block has been completed and a new mathematical calculation must be solved. That is, a new block to find to get the rewards.

Some mining groups do not support long polling, which is why you as a miner continue to mine a block that has already been solved while the rest are working on the new block. Basically, you send your shares to an expired block to get an error or stale shares.

Stale Shares by mining group load

In order to illustrate how mining group workload affects miners and stale shares appear as an effect, let’s consider the following:

Imagine you are in line at the supermarket to pay for your groceries and there is only one checkout enabled to cash out. Because of it, you will have to wait longer to leave since the checkout will be crowded with people wanting to pay.

The loading of a mining group is similar. Whenever a block is completed, the group must notify all miners and provide the mathematical problem to every miner. It is at this point that the mining group or pool informs the miners, which generates a large load that can affect your computers if the group:

  • does not have high-speed servers.
  • the latency between the pool and your computers is high.
  • the software you use for mining is outdated.
  • Of course, any of the above situations can lead to loss of shares (stale shares).

Stale Shares by miner latency

The closer you are to the mining group, the more likely you are to avoid stale shares. Latency is the time it takes for your teams to send shares to the mining pool. The higher it is, the more likely you are to get errors, especially when finishing and starting a new block to mine.

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Is mining in a group with low latency better?

Most miners think that the closer they are to the servers in the mining pool, the better the pool is for them. Despite this, stale shares are more important than “ping” or “latency” between the miner and the pool.

Let’s look at an example: 2 users have the same hash power, with the difference that user A has a ping to the mining pool of 100ms and user B has a ping of 250ms. After one hour, both users have sent the same amount of shares to the pool.

Who will get more rewards? Neither, since they both sent the same amount of shares and had no losses. As shown in this practical example, stale shares have more importance than the miner’s ping.

How to choose a cryptocurrency mining group?

We give you some tips on how to choose a mining pool that suits your needs taking into account the main goal of a miner: to get the most rewards for the use of their equipment.

  • Group fee: Some mining groups charge 1% while others charge 0.5% and there are even pools with 0% commissions, usually decentralised.
  • Location of servers: Depending on where you have the mining equipment, you need to choose a pool that is close to your location as this will reduce your ping with the pool and avoid data loss and even stale shares.
  • Mining software: Check that the cluster is compatible with the mining software you want to use, this will prevent your computers from crashing when connecting to the cluster.

Tips to reduce Stale Shares

What percentage of stale shares is acceptable? All miners have a certain percentage of stale shares in a mining pool, but you should keep stale shares between 1% and 2%. If you have a high percentage, check the following:

  1. Do not use Wi-Fi connection for mining equipment, this connection has interference and can produce stale shares.
  2. Do not use a USB modem connected to the motherboard as the hardware itself can interfere with the modem signal.
  3. Keep your mining software (T-rex, Claymore, ETHminer, Minergate, HiveOn, etc) up to date.
  4. Select a mining pool with geographic servers as close to your location as possible to reduce latency between your miners and the pool.
  5. Monitor the overclocking of your AMD/NVIDIA GPUs: Excessive overclocking can cause your miners to malfunction making them work less.
  6. If you still have issues, feel free to contact the Ricemining support team. In our cryptocurrency investment and hosting company we provide technical advice and troubleshooting with stale shares.

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