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Gridcoin: An open-source cryptocurrency that rewards volunteer computing

212 points118 comments15 hours agowikipedia.org
by jl271812 hours ago

This may be misunderstanding the function of PoW. Bitcoin PoW provides three things: selection, security, and incentive. The compute resource burn is an externality, although, it also ends up providing an important function, economic distribution. For PoW to work,it has to be hard to produce, easy to verify, and most importantly, attest to one and only one state of the blockchain. The last part is where this fails as PoW. The solution to a puzzle is meaningless if the same solution can be shown as the result of two different inputs. So the puzzle must be practically unique to each proposed block (infinite possibilities), and ‘fair’ to each proposal. If you can find a useful puzzle with these properties, please don’t hold back.

by roboticmind11 hours ago

The coin is proof of stake based. The rewards for BOINC come on top of staking. Each BOINC project that is rewarded has its stats looked up by a system of oracles and each node verifies that the oracles match up. The project themselves can be removed if they act up and there's a system for voting on which project to add and remove

If you have any more questions feel free to ask me or check out the Gridcoin website https://gridcoin.us

Note: I help work on the gridcoin.us website and have ~5000 Gridcoin, so I may be biased in my view of the coin :)

by jl27189 hours ago

The website appears to represent it accurately, and exciting for all the reasons that BOINC is.

The Wikipedia article says:

“Gridcoin attempts to address and ease the environmental energy impact of cryptocurrency mining through its proof-of-research and proof-of-stake protocols, as compared to the proof of work system used by Bitcoin.”

I don’t see this implementation as having any relevance to cryptocurrency mining in general. Hopefully you can find a way, but the Wikipedia statement seems inaccurate.

by roboticmind7 hours ago

I know that many (including one of the core developers) have tried to correct various things on that Wikipedia page, but my understanding is that there's an admin that keeps reverting most changes

> I don’t see this implementation as having any relevance to cryptocurrency mining

That's why a lot of people refer to running BOINC to get Gridcoin as "crunching" instead of mining to help distinguish it

by lappa10 hours ago

In that case, why have proof of stake at all? Wouldn't it be simpler to just have the set of oracles alone facilitate the currency, since they already effectively have the power to?

by vmception10 hours ago

The market didnt tolerate oracle controlled coins when Gridcoin was released

The market does tolerate that now

Today you wouldnt use a new blockchain you would just issue an erc20 token with an oracle server having an admin key for distribution. You could have people merkle mine to accumulate a stake, but this is primarily to keep the “crypto/computational” branding for that audience, as the oracle aspect would still be centralized

by roboticmind9 hours ago

The oracles don't have the power to completely run everything. With the current split for rewards, 25% of new coins is from just staking. As well, because new blocks are made only proof of stake, a 51% type attack would be also be much tougher for the oracles conspire and to pull off. Even if they tried to redirect 100% of research rewards (28750 GRC/day) to one address, it would take over 900 days to even reach the same amount as the address with the largest balance (~6% of current coin supply) [1].

Further, there's also more resiliency. If the oracles somehow broke or conspired and all said everyone did zero work, the network would still run. Now granted it would not be great that only previously pending research and PoS rewards would be given out, but you could still send coins, run polls, etc.

[1] https://main.gridcoinstats.eu/address/ (excluding the very largest one (the foundation) because it's multisig and can't stake. In its case it would take 1000 days to reach)

by Moodles9 hours ago

I once saw another example coin like this where the "useful PoW" was finding chains of prime numbers or something. However, PoW solutions were not dependent on the current blockchain sate, which rendered it insecure as someone could just stockpile solutions and then hijack the blockchain. Is it the case here too?

The closest I've seen to a useful PoW coin is one which relied in intel SGX to prove that the work done was useful and honest, but of course the central root of trust is really Intel's SGX in that case.

by fogof7 hours ago

One of the more famous examples of a BOINC project is Rosetta@home, which asks users to determine how proteins fold. Isn't this exactly what you stipulate? You just let the binary hash of the block encode a sequence of amino acids, and then have the output be a valid block hash if the hash of the corresponding protein fold data has enough 0 bits at the beginning.

by bowmessage7 hours ago

who validates that the protein was folded correctly? Validating that the hash of some nonce contains enough leading zeroes is very easy for the network to validate. But verifying that users are correctly computing the protein folding (rather than quickly dumping out invalid folds to test hash values) seems like a difficult problem for the network to validate.

by fogof7 hours ago

This is a good point. I was assuming that computing a protein fold was something that could be done relatively quickly, but it seems like these simulations are actually much more computationally intensive than that.

