Individual ETH miner hits jackpot with $540K block reward

An individual miner defied the odds and managed to collect 168 ETH from a solo mining pool this week worth 42 times the average block reward.

An individual Ether (ETH) miner struck it big by mining a block on their own and receiving a reward valued at about $540,000. 

The miner was operating through the 2miners Ethereum SOLO pool on Jan. 17 when they mined an entire block and received 168 ETH. That reward vastly outstrips the per-block average reward of about 4 ETH according to BitInfoCharts.

Adding to the remarkable nature of the reward is the size and hash power of the SOLO pool. It is relatively small with 854 miners online and 1.5 Tera hashes per second at time of writing, meaning that the average miner contributes 1.85 Giga hashes per second. The lucky miner currently contributes 2.25 Giga hashes per second which could be generated between 1 to 20 of the latest GPU devices.

Hash power is the amount of computer processing power a device contributes to a Proof-of-Work blockchain like Ethereum and Bitcoin. More hashpower helps secure the network by processing transactions and mining blocks.

The lucky jackpot on the Ethereum network marks the third time in two weeks that an individual crypto miner has hit the big time. A Bitcoin (BTC) miner from the Solo CK anonymous solo mining operation raked in 6.25 BTC for mining an entire block on their own on Jan. 11.

Two days later, another solo miner using Solo CK again mined a new block on Bitcoin with only one to three rigs.

Each miner had a 1 in 1,400,000 chance of mining an entire block, and the chances of two tiny miners managing the same feat in the same week have been estimated at 1 in a billion.

Average daily Ethereum mining profitability has been on a decline since it spiked to an all time high of $0.282 on May 12, 2021. Average profitability is now about $0.0474 according to BitInfoCharts. This is partly due to EIP-1559 which burns fees rather than distributing them to miners.

Related: Ethereum’s EIP-1559 upgrade launches on Polygon to burn MATIC

A jackpot reward like the one earlier this week may be consigned to the past when the Ethereum network completes “the Merge,” referring to its move to a Proof-of-Stake (POS) consensus algorithm. With POS, network stability is maintained by staking tokens. This will reduce the electrical resource requirements of the network.

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Google Pay hires PayPal exec to head up crypto payments push

The tech giant has hired a PayPal veteran to help with the expansion of Google Pay as it sets its sights on the future, including plans to explore crypto.

Google has hired a former PayPal executive to help bolster Google Pay, with plans to expand into the crypto space.

Arnold Goldberg has been given the task of running Google’s payments division as part of a company-wide push into financial services, including crypto.

Google’s president of commerce Bill Ready told Bloomberg that:

“Crypto is something we pay a lot of attention to […] As user demand and merchant demand evolves, we’ll evolve with it.”

Google Pay is an online payment system developed by Google to allow in-app, online and contactless purchases on mobile devices including Android phones, tablets and watches.

As part of the overhaul, Google will focus more on being a “comprehensive digital wallet” that includes digital tickets, airline passes and vaccine passports, Ready said.

Following the news, the price of Bitcoin (BTC) spiked to a high of $42,478 (from a 24-hour low of $41,254) before falling back down to $41,887 at the time of writing according to Coinmarketcap.

Google has been dipping its toes in the crypto space for quite some time, partnering with several crypto companies through 2021. Ready said that the company plans to pursue more partnerships with more crypto companies.

In April 2021, Google Pay announced a new partnership with global crypto exchange Gemini. The update allowed Gemini users to purchase Bitcoin through Google Pay using fiat currency on a debit or credit card.

The tech giant also partnered with Coinbase in June, allowing customers of the exchange to pay for goods and services through Google Pay using their Coinbase Card. Users also were able to gain crypto rebates of up to 4% for their shopping.

In Oct, a partnership between crypto exchange Bakkt and Google allowed customers of the exchange to purchase goods and services using some select cryptocurrencies through their Google Pay wallet.

As for Paypal, it appears that the fintech company will be one man down as it explores the creation of its own stablecoin. Earlier this month, Paypal confirmed plans to launch “PayPal Coin,” which developer Steve Moser first found in the source code of the platform’s iPhone app.

Related: Bakkt crypto exchange partners with Google for payments

This comes only three months after the tech giant axed its plans for a service called “Plex” that would allow users to create checking and savings accounts.

“We’re not a bank — we have no intention of being a bank,” Ready said about the decision to cut Plex. “Some past efforts, at times, would unwittingly wade into those spaces.”

Google Pay debuted in 2015, with a revamp in 2020 which transformed the platform into a hub where customers could track their expenses and hunt for discounts.

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