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Gridcoin: Helping Find Cures for Zika/Aids/Cancer and Analyzing LHC Data for Crypto? Sign Me Up!

in gridcoin •  last year

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.

BOINC

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
  • OpenZika
  • Help Stop TB
  • FightAIDS@Home
  • Mapping Cancer Markers

How cool is that? My spare CPU cycles are helping scientists work to discover cures for Cancer, Zika, and AIDs!

LHC@Home

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!

Gridcoin

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.

lies, damned lies, and statistics



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.

Big thank you to @dutch, @lennstar, @jringo, @m3rcos1ty, @encapture and others in IRC who have been answering my questions over the past week or so.

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.

Created with ChainBB to help support that project.


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

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Hey Luke,

Fantastic summary! I think you nailed it, and am stoked for you that you have staked your first block. You're a GRC man now!

I thought I'd chip in and clarify the stake weight screenshots you posted. The reason that your stake time fluctuates so heavily is due to the network weight changing. When a wallet stakes, some of its coins are moved to the staking field in on the overview tab of your wallet (this means they have just staked a block). They remain here for a while and do not participate in staking.


As a result, when a whale stakes (or a few whales in a row) a lot of coins are not actively staking for a short time. This massively reduces the network weight, and makes it a lot more likely for everyone else to stake a block.

Finally, I wanted to thank you for presenting Gridcoin how it actually is - a method to contribute to science and be reimbursed some crypto. It is not a get rich quick scheme, and it takes a lot of time and patience. If more people understood this coming into it I think we would be a lot happier as a community. Then again, for all I know GRC could skyrocket and we will all be driving Lambos next year.

Thank you for the mention too, much appreciated. Looking forward to having you around!

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Lambos all around!

Heheh. Thanks @dutch. I really appreciate the kindness and patience of the community. It's been really fun learning about this and knowing my little efforts can actually help move some science along. I too would love to see the price go up, but you're completely right. With this one, people should set their expectations correctly and realize this about more than just making a quick profit.

Now that I created my first block, I saw how my stash did get moved to Staking. That makes perfect sense how that would impact the difficulty if a few whales did that in a row. The first block was the main hurdle, I think, because my magnitude was low so even though I had interest accruing from my staking, my POR was too low for a block creation (from what I understand). Also, there was an unusual delay in Superblock creation when I first started so my account info wasn't being added right away. There's so much here to learn about and comprehend. But I'm having fun, and I'm excited to see it is actually set up correctly. :)

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You're very welcome. I only got started with GRC in May, and also found the community was exceptionally kind and patient.

For staking, your chance to stake every block is your DPOR divided by the network weight. Your DPOR is in turn the sum of your mature coins and your magnitude (if you have not just staked a block). As your coin balance grows, and your magnitude peaks (which takes about a month) you should find you'll stake more often. =)

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I had wondered for a while why staking numbers seemed to always be out of wack. Your explanation has shed some light on the subject - thanks for your detailed explanation.

Don't sweat the market cap. Ethereum ICOs are corrupting the rankings pretty badly right now since everybody's trying to get rich quick on the next one, and they get all their money up front instead of having to actually build something. And ETH tokens aren't blockchains -- they're basically just crypto kickstarters.

More useful metrics are probably CoinGecko developer rankings (we're #14) and community (we're #34). If those stay strong, eventually I think the market cap will build. We're already up significantly over where we were at the start of the year, and we still have a huge expansion waiting in the wings once we get rid of the team requirement, which I think is going to happen sooner or later.:) Lots to be optimistic about.

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Developer rankings and community is a great way to think about it! Yeah, I like that a lot. Great comment, thank you!

thanks for opening my eyes to gridcoin. seems like a great project with good intentions

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You're welcome! Thanks for checking it out.

Wow, awesome! Thanks Luke, I'm going to check this out, like you say, it's a great thing to be part of something huge, like curing a major disease, or helping sift LHC data.

Things like this make me wish I just had a super powerful, dedicated computer though. I can imagine pausing it a lot, as I try and free up RAM and processing space.

Great stuff though, I really hope it catches on, not just Gridcoin, but others to.

Congrats on another, very informative, and useful post!

Merci!

Cg

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Actually you dont need powerful hardware, I run Gridcoin on a Raspberry Pi! You can do BOINC work on PC/MAC with Windows/Linux/OSX, you can use Android phones/tablets, laptops, whatever you have pretty much except for iPhone/iPad because Apple lock them down.

Some people think its not worth it to use low power equipment, but every single result you return is one that someone else does not have to work on, so even if you can only do a little bit, its worthwhile from the humanitarian perspective.

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Very good points, I shall get on this with more than just my main PC.

