OCEAN, a new decentralized Bitcoin mining pool, announced that it had raised $6.3 million in seed funding from various sources on Nov. 28. The seed funding round is notably led by Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Block Inc. and also a co-founder and former CEO of Twitter/X.
Dorsey said in a statement:
“Our contribution to OCEAN comes out of a deep respect for their mission … OCEAN is solving a problem for Bitcoiners that I think all of us feel – further centralization of pools and mining pools that could plague Bitcoin, and how that risks a bunch of Bitcoin attributes that we hold dear.”
Other contributors to the seed round include Accomplice, Barefoot Bitcoin Fund, MoonKite, NewLayer Capital, and the Bitcoin Opportunity Fund.
OCEAN is operated by Mummolin, Inc., a company that describes itself as a successor to the Eligius Bitcoin mining pool that ran between 2011 and 2017. Luke Dashjr, who currently serves as the co-founder of Mummolin Inc., also created Eligius, which was intended to provide a decentralized approach to Bitcoin mining.
OCEAN announced the news at the Future of Bitcoin Mining Conference on Nov. 28. Though the pool appears to be operational, the company said it will launch new decentralization improvements and upgrades in 2024.
Few decentralized mining pools exist
Bitcoin mining pools allow individual miners to combine their computing resources and collectively compete with larger mining firms that dominate the practice.
Though numerous Bitcoin mining pools exist, not all mining pools use reward structures that allow for direct payouts. Mummolin co-founder and President Mark Artymko explained that traditional mining pools collect block rewards and transaction fees before distributing them to miners, introducing the possibility of withheld payouts.
OCEAN, by contrast, will rely on non-custodial payouts that are sent to participating miners directly from block rewards. OCEAN also offers some additional transparency features, which are detailed in more detail on its website.
While OCEAN is leading in this new direction, it is not alone. Other initiatives, like Foundry USA Pool, use a non-custodial escrow process for mining reward payouts. Proposals for federated mining pools or “fedipools” also exist.