If you have any more questions feel free to ask me or check out the Gridcoin website https://gridcoin.us
Note: I help work on the gridcoin.us website and have ~5000 Gridcoin, so I may be biased in my view of the coin :)
The Wikipedia article says:
“Gridcoin attempts to address and ease the environmental energy impact of cryptocurrency mining through its proof-of-research and proof-of-stake protocols, as compared to the proof of work system used by Bitcoin.”
I don’t see this implementation as having any relevance to cryptocurrency mining in general. Hopefully you can find a way, but the Wikipedia statement seems inaccurate.
> I don’t see this implementation as having any relevance to cryptocurrency mining
That's why a lot of people refer to running BOINC to get Gridcoin as "crunching" instead of mining to help distinguish it
For cryptocurrency noobs: the word "oracle" while seeming to be a buzzword that tries to provide some technical legitimacy, actually means "a node with authority", which basically goes against the whole point of cryptocurrency (decentralization).
Move on, nothing to see here. Disappointed that this reached HN frontpage (and wikipedia).
The alternative was previously flooding every project and downloading a massive gigabytes of data from the projects. It wasn't maintainable and a project left from the large amount of bandwidth it used up. As Gridcoin grew, it became a larger and larger issue. As well, some projects are now requiring tokens to access the stats (for GDPR reasons), so for some project, it became impossible to reward them without anything like this
> ...seeming to be a buzzword that tries to provide some technical legitimacy...
I'd also note that most things about Gridcoin usually doesn't use the term oracle (uses scrapers instead). I was using it here since I thought it would be a term more here were familiar with
Anything that can only be done with some degree of centralization should just use a PostgreSQL database instead, no point in using a blockchain.
> ...single entity that you must trust...
It's not a single oracle. There are currently 6 that independently run and gather the same stats. The wallet compares each of those independent oracle's data to each other and makes sure it matches. There will almost certainly be more oracles in the futures
> Anything that can only be done with some degree of centralization should just use a PostgreSQL database instead, no point in using a blockchain.
You get more resiliency in running it through a blockchain. You would go from oracles having to coordinate in a tricky way to manipulate stuff to now being able to having a database where they could somewhat easily directly change balances, stop things from running, ect.
A blockchain has some degree of centralization. For instance, how the very first peers found in blockchains is fairly centralized and relies on a lot of hardcoded nodes or servers. Now you can also seek out some connection too manually if you really want to, but most* have decided not to do that and accepted the trade off. Everything has a degree of centralization. It's not an all or nothing proposition. It is where you want to move on the balance of completely centralization to decentralized
* Partly because many aren't aware of this, but it still applies to those that are aware too
I didn't say "single". I'm out of this convo.
Further, there's also more resiliency. If the oracles somehow broke or conspired and all said everyone did zero work, the network would still run. Now granted it would not be great that only previously pending research and PoS rewards would be given out, but you could still send coins, run polls, etc.
 https://main.gridcoinstats.eu/address/ (excluding the very largest one (the foundation) because it's multisig and can't stake. In its case it would take 1000 days to reach)
The market does tolerate that now
Today you wouldnt use a new blockchain you would just issue an erc20 token with an oracle server having an admin key for distribution. You could have people merkle mine to accumulate a stake, but this is primarily to keep the “crypto/computational” branding for that audience, as the oracle aspect would still be centralized
The closest I've seen to a useful PoW coin is one which relied in intel SGX to prove that the work done was useful and honest, but of course the central root of trust is really Intel's SGX in that case.
This isn't true. There are an infinite number of inputs that result in the same solution for bitcoin (or any hash)
There's loads of examples of this in the bitcoin network whenever there's been a fork and eventually orphaned blocks.
In fact one could argue that encryption without requiring infinite bandwidth or computation requires finite difficulty in math puzzles.
So our current approach to encryption is fundamentally vulnerable to (vastly) more powerful adversary computers. Only things like quantum cryptography break free of that limitation, by changing the ground rules.
This is obviously not my area of expertise, but I wonder if there is any way to make more efficient but still useful computational questions about protein folding. For example, if we try to fold just part of a protein (only 100 or so amino acids, say) and do it at a much lower fidelity of simulation, is the result still helpful?
