Bitcoin mining pools are a way for Bitcoin miners to pool their resources together and share their hashing power while splitting the reward equally according to the amount of shares they contributed to solving a block. A “share” is awarded to members of the Bitcoin mining pool who present a valid proof of work that their Bitcoin miner solved. Bitcoin mining in pools began when bitcoin testnet hash rate difficulty for mining increased to the point where it could take years for slower miners to generate a block.
The solution to this problem was for miners to pool their resources so they could generate blocks quicker and therefore receive a portion of the Bitcoin block reward on a consistent basis, rather than randomly once every few years. If you participate in a Bitcoin mining pool then you will want to ensure that they are engaging in behavior that is in agreement with your philosophy towards Bitcoin. For example, some rogue developers have threatened to release software that could hard-fork the network which would likely result in tremendous financial damage. Therefore, it is your duty to make sure that any Bitcoin mining power you direct to a mining pool does not attempt to enforce network consensus rules you disagree with. Segregated Witness When segwit is activated, you will want to be able to mine and relay segwit-style blocks. The following mining software has been upgraded to support segwit. RPC must be upgraded to support the BIP9 and BIP145 changes to GBT.