When I first heard about the idea behind Gridcoin, I got really excited.
Proof of Work (POW) cryptocurrencies use massive amounts of electricity for their mining algorithms to secure the blockchain. When you look into the details of what these algorithms are doing, it's quite pointless. It's just a hash function looking for a certain number of 0's in the result to meet the current difficulty requirements. It's essentially a really hard computer problem with no meaning. It's important that it be hard, to ensure not just anyone can do it and add new blocks to the blockchain, but it's a bummer how wasteful it is.
Gridcoin takes a different approach by introducing Proof of Research (POR). Using BOINC (https://boinc.berkeley.edu), they've created a proof-of-doing-hard-stuff that actually improves the world.
From the BOINC website:
Use the idle time on your computer (Windows, Mac, Linux, or Android) to cure diseases, study global warming, discover pulsars, and do many other types of scientific research. It's safe, secure, and easy.
Sounds pretty cool, right?
So I went down this rabbit hole about a week and a half ago. One night I stayed up until 3am reading all kinds of posts here on Steemit about it, watching videos, and trying to compile and install the wallet. If you're a Gridcoin dev out there, I got this error trying to run the homebrew install:
==> Installing git-jiro/jiro/gridcoin dependency: Git-Jiro/jiro/qt4gridcoin ==> Downloading https://dl.bintray.com/cartr/bottle-qt4/qt4gridcoin-4.8.7_4.el_capitan.bottle.tar.gz curl: (22) The requested URL returned error: 404 Not Found Error: Failed to download resource "qt4gridcoin" Download failed: https://dl.bintray.com/cartr/bottle-qt4/qt4gridcoin-4.8.7_4.el_capitan.bottle.tar.gz Warning: Bottle installation failed: building from source.
Building from source took a long time (though I see this issue is being discussed in the forum). It's also confusing figuring out how to get the BOINC system installed and running correctly.
You have to sign up for BOINC Stats at https://boincstats.com/en/bam/projects/ and you have to use the same account information for the various projects you want to support (which you also have to sign up for individually).
They have some cool graphs to track your progress:
The two projects I'm starting with so far are:
World Community Grid
If you want to join, here's my recruiter link which gives me a badge: https://join.worldcommunitygrid.org?recruiterId=1041753
Some of the projects my little laptop cranks away on include:
- Smash Childhood Cancer
- Help Stop TB
- Mapping Cancer Markers
How cool is that? My spare CPU cycles are helping scientists work to discover cures for Cancer, Zika, and AIDs!
The fact that my computer can actually help participate in one of the largest scientific experiments in the history of humanity is super exciting to me. The Large Hadron Collider is the largest machine in the world and produces ~25 petabytes of data per year slamming particles together to search for the fundamental nature of our universe.
My little computer is helping!
So back to Gridcoin. The way this works is for each project you sign up for, you have to join the Gridcoin team for that project. Then, when you run BOINC on your computer to work on these projects, it counts towards the Gridcoin team totals. The Gridcoin wallet knows about your work because it asks you for the email address you used when you signed up for those BOINC projects. Gridcoin then stores that information on the blockchain through what's called a Superblock which happens every day or so. In reality, going from install to rewards took me well over a week.
This is not a get-rich-quick opportunity.
When I got everything up and running, I had no way of knowing if things were correct. There are so many details to get right and the wallet tells you all kinds of things about your staking weight and time for rewards that aren't very accurate estimates.
It said things like that for days. I thought something might be broken, so I've been commenting on various #gridcoin threads here on Steemit and even jumped into IRC to ask some question there.
Just today, I finally got my first reward block!
Hurray! Yeah, it's less than $1 worth of value at today's prices, but that's not the point!
(At least, that's what I keep telling myself.)
I'd love to have the price of Gridcoin moon, but right now it's barely in the top 100 with a market cap that puts it in 99th place:
I was thinking of doing a full onboarding post for how to get everything set up and running, but for now I'll just direct you to the Gridcoin website getting started guide. There are also quite a few great getting started posts here on Steemit if your search for them.
Getting started with a Mac is a bit difficult at the moment, so ping me if you get stuck, and I can hopefully provide some support or find someone who can help. The main thing I needed was patience. From start to my first block was over a week and sometimes I had to pause the work because my computer CPU or memory was taxed a bit while it's running.
It's all worth it though because, It's Science!
If you do get involved in Gridcoin, let me know what you think. I may increase my stash in the future because I like the idea of my cryptocurrency holdings adding value to a project which is actually helping improve the world.
Luke Stokes is a father, husband, business owner, programmer, and voluntaryist who wants to help create a world we all want to live in. Visit UnderstandingBlockchainFreedom.com