This is obviously not my area of expertise, but I wonder if there is any way to make more efficient but still useful computational questions about protein folding. For example, if we try to fold just part of a protein (only 100 or so amino acids, say) and do it at a much lower fidelity of simulation, is the result still helpful?

by DavidHilbert10 hours ago

> The solution to a puzzle is meaningless if the same solution can be shown as the result of two different inputs.

This isn't true. There are an infinite number of inputs that result in the same solution for bitcoin (or any hash)

by Moodles9 hours ago

Right, but that's a little unfair? SHA-256 is literally a function designed to make it impossible to find such collisions. BIONIC problems aren't designed with that in mind.

by jl271810 hours ago

Okay let’s see an example. ;)

by powerbutton659 hours ago

Like it or not they are technically correct. SHA-256 is a one way compression and furthermore the PoW for bitcoin doesn't require a match for the entire hash.

There's loads of examples of this in the bitcoin network whenever there's been a fork and eventually orphaned blocks.

+1
by jl27189 hours ago

Those are different solutions to the puzzle. Nobody has ever published a sha-256 hash collision. It has happened once with sha-1.

by dfgdghdf12 hours ago

Exactly this. The PoW scheme must commit you to a particular chain.

by Robotbeat12 hours ago

Can you just hash a new solution to the puzzle with the new proposed block?

by proto-n12 hours ago

Solution has to depend on the proposed block, so that a solution is not reusable for the next block

by Robotbeat12 hours ago

The solution is also announced in cleartext, so you can check against previous solutions.

+1
by AgentME8 hours ago

The problem is that when a miner announces a block with a solution, an attacker could immediately announce their own alternative block with the same solution and there would be a chance that the network would take up their block first.

by roboticmind11 hours ago

For those that are wondering how this works, Gridcoin uses PoS - not PoW - and then rewards for research on top of it. It is not locked into any algorithm because it's not PoW. There are currently 18 different BOINC project [1] that it rewards. New projects can be voted in or can be voted off.

To try to reduce the centralization, there is a system of oracles that gathers the stats from each project and the nodes verify that the oracles match each other. As well, each project only consists of 1/18th of the rewards [2] from research and there's also new coins rewarded for just staking, so if a project acts up, they wouldn't be able to largely manipulate coin supply.

If you have any more questions about it, feel free to ask me

[1] https://gridcoin.us/guides/whitelist.htm

[2] https://gridcoin.us/wiki/magnitude.html

Note: I help work on the gridcoin.us website and have ~5000 Gridcoin, so I may be biased in my view of the coin :)

by noxer10 hours ago

Whats the use for the coin? Its an incentive obviously but its only so because it has a price tag. Who should buy the coin from me if I "mined" one and what would he do with it?

by roboticmind9 hours ago

As one of the commenters mention, it's an issue with all cryptocurrencies. Right now one of the reason people want to get Gridcoin is to get enough to stake regularly to earn their rewards or because they believe in the coin. In the future, there's been some ideas floating around that I think are very interesting. For instance, one idea that's been floating around is to create a service that accepts GRC and offers assistance to researchers for setting up a BOINC project

by noxer8 hours ago

No, its not with all, maybe with most but regardless this doesn't add any anything. I want to know specifically for this coin.

>to get enough to stake regularly to earn their rewards

Reward paid in, let me guess, more coins. self fueling like most other coins. Thats not a real usecase

>because they believe in the coin

so it has religion-like properties, awesome /s not a use case

>create a service that accepts GRC and offers assistance to researchers for setting up a BOINC project

so its used as a medium of exchange which boils down to the price tag it has. you could just pay someone with normal money no one would want to be paid in gridcoin unless one gets overpaid. Obviously this is also not a use case.

by lifeformed27 minutes ago

How are those issues any different from other currencies or coins? It really comes down to trust and security, which this offers just like others do. At a high level view it's just basically bitcoin but with coins created through externally useful work.

