Gridcoin can lower electricity and hardware costs, at the same time can allow to deliver more compute power to BOINC projects.
Charles in Canada and Gerhard in Germany are kindred spirits. They both run, by chance, identical BOINC dedicated rigs each with four GPUs of GTX 1080 class or close. Each rig consumes one kWh of energy. One difference is Charles started one year earlier. Another difference is their spendings... Costs and prices are in USD.
In Canada 1 kWh costs $0.12 and hardware prices are ~20% cheaper than in Germany
In Germany 1 kWh costs $0.35
One GPU delivers over the year one ‘conventional’ compute power unit. Over the period of 3 years Charles’ costs are $6204.8 while Gerhard’s are $11598 – almost twice higher mostly due to high electricity costs. Together they have delivered 28 compute power units.
Now lets consider a second scenario, where Gerhard gives up on his individual BOINC stats (similar to as pool members do) and will use GRC to optimise costs and compute output. Instead of spending on hardware and energy, he buys gridcoins from Charles, allowing Charles to expand his crunching capabilities. Assuming USD/GRC rate at 0.125, through cooperation they save almost 4000 USD and deliver over 20% more compute power to scientific projects. Final balance depends on the exchange rate and amount of GRC Charles would agree to sale.
At USD/GRC = 0.125 each saves close to $2000, although Gerhard will end up with 31200 GRC more than in the first scenario and Charles with 31200 GRC less.
Due to up to 4 times higher energy prices in some parts of the world than in others, and also differences in hardware costs:
it is likely that for many members of the community direct crunching may never be profitable
for most Europeans, buying GRC instead of hardware may overall increase compute output of the Gridcoin network, while saving them (us) money
Gridcoin can lower electricity and hardware costs, at the same time can allow to deliver more compute power to BOINC projects. I think many of us are so focused on running own hardware, that we loose from the sight above Gridcoin application / role. Cost balancing is impossible with BOINC credits, very difficult with FIAT money, but natural and straightforward with Gridcoin.
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There are several simplifications, still I expect above conclusions are valid and to some extent not only for dedicated crunchers but also for idle power users. One ommitted fact is millions of GRCs already held by early adopters, staking / inflation / block reward income is not taken into account either.
There are, however, also possible some improvements to the system, for example Charles instead of selling some GRCs may allow Gerhard to remotely use one of his rigs and receive GRCs as a payment; this way Gerhard could retain his BOINC account and run same computations cheaper.