Cryptocurrency Mining Pools
In the context of cryptocurrency mining, a mining pool is the pooling of resources by miners, who share their processing power over a network, to split the reward equally, according to the amount of work they contributed to solving a block.
A "share" is awarded to members of the mining pool who present a valid proof of work that their miner solved.
Mining in pools began when the 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 more quickly and therefore receive a portion of the block reward on a consistent basis, rather than randomly once every few years.