In a very sad announcement on Discord the operators of TruePool have set February 1st as the last day for the pool to run. TruePool is a Chia pool made up of team members from TrueNas and was one of the only real bridges between the traditional storage / datahoarder community and the Chia farming community.
In their discord channel they cite that it isn’t profitable to run right now, and that the effort needed to get it to that point would be very high – and not worth it. It is hard to disagree with the price of XCH at an all time low and the wider crypto market taking it’s worst beating in a year.
During the discussion a number of other pool operators popped by, not to vulture members but to lament the loss. Chris from FlexPool mentioned that not even the biggest pools are very profitable right now, and I believe him. It is possible FlexPool is making some money over infrastructure but certainly not enough from Chia farming to pay for the team’s time.
Because of that running a pool right now is basically a labour of love. And there are many who will continue to do so. OpenChia just hosted me on their YouTube channel to about CATs (Chia Asset Tokens) and they have tons of plan for the future and are still trying stuff out. But I doubt they are making any real money doing it.
If the Chia ecosystem is to really survive the economics on this stuff is also going to have to change, or we are going to be left with only a few giant pools that are themselves barely scraping by with no resources left to innovate. When confronted the Chia Network team always responds that the price isn’t their main concern and they are busy developing and bringing value to the system. That is good, and probably true, but there comes a point where a low XCH price risks the entire operation and we are definitely closer to that point than we were a few weeks ago.