This article will be the beginning on a series about Hpool and the other 3rd party Chia pools that are starting to pop up because of the delays to the official pooling protocol. Due to the rapid expansion of netspace over the last month, individual farmers are beginning to grow nervous that they will both never win a block farming solo and that by the time pools show up their farms will be so insignificant that they will have lost the most profitable window of farming time.
The two main Pools we will be investigating initially are Hpool and Core-pool (formerly Chia-Core before some inevitable, and apparently legitimate in this case, trademark action). Core-Pool, at the time of this writing, is being reported as unsafe and when you do click through the site is broken. I assume this will be resolved as we get into our investigation, but otherwise it might be a short feature.
We will be looking into their claims, their installation and farming process, an in depth look into their farming software and we will speak to a few people farming in their pools to get a sense of the level of satisfaction with the process. I will also attempt to interview representative from the companies, but I do not have high expectations.
If you have any other suggestions for unofficial pools coming online please send a message through the site or leave a comment on this page.
It is worth keeping in mind while you make a decision to use one of these pools that even if the technical piece is safe, and there is no malware as part of their software package that these are, at least from my Canadian perspective, underground financial institutions. There is a human element of trust here, that if the pool operators decide to walk away with all the coin there is likely very little you can do. We will be recommending to never keep anything but the minimum XCH in a wallet or account accessible to these pools. And make sure you follow all relevant security protocols, regardless of the software in question. This is actual money being dealt with so there is actual crime happening and many ways to lose your coins.
Update June 8
Core-Pool has their site up with no more security warnings, everything looks fine but there is a warning about some downtime to resolve issues they are having that sound a lot like the double-farming reports that have been coming out of Hpool.