Gridcoin is an open-source cryptocurrency which securely rewards you for donating your computing power to the BOINC volunteer computing grid. It features a unique Proof-of-Research protocol and is home to 30+ jobs spanning a variety of scientific areas.
Gridcoin was launched on October 16th, 2013 by Rob Halförd, following an announcement on CryptocurrencyTalk public forum. When Gridcoin was first launched, it used a hybrid Proof-of-Work which allowed each computer to spend half of the time trying to find the next block in the blockchain, and half of the time contributing to science. This version of Gridcoin is known as Gridcoin-Classic.
In October of 2014, a year later after Gridcoin was launched, Rob Halförd released an updated protocol to Gridcoin, dubbed Gridcoin-Reseach. Coins were swapped from Classic to Research at a rate of 1 to 10 with a 6 month conversion window, from October 2014 to April 2015. The new Gridcoin protocol, which is still in use today, uses a Proof-of-Research algorithm, where nearly all the computing power and energy goes to science related work instead of securing the blockchain.
BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing) is a platform that enables users all over the world to help solve important scientific and mathematical problems. BOINC network combines individuals’ computers together to form a supercomputing grid for scientific research.
BOINC was developed at the Space Sciences Laboratory at UC Berkeley, and launched on April 10, 2002. BOINC was created to build upon the success of [email protected] launched in 1999, and expand the platform model to other scientific problems that require massive computing power.
BOINC supports a wide range of research in areas as diverse as mathematics, linguistics, medicine, molecular biology, climatology, environmental science, and astrophysics, among others.
Given the current global situation with Coronavirus, BOINC network has been hard at work on helping the fight with COVID-19. Recent announcement that BOINC program known as [email protected] successfully modeled atomic scale structure of an important coronavirus protein weeks before it was measured in the lab.
Learn more about BOINC:
BOINC official website
Help Take the Fight to COVID-19 with BOINC and [email protected] - posted on March 13, 2020
The Gridcoin network is secured using Proof-of-Stake instead of Proof-of-Work, but with the modification that the Proof-of-Stake reward gets bigger depending on how much research you do compared to your fellow researchers.
Gridcoin is minted when computing power is donated to projects on the Gridcoin project whitelist. From the Gridcoin white paper:
“The Gridcoin blockchain genesis block was mined using a proof-of-work protocol on October 16th, 2013. Gridcoin continued as a proof-of-work blockchain until October 11th, 2014, when it forked onto a proof-of-stake protocol to secure the blockchain based on the number of active GRC on the Gridcoin network. Gridcoin has evolved through several iterations of proof-of-stake and incentive structures. Currently, proof-of-stake is used to secure the Gridcoin blockchain while the primary incentive structure is based on processing power contributed to approved BOINC projects.”
Gridcoin has been billed as an environmentally friendly cryptocurrency since its early days. The Gridcoin developers decided to go with the new alternative at the time – Proof-of-Stake (PoS) after seeing the huge electrical demands required by the Bitcoin blockchain. The computing power to secure the blockchain is minimal while performing the same blockchain conesus rules to validate and add new transactions.
New coins can be generated only by the unique Proof-of-Research mechanism implemented by Gridcoin team. Via this method, a user that is contributing its hashing power to a whitelisted project on the BOINC network receives GRC coins proportional to the amount of work done by the user. Gridcoin has a set of 30 whitelisted BOINC projects which users can vote upon to remove or include in the list. Any contribution to these projects from a GRC network node will reward that node with a certain amount of Gridcoins.
Gridcoin’s inflation is a bit more complex than that of most other cryptocurrencies because of the former’s unique, hybrid consensus algorithm. The over inflation rate of Gridcoin is 6.5%, with 5% of that for research computational power contribution, and 1.5% for staking and securing the Gridcoin network.
Learn more about Gricoin:
Useful application of blockchain technology - One of the main counter arguments against Bitcoin is the wasteful energy consumption just for verifying transactions and generating new coins. Gridcoin stands out as a practical application of Blockchain technology to utilize the massive computational power behind such networks for scientific projects.
Unique consensus mechanism - Gridcoin uses one of a king Proof-of-Research mechanism developed in 2014, where a user is rewarded for the amount of computational power, and scientific research output, produced by it in one of the whitelisted BOINC projects.
Multiple ways to participate - Another benefit is that Gricoin provides multiple ways to participate in the network. Solo Crunching method allows you to participate in the BOINC program and stake your GRC coins at the same time, but it does require an upfront balance of GRC coins to do so. Pool crunching allows you to contribute to BOINC projects and get rewarded for it without having any GRC. And lastly it can be used in Investor Mode just like any cryptocurrency, with the ability to stake your GRC to secure the network.
Gridcoin team has provided in-depth guides on how to get started with GRC and contribute to the BOINC network.