+1
by roboticmind7 hours ago

I'll admit it's not great right now, but I don't know if I understand what you view as a use case? If using it to get things of value with it is not a use case, then what coin or currency has any use case? Everything is a transfer of value even beyond just currencies be it paid in time or other things

> Reward paid in, let me guess, more coins. self fueling like most other coins. Thats not a real usecase

It's also worth noting that you don't have to go through it if you use a pool, and there's work on making it not require pools if you don't want to start out with any Gridcoin. If you look up Gridcoin and "Manual rewards claim" you'll find some of the discussion about it.

> so it has religion-like properties, awesome /s not a use case

I was thinking more in terms of some of the reasons why Gridcoin's developers have Gridcoin - not necessarily advocating for others to do the same. I should have clarified that I didn't think this was a use case

I should also mention that having Gridcoin helps you in polls. Gridcoin has a system of polls and the polls are weighted by how much work you do in BOINC and how many coins you have. Note that it's your amount of those before a poll so you can't try to gain more influence after learning of a poll. It of course has its own issues and discussions about how or if votes should be weighted

+1
by stonesweep7 hours ago

In it's heyday during 2018 it got up to 15-17 cents (USD), but by the end of 2018 it was at 1/2 cent and by the end of 2019 it was at 1/10 cent. It's been delisted from most of the major exchanges and pulled from wallet apps like Coinomi; your observations above are correct, you need to have coin to make coin and you cannot make coin quickly without throwing a lot of hardware at it. You must use their wallet, which is... well, it has a lot of users having to deal with it not working right/needing repaired frequently (see /r/gridcoin).

There were a few businesses accepting the coins for awhile (VPN providers, there was a hosting provider for a bit, I think a stickers/mugs/tshirt website, etc.) but that seemed to have dried up by 2019. The community itself has always seemed nice/pleasant, this is not a comment on those working the coin just on it's actual viability in real life - kinda has no use beyond owning it to make and own more of it as a curiosity. When I stopped using/trying I just dumped whatever random couple hundred coins I had into a public faucet, wasn't worth the hassle of trying to cash out $10 after a year of participating.

by deeeeplearning9 hours ago

>Whats the use for the coin? Its an incentive obviously but its only so because it has a price tag. Who should buy the coin from me if I "mined" one and what would he do with it?

This is the same for any crypto coin. Certainly not unique to Gridcoin.

by noxer9 hours ago

That doesn't answer the question.

+1
by neolefty8 hours ago

It's more a history question than a technical question. What's the use of Bitcoin or Ethereum?

by dang7 hours ago

If curious, past threads:

Help Take the Fight to COVID-19 with BOINC and Folding@Home - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22658139 - March 2020 (61 comments)

Gridcoin: Rewarding Scientific Distributed Computing - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16031912 - Dec 2017 (55 comments)

BOINC – Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12524921 - Sept 2016 (21 comments)

BOINC: Compute for Science - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10205904 - Sept 2015 (11 comments)

Help advance science while mining cryptocurrency - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8102623 - July 2014 (1 comment)

by roboticmind4 hours ago

For those reading and not familiar with Gridcoin and BOINC, I should note that BOINC is separate from Gridcoin. The threads about BOINC are indeed related, but about a slightly different topic. Just wanted to note that since I have seen some confusion stemming from it in the past

Separately, would it be possible to change the submission link to something with a little more information such as gridcoin.us? I have been lurking for a few months and I notice that you have changed some links in the past. Not sure what the guidelines are for changing links, so let me know if me that's not something you think is needed or can do

by wyldfire12 hours ago

For most cryptocoins, you want a proof-of-work to be: (1) easy for a computer to verify, (2) hard for a computer to perform, (3) impossible to predict for a given 'block' and (4) decentralized and untrusted.

If it's a novel scientific problem it won't be all of these. An interesting exception is prime numbers. Primecoin [1] has a useful proof-of-work: it finds Cunningham chains of primes.