The logic around only accepting a block if you previously saw a signed hash is vulnerable to sybil attacks. An attacker could run thousands of nodes on the p2p network, never relay anyone else's signed hashes, steal the proof-of-works from completed blocks and then broadcast signed hashes of its own blocks with the stolen pows and then broadcast those blocks. Many users might find themselves connected to only nodes run by the attacker and would get tricked into accepting the attacker's chain.
The proof-of-work not depending on the blockchain state means that a miner could queue up lots of complete proof-of-works and then mint a ton of blocks with them all at once to do a 51% attack.
Any solution to this is either going to be centralized or look like proof-of-stake, and at that point, the proof-of-work is extra and not actually load-bearing at all.
To try to reduce the centralization, there is a system of oracles that gathers the stats from each project and the nodes verify that the oracles match each other. As well, each project only consists of 1/18th of the rewards  from research and there's also new coins rewarded for just staking, so if a project acts up, they wouldn't be able to largely manipulate coin supply.
If you have any more questions about it, feel free to ask me
>to get enough to stake regularly to earn their rewards
Reward paid in, let me guess, more coins. self fueling like most other coins. Thats not a real usecase
>because they believe in the coin
so it has religion-like properties, awesome /s not a use case
>create a service that accepts GRC and offers assistance to researchers for setting up a BOINC project
so its used as a medium of exchange which boils down to the price tag it has.
you could just pay someone with normal money
no one would want to be paid in gridcoin unless one gets overpaid. Obviously this is also not a use case.
> Reward paid in, let me guess, more coins. self fueling like most other coins. Thats not a real usecase
It's also worth noting that you don't have to go through it if you use a pool, and there's work on making it not require pools if you don't want to start out with any Gridcoin. If you look up Gridcoin and "Manual rewards claim" you'll find some of the discussion about it.
> so it has religion-like properties, awesome /s not a use case
I was thinking more in terms of some of the reasons why Gridcoin's developers have Gridcoin - not necessarily advocating for others to do the same. I should have clarified that I didn't think this was a use case
I should also mention that having Gridcoin helps you in polls. Gridcoin has a system of polls and the polls are weighted by how much work you do in BOINC and how many coins you have. Note that it's your amount of those before a poll so you can't try to gain more influence after learning of a poll. It of course has its own issues and discussions about how or if votes should be weighted
I see using it a currency backed by scientific work is already something that makes using it unique and can make people interested in accepting it and use it. I see that you don't view it the same way, but that's okay too
As well, here's one thing that may or may not usecase per se, but it is something a that's different from most cryptos in use of the coin itself. It's nice feature that only a one or maybe a handful other coins  called sidestaking. With it you can send any % of your staking rewards to other addresses in the coinbase transaction. So you could for instance use it to donate to BOINC projects that accept Gridcoin every time you stake (and people already do that). Or you could send it to a friend when you stake or anyone really. You can send to multiple addresses every time you stake with different % for each (up to 6 before it has to cycle through them on each stake) to. On the flip side, accepting Gridcoin means you can also accept sidestakes (at least for things like donations)
 Pinkcoin is the only other one I know of and could find (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTuM69Lgd5o). Looking it up just brings me mostly to Gridcoin stuff
Sorry to rain on your parade but this is utter nonsense. Its not backed by anything. Words have meanings and you cant just use an existing word to describe some different imaginary concept. There is no such thing as baking "money" with past work. The benefit of past work is already "used", it can not somehow hold value for the rest of time. If you calculate the larges know prime number that number does in no way have or hold the value of work you put in to get it. the number is in fact worthless once it is known.
I'm impressed what kind of nonsense people come up with and can somehow present as something valuable.
Sounds like the self fueling money printer system named gridcoin has a builtin function to donate fractions of the printed money to different addresses. literally donation by inflation - should be called stimulus lol.
> If you calculate the larges know prime number that number does in no way have or hold the value of work you put in to get it. the number is in fact worthless once it is known.