Cg

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Thanks Cryptogee! I've been excited about posting this one for a week now. :)

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No worries.

Hey, I tell you the sort of post that would go down well from someone like yourself. Is how you organise all your cryptos, the ones you've got, and the ones you are planning to look at.

I'm sure you must have a system as you seem like a pretty organised type of guy! :-)

Cg

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I created the The Cryptocurrency Bank Spreadsheet 3 months ago. :)

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Awesome, I'll check that out :-)

Thanks!

Cg

Luke, Great post on Gridcoin and showing a path to enable. Have a few spare laptops and computers laying around. This seems like a fantastic way to make them useful and earn something in the process. Upvoted and resteemed

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Thanks for spreading the good word!

This is a great idea! It's awesome that they're using cryptocurrencies to benefit the future of mankind and power research. I'm all for this concept and am glad that you shared it. Hopefully your post can help slingshot it to the top of the ranks so more people can see this great project :)

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Sounds good to me. :) Thanks for checking it out.

Welcome to #gridcoin @lukestokes, you will find a friendly community here ready to help you, happy crunching :)

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Thank you. I haven't been disappointed yet!

I have been think setting this back up.

are you solo mining or on the pool also do you know if we can use old hardware.

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To add to @lukestokes's comment (if I may), you can use practically any hardware including mobile phones, R-Pis, etc. Of course, you will be able to contribute more with more powerful hardware.

For the difference between pool and solo 'mining', the payout for pool will actually be slightly lower as the pool takes a cut of your profits. The big benefits of a pool are getting set up in hours rather than days, a lot less can go wrong, and you will be paid out much more frequently (but less per payout).

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Thanks Dutch! I got the impression you could use anything also, but I've noticed some projects (like LHC@home) wanted a ton of RAM while others talk about system requirements, GPUs, etc. It's all kind of a black box to me still. Are there some things which can only be run on specific hardware or is BOINC really designed to run on anything?

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Great question actually! BOINC as a platform can run on any hardware, but individual projects have specific hardware requirements. Like you mentioned, some projects need a lot of RAM, but fortunately most don't. The most prominent split is between CPU and GPU projects. For example, SRBase only runs on CPUs, while the vast majority of Moowrap runs only on GPUs.

No matter the hardware (bar the super extreme), there will be a BOINC project you can contribute to. Hell, there are members of the Gridcoin community who have written entire articles on setting up a Raspberry Pi Gridcoin farm.

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I saw some Pi articles in my research! Funny stuff to think about farming them.

Thanks again, Dutch!

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I'm currently solo mining. I don't expect to earn much doing that, but that's okay for me. I really like the idea of my own account contributing something real that I can see graphs on and such. Gamification is fun. :)

I'm not sure about old hardware, but you can set up as many computers as you want under your account.

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I use to have bionic set up and running and earned a couple gridcoin at the time and i have been looking for something to run on a couple old gpus that just a junk to mine on. Think i will try to set it up tommorow and see how it goes

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Nice! Report back with your findings, if you think of it. I found the whole process a bit tricky, so the more people talking about their experience, the more understanding we can all have.

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will do set up cpu last night jist on pool. well was more or less just start bionic agian. gonna set up solo and gpu today will see how it goes.

Is there a number gridcoin i should have before solo

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I think the staking and proof of research are separate...but related. So it depends on how often you want to get a reward block. The more the better, but I don't know what a lower bound would be.

I would love to participate but can u elaborate or point me the article , how our computing power cure cancer

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Here is a link to the research topics of World Community Grid, one of the projects BOINC offers. There are detailed explanations of exactly what your computer is doing to help each project, and you can choose exactly what sub-project you want to support (or pick all of them).

For the sub-project mapping cancer markers:

Mapping Cancer Markers on World Community Grid aims to identify the markers associated with various types of cancer. The project is analyzing millions of data points collected from thousands of healthy and cancerous patient tissue samples. These include tissues with lung, ovarian, prostate, pancreatic and breast cancers. By comparing these different data points, researchers aim to identify patterns of markers for different cancers and correlate them with different outcomes, including responsiveness to various treatment options.

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thanks

If there good new Crypto coins like Gridcoin there always hackers. hopefully no more hacker case will be take place in here again. but i like this coin . thanks for sharing

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Yeah, it's definitely a concern. I like how BOINC has been up and running for over a decade now, so it's been battle tested quite a bit already, from what I understand.

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Well, I will try

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Gridcoin isnt new my friend, its been running for 4 years, its battle tested.

sounds interesting. I run linux but I am on a laptop that runs i3 , 4gb ram and ssd...What is the system requirement to run BOINC?