If you don't like the energy consumed by a proof of work, you should probably use something else like proof of stake. Any clever idea to try and steer the computational power to SETI@home or protein folding won't have the critical qualities of most cryptocoins.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primecoin

by Robotbeat12 hours ago

Folding can be verified easier than it can be produced.

by tromp10 hours ago

You can verify that some fold achieves some energy state. What you cannot efficiently verify is that it's the best possible fold, achieving the global minimum energy.

by woadwarrior018 hours ago

> You can verify that some fold achieves some energy state.

IMO, that makes it similar to Difficulty[1] (and the related target) in Bitcoin's POW scheme.

[1]: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Difficulty

by tromp8 hours ago

except that with difficulty, you know the expected effort needed to pass the threshold. with folding of arbitrary proteins, you have no idea.

by jl27189 hours ago

I spoke briefly with Vijay Pande about this in 2011. Folding does have a lot of the right properties for a good proof-of-work system, the main exception being that the solution must be unique to the input. It may be possible to achieve this by embedding information into sets of constraints, as long as any particular set of constraints can be shown to be isoenergetic. Or perhaps by expanding the problem by adding more atoms in a way that embeds information about the inputs. Also, the solutions would be quite large. But I think he was more interested with my experience writing molecular dynamics code than blockchain, and rescinded the RA offer after this conversation, so I haven’t thought about it much since then.

Reconsidering (briefly) now, I think it can be done.

by wyldfire12 hours ago

There's no points for partial credit. It cannot be decentralized, untrusted and unpredictable. If anything other than an automaton produces the PoW inputs, it's at least centralized and we must trust that no one is cheating the PoW.

by Robotbeat12 hours ago

No points for partial credit?? Well... if you believe that, then that makes Bitcoin suspect as well as its consensus mechanism is essentially already broken by the practical concentration of mining power in a single country with an authoritarian central government.

EDIT: Anyone using an online wallet is already compromising trustlessness. Heck, using common software packages that you didn’t personally inspect is also compromising trustlessness. But does this matter in practicality? Yes (such online wallets and even sometimes soft wallets have been compromised or have lost coins occasionally), but not enough to necessarily get rid of all of the utility of cryptocurrency.

by noxer10 hours ago

Instead of PoS there are FBA (federated byzantine agreement) chains who are older than PoS thus better tested and arguably without any of the flaws PoS has. PoS is really a step backward and not the real successor to PoW.

by VMG12 hours ago

Proof-of-Work only makes sense if there is an opportunity cost for mining an invalid chain.

If mining an invalid chain is "useful" in some way, the security guarantee disappears.

by algo64646411 hours ago

Can you explain why the security guarantee disappears in more detail?

I thought that the security of a block-chain comes primarily from the difficulty of rewriting the chain of blocks. To do that you will have to fork and recompute the chain from some point back in history (say 5 blocks ago). This puts at a disadvantage since the rest of the network is ahead of you by 5 blocks and will continue adding new blocks. So you will need a lot of computational power to rewrite history and also overtake the rest of the network.

Why would some additional reward for mining (by solving a useful problem) break this?

by VMG11 hours ago

You don't actually need 51% of the mining power to perform a double-spend attack. Just by pure chance, even with 10% of the mining power, you will find 5 blocks in a row sometimes.

With a "wasteful" PoW, miners would not attempt this as they would hemorrhage money doing that.

Withe a "useful" PoW, miners could have an outside funding source like some institute that pays for protein folding. The would not lose money in their attempt to produce a minority chain (in proportion to the "usefulness" of their PoW)

by fogof7 hours ago

It seems to me that even in the PoW is useful, then both the honest and the dishonest miners will be able to get outside funding (from the perspective of the research institute after all, they are doing the same task). So the opportunity cost for dishonest mining is exactly the same - you miss out on the block reward more often.

by algo64646411 hours ago

The external reward in "useful" PoW is given to all miners, good and bad. So everyone is equally incentivized. In fact it should actually increase the participation in the network, e.g. those who don't care about cryptocurrency but are interested in the "useful" problem being solved.

The external reward by itself provides no competitive advantage. It reduces everyone's costs by the same amount. Rewriting history still remains difficult.

So what am I missing here?

