The Folding@home project is currently researching a cure for the corona virus Sars-CoV-2 and is now more powerful than the seven best supercomputers in the world put together. The reason: many people – including crypto-miners – are making their computing power available. This project shows what decentralized networks are really all about: creating concrete applications in which everyone can participate.
Folding@home (F@H) is a volunteer computing project developed by Stanford University that simulates protein folding for various diseases in order to accelerate the progress of medical research and thus the development of new drugs.
Anyone can install the software on their computer and make their computing power available. Without additional computing power, the simulation of protein folding would take much longer – several centuries.
Crypto-Miners help in the fight against the Coronavirus
When the Sars-CoV-2 corona virus broke out around the world, Folding@home needed more computing power than ever. Many people got involved in the project to stop the corona pandemic – so many, that Folding@home now has a computing power of 470 petaflops.
This is more than the two most powerful computers in the world combined. Many Bitcoin miners, who normally focus their computing power on the mining of virtual currencies, are now also making their capacities available for the research project.
Blockchain depends on specific applications
The Folding@home project is a first-class example of what is possible with a decentralized computing structure and how we can shape the world together – just as we know it from the Blockchain.
Decentralized networks are not about money flows. They are about applications for our society which benefit everyone, which make all market participants equal (including customers) and in which everyone can participate. It is such applications that make the Blockchain interesting for us. Even if many see it differently: Currencies are a means to an end in operating these applications – and not the essence of Blockchain technology.
Folding@home and other projects show the true potential of decentralized networks
Two years ago, there were a whole series of similar examples like the Folding@home project: the Interone agency, for example, used crypto mining to help the homeless by installing the app called Heat4Help on their smartphones. The computing power of the smartphones was generated into coins of a crypto currency and transferred to the donation account of a homeless association.
Most recently, the City of Vienna had launched the so-called Kultur-Token: A system based on a Blockchain that rewards city residents for saved CO2 with the tokens. The residents can then use these tokens in free tickets for various cultural institutions.
And the New York artist collective “Snark Art” is currently working on digital art projects based on Blockchain. These will be broken down into Non Fungible Tokens, thus turning viewers into active participants.
In our opinion, all these examples show one of the real advantages of decentralized networks like the Blockchain: That each person can actively participate in specific applications that serve the welfare of society.