None of the projects on Gridcoin are currently for finding Prime numbers. There was one in the past, but it was removed from the whitelist per the admin's request. I also disagree with the notion prime numbers they are worthless once they are known, but I'm not going to go into that because it's not relevant here
With Gridcoin the work is meaningful after it has been done. Take for instance the biomedical research done by a bunch of projects. The proteins and the drugs they help lead to have massive impacts to a lot of people. Now it isn't something you can exchange back and forth through time obviously, but its result is something you can still see is meaningful
> literally donation by inflation
I didn't say it wasn't from inflation, but it's opposed to many making no donations at all and there still being the same amount of inflation. It's used a lot because it's convenient to setup and it doesn't result in any extra transaction fees or the like. The alternative in other coins is that people just don't end up sending anything more and just take all of the newly minted coins
> should be called stimulus lol
not going to go into this
I think continuing this conversation is not going to really result in much. I'm not sure what exactly you are looking for that you see in other cryptocurrencies. I think this is going keep going in circles.
The stimulus thing was just a joke.
I'm not looking for anything that "I see in other cryptocurrencies". I was just looking for a reason why this coins should be used by anyone. The other 9k coins are irrelevant.
There were a few businesses accepting the coins for awhile (VPN providers, there was a hosting provider for a bit, I think a stickers/mugs/tshirt website, etc.) but that seemed to have dried up by 2019. The community itself has always seemed nice/pleasant, this is not a comment on those working the coin just on it's actual viability in real life - kinda has no use beyond owning it to make and own more of it as a curiosity. When I stopped using/trying I just dumped whatever random couple hundred coins I had into a public faucet, wasn't worth the hassle of trying to cash out $10 after a year of participating.
I was also really wanting manual reward claim (the current staking method is a lottery), I think that's still in progress reading the other comments - if I'm crunching for coin, being subject to a lottery method of when I'll get "paid" is a non starter, I want to claim my work coins when I want. The sheer fact that users with large coin are encouraged to split their stakes to increase their lottery chances of winning the stake are just crap, it's heavily biased towards HODLers and people who got in around 2016 and have a million coins - basically, the coin poor are penalized, newcomers have no hope in this staking scheme. I've always thought it was a little ponzi-scheme-like to be honest.
The manual rewards claim is still in the works although there's now some more specific plans in mind  for it than there were in the past. It's on the roadmap somewhere
 See this message from Jim Owens (one of the core developers) about some of what he's thinking https://discord.com/channels/211637812968161280/338020950714.... I would normally quote this instead of making you have to join a Discord, but it's rather lengthy and part of a discussion
"Originally it wasn't mean to be paid by printing "money" but then they did exactly that because somehow they hand no fiat lying around."
Its useless development paid by useless coins for the sake of making the useless coins spendable to pay for the useless development.
A self-feeding nonsense system that happens to produce software that no one would actually want to pay for.
The whole system is only prevented from collapsing by the fact that some people hold on to the coins in hope of future profit and some may even buy them for that reason.
> Its useless development paid by useless coins for the sake of making the useless coins spendable to pay for the useless development. A self-feeding nonsense system that happens to produce software that no one would actually want to pay for.
It's community run. There isn't really a "they" deciding anything or paying for things. It's not paid for so much as compensated. Some people have done work on it without requesting any compensation. I think you think there is a more formal system in place here than there is. The only reason there is a bunch of Gridcoin lying around in that foundation address for this is because of the transition from Gridcoin-Classic to modern Gridcoin  which arguably probably shouldn't have been done the way it was, but it's too late for anyone to reverse that decision from 2014.
As with the other thread, I don't think continuing this thread will be lead to very much either.
Lastly, I just want to note that for me, the reason that some of this doesn't matter as much to me personally (not that it doesn't matter at all) is because I view Gridcoin more as an addition to the science. If Gridcoin collapsed and went to zero, I still would have done something useful with my machines and helped science. I can't say that about many other coins.
This is the same for any crypto coin. Certainly not unique to Gridcoin.
Ethereum tried to be many things mostly a decentral computer. Turned out to be a super expensive decentral computer and that it isn't really so decentral in the current version.
However its technically used this way by some people so that de-facto means it has a valid use case.
It can hardly compete against newer similar projects but thats another story.