+1
by VMG10 hours ago

Rewriting history needs to be expensive, not just difficult. If you decrease the cost of writing history, you decrease the penalty of participating in a minority chain.

by fallingknife8 hours ago

If you had 10% of the network the odds of that would be only 1/100K right? Or is that not how this works?

by hakesdev12 hours ago

If you use a money with an issuance scheme that doesn't derive from pure costs (useless things like hashing), the underlying incentives of that money will seed its own destruction.

What happens if you have a coin based on "useful work" and you "solve" the problem you were hoping to solve. Now a lot of "miners" leave the network, presumably because they were only there to help solve that particular problem. Now you have a weak system, and a system subject to 51% attacks by adversarial miners, and therefore not a good money/coin.

I don't see how HN commenters (in large part) don't get this. It's the Single-responsibility Principle, just in a different context.

by j-pb12 hours ago

There's plenty of usefull work that we won't run out of.

SAT solving is the prime candidate, because we have A LOT of NP hard problems in our day to day lives.

Weather simulations are another one, drug research is another one.

For the latter I'd argue that if we're at a point where we've erredicated all disease, we've also transcended as a society to a point where money has become obsolete.

by VMG12 hours ago

This is besides the point, and the parent didn't quite explain it correctly.

If there is no opportunity cost for mining, there is no penalty for mining an invalid chain therefore no security.

by fallingknife8 hours ago

Can you explain this in more detail or point me to something that does?

by Robotbeat12 hours ago

There is a penalty for producing an invalid fold. Folds are validated.

+1
by wyldfire12 hours ago

I understand that the desire for a Proof of Work to be useful is strong and that's what is the appeal for these kinds of things. You should know that everyone would be totally onboard if there were a way to keep critical cryptocoin properties AND make the computation useful. The naysayers here don't dislike folding or any other useful computations. They just have experience with the cryptocoin design elements.

There's some subtleties to how a cryptocoin works that aren't obvious and they're absolutely critical to making it work. Bitcoin can have competing chains of blocks that eventually get orphaned. And it's because there's this race condition while block solutions are propagated across the network. Eventually, after enough blocks the network agrees on which chain wins. But imagine if you could know how the next block would start - what its inputs would be. You could start solving that block now.

+1
by VMG11 hours ago

A miner can secretly build a blockchain that reverses transactions with little cost. He'll still get rewarded for correct protein folding.

by mtalantikite12 hours ago

Yeah, just last night I was curious about any blockchain approaches that might be out there that try and do something more useful and found people trying to use SAT solving as the base. This paper in particular seemed pretty interesting and I do hope we get to a place where we can at least be working on NP hard problems while transacting on a blockchain: https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/3297280.3297319

by coinward10 hours ago

Satoshi was correct to assume that the most useful work is securing the network

by Kiro13 hours ago

How is it verified? I thought the problem with doing useful work instead of normal PoW was that producing and verifying are equally hard, while Bitcoin's PoW scheme is hard to produce but easy to verify (so other miners can easily see that you've actually found the hash without doing any computations themselves).

by Tentom5 hours ago

It uses Proof-of-stake and not Proof-of-work to secure the block chain.

Additionally it has a Proof-Of-Research layer on top that reward the scientific research processing.

Each whitelisted project gets its chare of a set amount of Gridcoins that in minted and distributed to the individual contributors. The amount is currently distributed equally across whitelisted project. So more project the less will be given to a potentially fraudulent project.

How each project verify the tasks is more or less up to the project to handle. The individual Boinc project has incentives to do this as they use the result in their scientific report (falls result will be bad for them).

One solution to this problem is to have multiple crunchers do the same task and compare results, if the tasks is distributed randomly then an increase in the number of equal tasks can be used to increase confidence in the result. Eg a monte carlo simulation can be bone multiple times and the result can be compared, if it is within a given threshold. (this part is the responsibility of the individual project)

Other tasks might have hard to compute result that are easy to verify for the host similar to Prof-Of-Work on other blockchains.

More Boinc project will help to decentralize the reward, limit the risk of running out of research to do, and if one malicious project by chance get whitelisted then the impact will be limited.

