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All things have their humble beginnings; in 2010, the first Bitcoin (BTC) mining project was created in Prague, Czechia, and was simply called Bitcoin.cz. Soon afterward, founder Mark “Slush” Palatinus decided to move on to other ventures, such as creating the world's first cryptocurrency hard wallet, Trezor. As a result, Braiins, a company doing embedded Linux development and research, took over the mining pool and renamed it accordingly.
Fast forward to today, Braiins (Slush Pool) has grown to become one of the biggest Bitcoin mining pools. There are now over 15,000 users in the space, with its total hash rate accounting for 5% to 8% of that of the overall Bitcoin network. The company derives 100% of its income via BTC and charges a 2% commission from its mining firmware. In an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, Kristian Csepcsar, chief marketing officer at Braiins, explained why crypto enthusiasts are still choosing the world's oldest mining pool after all these years, despite so many competitors available.
One of the first aspects discussed was why firmware is so critical in the process, to which Csepcsar gave the example of grid balancing in Texas. He explained, “You turn on the mining machine when there's a lot of electricity in the grid, but you might have to turn them off in milliseconds when demand is high from households.”
“Now imagine a big farm of 60,000 machines; it's very hard to regulate them without the aid of firmware, which solves the problem easily.”
But it's not just the technological aspect that's alluring novel miners to the Braiins mining pool. It's also about the ethos of the company. “Other mining pools want to support as many forks of Bitcoin as possible because it's just a revenue stream and is good for business,” said Csepcsar. “But we are not about that; during the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) fork in 2017, we decided to stay true to our central vision and not expand our mining pool to BCH because it was just a fad.”
Kristian Csepcsar at Braiins headquarters | Source: Kristian Csepcsar
And true to his words, Braiins today does not mine any other digital currencies other than BTC. Contrary to popular belief, Braiins isn't sitting on a huge pile of digital money as you'd expect. Csepcsar explains:
“Nobody expected Bitcoin to succeed that quickly. So we were selling a lot more initially [when the price was very low] to fund operations. In addition, there was a hack of the cloud service early on that resulted in 3,000 BTC stolen. So like, we're not sitting on Satoshi level wealth.”
When asked about how the firm stays strong cryptocurrency bear markets, when the price of digital currencies can often plunge 70% to 80% in a very short period of time, Csepcsar responded:
“The good thing is that we started early. All the co-founders were already far enough in their careers to have money from their previous job in big tech companies. We're Bitcoiners, and we don't believe in numbers going up forever. There are always going to be crashes. And so we prepare for that.”
In addition, Braiins is fiercely independent, having never accepted money from venture capitalists or external investors. Some crypto enthusiasts would argue there is a need for centralized institutions, such as security regulators, to step in and regulate the volatility of digital currencies, so investors and businesses alike could plan for slow and steady (albeit controlled) growth. But not Csepcsar, as he tells Cointelegraph:
“Imagine if we traded Bitcoin the same as the NASDAQ, eight hours a day, Monday to Friday instead of 24/7. Bitcoin is growing fast like an exponential technology, and we want it to remain that way. Restrictions make everything slower and less efficient.”