It's simple: After installing Gridcoin client you can leave your PC perform calculations and receive Gridcoins as a reward. Those can be traded for other virtual goods (e.g. Bitcoin), held as a storage of value or possibly spent on real goods and services in the future. The economic system is still in its infancy, be a part of it. There is much to achieve when working together!
Bitcoin was the first cryptographic payment method without a need for banks or trusted third parties. Among the useful properties of this new technology are data protection, fund security and decentralization. In order to get rewareded for computational contributions in Bitcoin, Miners invest large sums of money to get their hands on the fastest hardware available. A year ago, operating Bitcoin's global network already used up more than 15 Million US-Dollar in daily electricity. Ecologic effects resulting from this growing costs remain yet to be seen.
The abovementioned amount of energy is used by all participating computers in the Bitcoin network and directed at solving the next block (a winner is drawn approx. each 10 minutes). Imagine what might happen in case the available power was invested in research. Up until now there has been no monetary incentive to do likewise. Existing projects had to rely on volunteers. Now, do a rough estimate about the impact the unused computing power from myriads of private computers would have. E.g. diseases could be analysed faster and money for research projects could be spent on larger issues.
Gridcoin is a world-first decentralized crypto currency, that is able to direct its entire computational power at helping advance scientific progress directly. Therefore, various projects can be chosen that stem from Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC). Those projects include research on cancer, Alzheimer's, defeating malaria as well as search for extraterrestrial life (SETI). As more people join in, more of those large mysteries and real world problems of our civilization can be tackled.
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