The contributors contribution to each project is gathers by Oracles that compares their findings and this result is committed to the superblock.

by Forbo12 hours ago

Even if you have people doubling or tripling up the work on something useful, the end result is infinitely more useful than bruteforced hashes.

by dnautics12 hours ago

Don't forget that the usefulness of brute forced hashes is that it lets you have decentralized trust, so, you may be off by a factor of infinity.

by Robotbeat12 hours ago

Decentralized trust on Bitcoin is an illusion in practicality. There are trust bottlenecks all over the place when most people go to use it.

It’s ultimately a quixotic goal. So compromising a bit on mathematical decentralized trustlessness to accomplish some of the other goals of cryptocurrency while addressing the massive waste is a valid goal IMHO.

by Robotbeat12 hours ago

Folding can be and is verified, however.

by neolefty8 hours ago

It depends on out-of-loop review of the oracles by people, to ensure they stay honest, and that new oracles are honest.

Over time, as problems come and go, I assume oracles will be added and retired, so this coin will require manual maintenance. A necessary cost of being interesting?

by stonesweep14 hours ago

I tried out Gridcoin a few years back in it's $0.05 days, its at ~$0.01 now - at the time you had to "buy in" about $100 USD to have enough collateral to work solo (stake to get credit rewards), otherwise you had to join a mining pool to just get paid your meager credits. A basic $5 cloud server cannot generate enough GRC credit to pay for itself at 5 cents.

by gruez13 hours ago

>A basic $5 cloud server cannot generate enough GRC credit to pay for itself at 5 cents.

This is totally expected because of how the economics of mining works. If it were profitable to mine with a $5 cloud server then everybody would jump on, difficulty would increase, and it wouldn't be profitable anymore. The miners you're competing against are hobbyists with much cheaper access to compute than you, eg. they've already bought a threadripper workstation for work related purposes and they're just using the spare cycles.

by stonesweep11 hours ago

> profitable

...I'd settle for "break even" and have it simply pay for itself to perform the scientific work. My personal choice is to participate in the World Community Grid and I tried everything from a cloud server to a 20-core dual E5-2660v2 (rented) and even that amount of power cannot pay for it's monthly (super cheap, $75) rental fees. A laptop with an i5-3320 (something like that) cannot even pay for it's electricity use generating GRC.

Not profitable, just break even - that's all a guy like me asks for; it's more efficient if I take cold hard cash and donate it to a comparable cause than it does to run WCG nodes and expect GRC to just cover the electricity cost, ignore the hardware. I don't want to be profitable, just have any rig pay for it's electricity use - that's it. GRC cannot even cover that spread in finances.

by maerF0x08 hours ago

> profitable

Similar to what stonesweep said, some people have different economics. For example, I have an old computer sitting around. And my home heats by electricity in the winter. Therefore any time I need to heat my home it's 0 marginal cost to instead do mining (of any kind). IMO this is the real future of green efficiency, finding the places where the energy was already "spent" on a high value task, and add a low value task in the chain. Another example could be server farms could water cool and use waste heat for elec generation, low temp plastic melting, or residential hot water...

by RootKitBeerCat2 hours ago

The whole point of Bitcoin is that attacking it is costly... don’t fall prey to these cash grab pump and dump projects. Buy Bitcoin or monero.

by Forbo13 hours ago

I've been trying to bring attention to this project for years. It directly addresses the whole "proof of work is proof of waste" problem. Some of my earliest submissions to HN were about GridCoin, and they largely went compeletely ignored, glad to finally see it on the front page. At least with BOINC you end up with something more worthwhile than just bruteforcing hashes.

by hakesdev12 hours ago

If you use a money with an issuance scheme that doesn't derive from pure costs (useless things like hashing), the underlying incentives of that money will seed its own destruction.

What happens if you have a coin based on "useful work" and you "solve" the problem you were hoping to solve. Now a lot of "miners" leave the network, presumably because they were only there to help solve that particular problem. Now you have a weak system, and a system subject to 51% attacks by adversarial miners, and therefore not a good money/coin.

