Pool.Garden has announced via their discord that they will be shutting down their Chia pool. The announcement suggests that they had some back end issues cause a block win to revert, and some other problems. They also mention that the infrastructure costs outweigh the possible revenue they would get at their pool size and fee structure. That point is very interesting to me and I followed up with Scorpil of Pool.Garden to ask about the details there. The full announcement is here.
As for the block reward, they are still investigating that but it comes down to a claim transaction for the reward that doesn’t complete, either because of an issue or because the reward was never delivered. They have promised to update me when they determine what went on there.
As for the costs, they Scorpil thinks that it is not something that is viable for a small team right now. Based on a 1% or less fee structure even 50 blocks per month is only $200/USD revenue. That is not enough to run proper, resilient cloud infrastructure and Scorpil agrees. Also, they wanted to operate legally above board which raises the break-even point even higher. And that doesn’t include anything for the immense amount of time needed from their team of 3 people.
This is something I think other pools will need to wrestle with. Running these things properly can be expensive and 1%, or less even, of a small number of block rewards will be devastating long term. The big outfits will absorb the cost until their netspace is high enough to become profitable, but otherwise its going to be a blood bath in the coming months. Something else to think about when choosing a pool.
Update: I received word from Scorpil that the block that was unclaimable has been recovered, and the issue was due to a problem with one of their nodes. These kind of problems will exist and running a pool will take some administrative time, even when its humming along.