BCH solves nothing, the larger block size may allows some more Tx but you still have 10min block times and then wait for however many confirmation blocks you want. Not exactly how I imagine p2p cash is supposed to work.
and if the throughput would reach the new max with the new block size it would suffer exploding fees just like the "main" bitcoin. It does not scale better it just has a higher limit not one that would allow any meaningful throughput to use it as a global p2p cash system. no one has it to use it as p2p cash. Everyone has it to sell it for profit later on.
Help Take the Fight to COVID-19 with BOINC and Folding@Home - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22658139 - March 2020 (61 comments)
Gridcoin: Rewarding Scientific Distributed Computing - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16031912 - Dec 2017 (55 comments)
BOINC – Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12524921 - Sept 2016 (21 comments)
BOINC: Compute for Science - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10205904 - Sept 2015 (11 comments)
Help advance science while mining cryptocurrency - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8102623 - July 2014 (1 comment)
Separately, would it be possible to change the submission link to something with a little more information such as gridcoin.us? I have been lurking for a few months and I notice that you have changed some links in the past. Not sure what the guidelines are for changing links, so let me know if me that's not something you think is needed or can do
If it's a novel scientific problem it won't be all of these. An interesting exception is prime numbers. Primecoin  has a useful proof-of-work: it finds Cunningham chains of primes.
If you don't like the energy consumed by a proof of work, you should probably use something else like proof of stake. Any clever idea to try and steer the computational power to SETI@home or protein folding won't have the critical qualities of most cryptocoins.
IMO, that makes it similar to Difficulty (and the related target) in Bitcoin's POW scheme.
Reconsidering (briefly) now, I think it can be done.
EDIT: Anyone using an online wallet is already compromising trustlessness. Heck, using common software packages that you didn’t personally inspect is also compromising trustlessness. But does this matter in practicality? Yes (such online wallets and even sometimes soft wallets have been compromised or have lost coins occasionally), but not enough to necessarily get rid of all of the utility of cryptocurrency.
If mining an invalid chain is "useful" in some way, the security guarantee disappears.
I thought that the security of a block-chain comes primarily from the difficulty of rewriting the chain of blocks.
To do that you will have to fork and recompute the chain from some point back in history (say 5 blocks ago).
This puts at a disadvantage since the rest of the network is ahead of you by 5 blocks and will continue adding new blocks.
So you will need a lot of computational power to rewrite history and also overtake the rest of the network.
Why would some additional reward for mining (by solving a useful problem) break this?
With a "wasteful" PoW, miners would not attempt this as they would hemorrhage money doing that.
Withe a "useful" PoW, miners could have an outside funding source like some institute that pays for protein folding. The would not lose money in their attempt to produce a minority chain (in proportion to the "usefulness" of their PoW)
The external reward by itself provides no competitive advantage. It reduces everyone's costs by the same amount.
Rewriting history still remains difficult.
So what am I missing here?
Both are extending their respective chains as fast as they can. A bad-agent, who wishes to double-spend has to rewrite history, and therefore has to start a few step behind the good agent. To succeed, the bad agent has to overtake the good agent.
Even if both have the same speed (i.e. 50% computational power each), the good agent will sill be a few steps ahead of the bad agent, and the system is secure. If the bad agent is faster(51%), then eventually it will overtake the good agent breaking security.
This is true even if the cost of computation is zero (e.g. the Govt. pays for all your computation cost). As long as the bad agent doesn't have 51% or more of the computational power, the system is secure.
Even with less than 50% hashrate, he is bound to find a few blocks in a row from time to time. Keep in mind that he can run the attack as often as he wants. This is why the recommendation is to wait for 6 blocks - it is very unlikely (not impossible) that somebody with a 20% hashrate ever finds 6 blocks in a row.
When an attack is successful, everybody will mine on the attackers chain - including the honest miners. The attackers chain is valid after all, it just has a different valid transaction set.
The significance of the 51% hashpower is that the attacker is guaranteed to succeed over a long-enough time horizon.
Reducing or removing the costs of mining a parallel chain (even for miners with 20% hashpower) reduces their cost to mine a parallel chain and weakens the security guarantee. If a miner can work on a side chain and get paid for protein folding at the same time, he can keep doing it without losing money on electricity. When he finally succeeds, he will also cash in the mining reward.