I don't see how HN commenters (in large part) don't get this. It's the Single-responsibility Principle, just in a different context.

by Forbo12 hours ago

Considering the number of supercomputers that have been constructed since the days of ENIAC, I don't think we'll be running out of scientific computing problems any time soon. And if we somehow do manage to run out of computing problems, then I guess we've already succeeded.

by zekrioca8 hours ago

I'm wondering why you think supercomputers are actually built for. Besides that, the type of computational problems that are submitted to and that BOINC helps solving are different to those that a supercomputer solves. The former (known as High Throughput Computing, HTC) is concerned mainly -- as the name suggests -- with throughput, while the latter (High Performance Computing, HPC) with speed/latency.

There is a reason why Cloud providers do not yet have "real" HPC offerings (i.e., performance-wise), even though with all the marketing they do to appear otherwise..

by Forbo3 hours ago

Sorry I didn't specify. There's still plenty of demand for HTC:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_distributed_computing_...

by fsflover12 hours ago

But can you change the task underlying your cryptocurrency without breaking the network?

by ilammy12 hours ago

If the network has been designed for this in the first place – why shouldn't you be able to?

With Gridcoin you can participate in a number of eligible BOINC projects [1] and get rewards for computing on any of them. The network can add or remove projects.

[1]: https://gridcoin.ddns.net/pages/project-list.php

by 3np13 hours ago

Same, I even bought some back in... 2014 I think?

I'm yet ambivalent on if it's a factor on why it hasn't been able to attract serious attention, but I've heard the argument that doing calculations that have external value outside of PoW breaks the incentive mechanisms.

To me, merge mining on Bitcoin[0] and MEV on Ethereum[1] are evidence against that argument, since we already have those forces in play today. So Gridcoins concept should work.

[0]: https://blog.bitmex.com/the-growth-of-bitcoin-merge-mining/

[1]: https://arxiv.org/abs/1904.05234

by david_draco13 hours ago

How can regulations can make alternative, less climate-harming projects such as this more attractive over bitcoin? Would crypto-currency income taxes or perhaps data center laws (similar to cyber-crime laws) be a useful tool? Or would that only favor lightning networks/PoS and those not declaring earnings.

by keymone13 hours ago

Your aim is off, bitcoin using energy is fine just like any other use of energy is fine, part of the free market of ebergy. It’s production of energy from fossil fuels that isn’t fine.

by mikepurvis12 hours ago

I don't think that's really true. There are plenty of cases where we can decide collectively as a society that a thing is valuable or not-valuable and intentionally set a particular price for it. As an obvious example, no one would argue that hospitals in Texas should have been paying the "market rate" for electricity last week, and conversely, it would have been a scandal if someone had been mining bitcoin on the Texas grid, no matter what price they were paying per kWh.

A similar thing happens with water, where people are asked not to use their sprinklers during a dry spell. They can _afford_ to buy a lot of water at the market rate, and raising the price might not even change that (besides being super unfair to someone else who then might struggle to afford even enough water to drink).

So yeah, I think it's fair for us to say as a society that turning electricity into heat in the form of bitcoin mining is a gigantic and unacceptable waste of a resource that we'd like to use for other things.

by beiller9 hours ago

> turning electricity into heat in the form of bitcoin mining is a gigantic and unacceptable waste of a resource that we'd like to use for other things

Hi I live in a cold place! Interestingly, bitcoin mining is an electric space heater with 100% efficiency. I could theoretically heat my home. Currently I use natural gas (which emits CO2 aka a greenhouse gas). The furnace runs at 95% efficiency I think. If my electricity can be generated with less CO2 emissions than my furnace via nuclear, solar, wind, then it would be quite desirable wouldn't it? Would it be fair to say electric heaters are a giant unacceptable waste of compute?

by maerF0x08 hours ago

> Interestingly, bitcoin mining is an electric space heater with 100% efficiency.

Technically you can get greater than 100% with electric heat pumps. But you're correct if you're marginally comparing just a space heater with/or without a CPU inside it.

by mikepurvis8 hours ago

A fair point, but in reality almost all of the Bitcoin heat is vented to the environment— no one is seriously capturing it for reuse at this point.

Also important to note that resistance heating ("100%") is in fact not the most efficient way to use electricity for warming a space. The most efficient is with a heat pump, where you're actually moving the heat from outside to inside.

by keymone12 hours ago

> we can decide collectively as a society that a thing is valuable or not-valuable and intentionally set a particular price for it

yeah, that's exactly what's happening to bitcoin for last 10 years.

