PPLNS means that when a block is found, the block reward is shared among the last N shares that miners sent to the pool, up to when the block was found. The N value the pool uses is 5 times the network difficulty when the block is found - '5Nd'.
How much of each block does the pool reward?
Transaction fees are included in the miner reward. Pool fee is 0.9% of the total.
When are payments sent out?
The block 'Status' must first reach '+101 Confirms' on the Blocks page, and then is flagged as 'Matured', before the reward is distributed. The block reward transaction is created manually before the block matures, and sent out automatically a minute after the block matures.
The payout uses a zero fee transaction, so we will confirm it with the next block we find after the transaction is sent out.
PPLNS acts like the reward 'ramps up' when you first start mining. What actually happens?
The 5Nd means it takes that long to reward your shares. The ramp isn't missing rewards, it's delaying them to reduce variance. Each share is rewarded in all the blocks found in the 5Nd after the share. That's simply how it reduces variance. Each share's reward is averaged out over the 5Nd after it. The pool hash rate for the last day is roughly 72.78PHs which means the 5Nd 'ramp' is roughly 2days 1hr.
Continue reading below for more detail about how it works:
How do the PPLNS payments work?
The 5Nd means the pool rewards 5 times the expected number of shares, each time a block is found. So each share will be paid approximately 1/5 of it's expected value, in each block it gets a reward, but each share is also expected, on average, to be rewarded 5 times in blocks found after the share is submitted to the pool. i.e. if pool luck was always 100% then each share is expected to be rewarded 5 times.
If pool luck is better than 100%, then the average share reward will be better than 5 times. If pool luck is lower than 100%, then the average share reward will be less than 5 times.
What's a shift? When your miner sends shares to the pool, the shares are not stored individually, but rather summarised into shifts. Shifts are ~50min or less in length. Aproximately every 30s, the pool generates new work and sends that to all the miners. The pool also sends new work every time a block is found on the Bitcoin network. A shift summarises all the shares submitted to the pool for 100 work changes. However, when we find pool blocks, the current shift ends at the work in which the block was found and a new shift starts. A pool restart will also end the current shift and start a new shift. A network difficulty change will also end the current shift and start a new shift.
So, what's the 5Nd value?
The current Bitcoin network value for Nd is 595,921,917,085.4 and thus 5Nd is 2,979,609,585,427.0 Bitcoin adjusts the Nd value every 2016 blocks, which is about every 2 weeks.
When a block is found, the reward process counts back shifts until the total share difficulty included is 5Nd. Since shares are summarised into shifts, it will include the full shift at the end of the range counting backwards, so it usually will be a bit more than 5Nd.