But I wonder why doesn't this problem also arise in the current Proof-of-Work system. A sufficiently well-funded group, with about 20% hash-rate can try to extend the current head of the blockchain by 6 fake blocks at every time. If they succeed, i.e. all 6 fake blocks are mined before the real network mines 6 real blocks, then they can publish their parallel chain with the fake transactions and it would be longer than the real chain.
This is equivalent to the expected number of coin tosses to get 6 consecutive heads, where the coin is heads with probability 1/5. Here, heads means that a fake block is mined before the corresponding real block is mined.
This number is less than 20000, which corresponds to about 6 months of time. This is expensive, but not infeasible. They just need to remain solvent until they succeed and then easily cover the costs.
People often misunderstand it to be completely secure if no attacker has more than 50% hashrate.
In reality (and as described in the whitepaper), the 51% limit is described as the state where no number of confirmations is sufficient.
If an attacker has less than 50% hashpower, you can plug in some numbers like hashpower and cost of attack and come up with a number of confirmations that is likely to be secure.
What happens if you have a coin based on "useful work" and you "solve" the problem you were hoping to solve. Now a lot of "miners" leave the network, presumably because they were only there to help solve that particular problem. Now you have a weak system, and a system subject to 51% attacks by adversarial miners, and therefore not a good money/coin.
I don't see how HN commenters (in large part) don't get this. It's the Single-responsibility Principle, just in a different context.
SAT solving is the prime candidate, because we have A LOT of NP hard problems in our day to day lives.
Weather simulations are another one, drug research is another one.
For the latter I'd argue that if we're at a point where we've erredicated all disease, we've also transcended as a society to a point where money has become obsolete.
If there is no opportunity cost for mining, there is no penalty for mining an invalid chain therefore no security.
There's some subtleties to how a cryptocoin works that aren't obvious and they're absolutely critical to making it work. Bitcoin can have competing chains of blocks that eventually get orphaned. And it's because there's this race condition while block solutions are propagated across the network. Eventually, after enough blocks the network agrees on which chain wins. But imagine if you could know how the next block would start - what its inputs would be. You could start solving that block now.
Additionally it has a Proof-Of-Research layer on top that reward the scientific research processing.
Each whitelisted project gets its chare of a set amount of Gridcoins that in minted and distributed to the individual contributors.
The amount is currently distributed equally across whitelisted project. So more project the less will be given to a potentially fraudulent project.
How each project verify the tasks is more or less up to the project to handle. The individual Boinc project has incentives to do this as they use the result in their scientific report (falls result will be bad for them).
One solution to this problem is to have multiple crunchers do the same task and compare results, if the tasks is distributed randomly then an increase in the number of equal tasks can be used to increase confidence in the result. Eg a monte carlo simulation can be bone multiple times and the result can be compared, if it is within a given threshold. (this part is the responsibility of the individual project)
Other tasks might have hard to compute result that are easy to verify for the host similar to Prof-Of-Work on other blockchains.
More Boinc project will help to decentralize the reward, limit the risk of running out of research to do, and if one malicious project by chance get whitelisted then the impact will be limited.
The contributors contribution to each project is gathers by Oracles that compares their findings and this result is committed to the superblock.
It’s ultimately a quixotic goal. So compromising a bit on mathematical decentralized trustlessness to accomplish some of the other goals of cryptocurrency while addressing the massive waste is a valid goal IMHO.
Over time, as problems come and go, I assume oracles will be added and retired, so this coin will require manual maintenance. A necessary cost of being interesting?
This is totally expected because of how the economics of mining works. If it were profitable to mine with a $5 cloud server then everybody would jump on, difficulty would increase, and it wouldn't be profitable anymore. The miners you're competing against are hobbyists with much cheaper access to compute than you, eg. they've already bought a threadripper workstation for work related purposes and they're just using the spare cycles.
...I'd settle for "break even" and have it simply pay for itself to perform the scientific work. My personal choice is to participate in the World Community Grid and I tried everything from a cloud server to a 20-core dual E5-2660v2 (rented) and even that amount of power cannot pay for it's monthly (super cheap, $75) rental fees. A laptop with an i5-3320 (something like that) cannot even pay for it's electricity use generating GRC.