> turning electricity into heat in the form of bitcoin mining is a gigantic and unacceptable waste of a resource that we'd like to use for other things

first of all, heat is a sign of inefficiency, the better bitcoin mining gets the less heat it will produce. second - it's a gigantic and unacceptable waste of resources in your opinion, personally i very much disagree and think the opposite: decentralized financial security expressed directly in terms of energy required to subvert it is the largest discovery in financial theory since the concept of money itself, it is extremely valuable.

by neolefty8 hours ago

This is an excellent point IMO. Unregulated central institutions (such as currency) lead to anarchy, in which public interest is not aligned with benefits. For example, pure Bitcoin serves only Bitcoin, with disregard for laws about, say, money laundering. If you can find a way to make it work for you, great — but that will only align with the public good by chance.

GridCoin seems like an attempt to mitigate that with internal regulation — it seems like the assumption is that GridCoin commits to proof-of-work tasks that are publicly beneficial.

by jMyles12 hours ago

We need to stop trying to shoehorn the state into places where it doesn't fit or belong.

by istjohn11 hours ago

I can't think of anythink more suitable for state intervention than solving the coordination problem to ensure the continued habitability of planet Earth.

by jMyles11 hours ago

Oh heck yeah. Climate justice is the issue of our age. I'm not saying not to take it seriously (few are anymore, right?).

However, choosing a PoW algorithm is unrelated to this task (and also risks giving cosmetic satisfaction while solving nothing).

Continued habitability of planet Earth is made dramatically more likely by supplanting monetary systems which:

* encourage people to treat money like a hot potato, better swapped for cheap plastic crap

* Make wars (the absolutely King Kong of carbon emission among human activities) much less expensive at the margins by slushily funding industrial complexes.

by david_draco7 hours ago

Regulation worked for the ozone hole and river pollution. Nothing else did.

by jMyles5 hours ago

So let's crack the fuck down on externalities of power generation and consumption. Ban fossil fuels on an aggressive timeframe. Make car-free cities everywhere. Stop all wars right now today.

But those things are orthogonal (and not even adjacent) to selecting an algorithm for PoW consensus.

I also want to caution against circlejerking over clean water and ozone restoration. Things on a global scale are still pretty dire; the solution is ahead of us, not behind, and it's not clear what it will be.

by RankingMember12 hours ago

Does anyone still own this? It came out awhile back and Bittrex dropped it in like 2018.

by lolIamANoob10 hours ago

A lot of people are still running BOINC and getting Gridcoins in return. The difficulty of staking has increased a lot since 2018.

by ashtonkem12 hours ago

Whenever a new coin shows up, the only interesting question is whether it’s a scam, a joke, or an earnest yet ridiculous attempt to solve a problem that blockchains in no way solve.

by Forbo11 hours ago

New? Gridcoin has been around since 2013.

by deeeeplearning9 hours ago

Not to be that guy but did anyone read the 2 sentence wiki?

"Gridcoin attempts to address and ease the environmental energy impact of cryptocurrency mining through its proof-of-research and proof-of-stake protocols"

Feels like a quarter of the comments are complaining about PoW ...

by jl27188 hours ago

Because it doesn’t ‘address’ any of that. It’ vanilla PoS. Still a good idea for other reasons.

by NonCoder12 hours ago

This is one of my favorite cryptocurrencies. The process of solving a real world problem is very useful in the long run.

by CodinM14 hours ago

I actually emailed someone at BOINC in July 2015 regarding exactly this, I see the paper came out in December 2015 with the idea. Glad to see it finally becoming a reality.

by foobarbecue14 hours ago

Gridcoin was launched on October 16, 2013 https://gridcoin.us/wiki/

by bunkydoo7 hours ago

Well, one area that Gridcoin isn't / hasn't been availed for is the fact that it (like folding@home) has projects that helped do research on COVID. Although folding@home didn't provide any monetary reward - at least Rosetta@home is a supported GRC project. Obviously the token price would need to be higher to make the break even cost of the servers & mining feasible, but it is a neat project.

by jaxslayerv11 hours ago