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I think each project and the individual tasks they have for that project have different system requirements, so you'll have dig in a bit to what you want to do to see if 4gb is enough to get something done.

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thanks, I'll look into it...

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Im running down these replies telling everyone I run Gridcoin on a Raspberry Pi, you can use pretty much anything except iPad/IPhone for BOINC because Apple lock them down.

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I have a rasperry pi 2, do you have any setup instructions for it?

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Sure see the links on the top of my latest post for installing and controlling https://steemit.com/gridcoin/@scalextrix/upgrading-your-gridcoin-raspberry-pi-node

Great post @lukestokes and welcome to the community!

It's great to see new faces joining in on Gridcoin.

Rest assured that you have a large and very active community to pitch ideas and questions with. We're present on many places. Our Slack channel is what I prefer the most.

Vote @sc-steemit for Witness.

Proud Supporter of the Cryptocurrency Gridcoin

Yup, pretty damn great project, given the "value" it beholds. I might get some too @lukestokes, thanks for the tip bro!

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Thanks Jan! I think this might be one of those "consciousness enlightenment" things you enjoy talking about. :)

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Ha ha, right on @lukestokes :P

Thanks Luke - You got me into GridCoin!

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Fantastic!

Ok, will do some more investigation on this, as it sounds like something that is a good idea to get on board. In order to grow as acurrency, there needs to be a goal for the coin, other then only being a coin.

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Very cool. Let me know if you get stuck or what you think of it once you start diving in. Some edges can be a little rough, but patience is the key.

What a coincidence it's 3 am and I am "going down the rabbit hole, reading all kinds of posts here on Steemit about it, watching videos, and trying to install the wallet." Very informative. Thank you!

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Hahaha! Perfect! That's how we crazy people roll, I guess. So much amazing stuff out there in the world to learn and explore.

I feel somewhat guilty because I have simply bought Gridcoin and am holding it, but I have not gotten further involved in the project. A lot of what's going on there is way over my head.

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Ah, don't feel guilty at all! The project needs investors and researchers. As more investors jump in, more people will be incentivized to become researchers which then gets more done and helps everyone. Thanks for doing something important!

Hey @lukestokes, what specs does your computer use? It is the same for the witness node? By the way witness vote given.

I think I would mine to, but I have only laptops for use. This is why I'm asking.

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I'm currently just running this on my 2013 macbook air.

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I run Gridcoin on a Raspberry Pi 2! No expensive kit required, just use what you have available for BOINC, except for iPad/iPhone, Apple lock it down too much.

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Ok, sounds reasonable.

This is a very nice thing to do.Thanks for sharing!

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Thanks for reading!

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Anytime!

Very cool!

Great summary! Thanks for sharing with your large audience of followers! Resteemed & Upvoted.

Fully comprehansive effort thanks for sharing

Great finally, a crypto that's working on health and disease eradication. being a pharmacist by training and having had both hospital and industrial practice the need to increase R&D cannot be overemphasized and to have cross collaboration across multiple entities is great. One can be rest assured the project is not profit oriented with over priced medications going to the market but with the primary aim of community development and improvement in the quality of life of man kind.
Loving it

Great Post!

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Thanks!

This coin should be supported @lukestokes
It has a very noble purpose.

Hey, great post! We have featured your article in our weekly newsletter! Keep up the good work, and let us know if you have any concerns.

Join us on the science-trail Discord

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Thanks!

Wow, what an interesting crypto currency is now being issued! It is necessary to learn more about it.

I bought some coins but none has arrived at my wallet, everything shows on the blockchain and I contacted them, they said I should reach out to the slack team, but I tried connecting with them on the discord, so I am not to sure where I went wrong. Any help or suggestion, I am using eobot as my wallet for the time been, I don't know if that is the issue

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Where did you buy them? Did you buy from an exchange? Eobot looks like they sell mining contracts. Did you buy crypto or a mining contract?

This sounds great. I'll definitely read more about it.

It also reminded me of primecoin. The project hasn't been updated for years though.

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Yeah, Gridcoin is number 14 on coingecko for development, its very active

I like the idea of my cryptocurrency holdings adding value to a project which is actually helping improve the world.

This is great! I jumped in and started staking as well. There definitely is a process to setting this up but so far so good! (no pun intended)

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Cool! Don't expect too much though. The inflation for this coin is set to 1.5%, so you're not going to get rich any time soon via staking.

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Yeah. No real expectations. It is cool to see you are helping solve something that is beneficial even if just a minor part and the way they add gamification is fun. Plus ended up using Bittrex for the first time to get a little bit of coin over to my wallet. Each step is increasing my knowledge a little.

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