Not profitable, just break even - that's all a guy like me asks for; it's more efficient if I take cold hard cash and donate it to a comparable cause than it does to run WCG nodes and expect GRC to just cover the electricity cost, ignore the hardware. I don't want to be profitable, just have any rig pay for it's electricity use - that's it. GRC cannot even cover that spread in finances.
Similar to what stonesweep said, some people have different economics. For example, I have an old computer sitting around. And my home heats by electricity in the winter. Therefore any time I need to heat my home it's 0 marginal cost to instead do mining (of any kind). IMO this is the real future of green efficiency, finding the places where the energy was already "spent" on a high value task, and add a low value task in the chain. Another example could be server farms could water cool and use waste heat for elec generation, low temp plastic melting, or residential hot water...
With Gridcoin you can participate in a number of eligible BOINC projects  and get rewards for computing on any of them. The network can add or remove projects.
There is a reason why Cloud providers do not yet have "real" HPC offerings (i.e., performance-wise), even though with all the marketing they do to appear otherwise..
I'm yet ambivalent on if it's a factor on why it hasn't been able to attract serious attention, but I've heard the argument that doing calculations that have external value outside of PoW breaks the incentive mechanisms.
To me, merge mining on Bitcoin and MEV on Ethereum are evidence against that argument, since we already have those forces in play today. So Gridcoins concept should work.
A similar thing happens with water, where people are asked not to use their sprinklers during a dry spell. They can _afford_ to buy a lot of water at the market rate, and raising the price might not even change that (besides being super unfair to someone else who then might struggle to afford even enough water to drink).
So yeah, I think it's fair for us to say as a society that turning electricity into heat in the form of bitcoin mining is a gigantic and unacceptable waste of a resource that we'd like to use for other things.
yeah, that's exactly what's happening to bitcoin for last 10 years.
> turning electricity into heat in the form of bitcoin mining is a gigantic and unacceptable waste of a resource that we'd like to use for other things
first of all, heat is a sign of inefficiency, the better bitcoin mining gets the less heat it will produce. second - it's a gigantic and unacceptable waste of resources in your opinion, personally i very much disagree and think the opposite: decentralized financial security expressed directly in terms of energy required to subvert it is the largest discovery in financial theory since the concept of money itself, it is extremely valuable.
Hi I live in a cold place! Interestingly, bitcoin mining is an electric space heater with 100% efficiency. I could theoretically heat my home. Currently I use natural gas (which emits CO2 aka a greenhouse gas). The furnace runs at 95% efficiency I think. If my electricity can be generated with less CO2 emissions than my furnace via nuclear, solar, wind, then it would be quite desirable wouldn't it? Would it be fair to say electric heaters are a giant unacceptable waste of compute?
Technically you can get greater than 100% with electric heat pumps. But you're correct if you're marginally comparing just a space heater with/or without a CPU inside it.
Also important to note that resistance heating ("100%") is in fact not the most efficient way to use electricity for warming a space. The most efficient is with a heat pump, where you're actually moving the heat from outside to inside.
GridCoin seems like an attempt to mitigate that with internal regulation — it seems like the assumption is that GridCoin commits to proof-of-work tasks that are publicly beneficial.
However, choosing a PoW algorithm is unrelated to this task (and also risks giving cosmetic satisfaction while solving nothing).
Continued habitability of planet Earth is made dramatically more likely by supplanting monetary systems which:
* encourage people to treat money like a hot potato, better swapped for cheap plastic crap
* Make wars (the absolutely King Kong of carbon emission among human activities) much less expensive at the margins by slushily funding industrial complexes.
But those things are orthogonal (and not even adjacent) to selecting an algorithm for PoW consensus.
I also want to caution against circlejerking over clean water and ozone restoration. Things on a global scale are still pretty dire; the solution is ahead of us, not behind, and it's not clear what it will be.
"Gridcoin attempts to address and ease the environmental energy impact of cryptocurrency mining through its proof-of-research and proof-of-stake protocols"
Feels like a quarter of the comments are complaining about PoW ...
If you think of electricity as fuel for computers, similar to fuel for a semi, then this scheme seems analogous to an attempt to get truck drivers to drive your stuff to it's destination at their upfront cost in exchange for an IOU that has no backing.