Bitcoin has come under fire lately, because of how much energy is used in its mining process. The waste of energy is one of the biggest arguments for proof-of-stake protocols. Intel thinks it has a solution and is seeking to harness the wasted power to serve another purpose at the same time.
Intel recently filed a patent for a kind of Blockchain system that can utilize the energy generated from proof-of-work crypto mining for genetic data sequencing.
Inventors explain that by having miners do two jobs at once, both normal crypto mining as well as nucleobase sequencing, the energy is being better used.
Intel goes on to explain, “The present disclosure, by contrast [to traditional Bitcoin mining] involves a Blockchain protocol which, when implemented in a Blockchain system, enables miners to accomplish additional useful work while generating proofs of work (POWs) for new blocks. In particular, as described in greater detail below, miners determine sequences of nucleobases when generating POWs. And since a miner accomplishes additional useful work while generating a POW, the POW may be referred to as a ‘multipurpose POW,’ and the work to create the POW may be referred to as ‘multipurpose POW operations.”
According to the patent application, the SMP will use a nucleobase sequencing unit to establish the order of nucleobases in individual samples. Then, results will be verified by the POW before being permanently added to their Blockchain.
The SMP will be used for genetic data sequencing purposes, specifically to figure out the sequence of nucleobases in a nucleic acid (DNA, for example). The physical traits of a plant, animal or person can be discovered, based on the order of its nucleobases.
Ned Smith and Rajesh Poornachandran, two Intel inventors, share how their project addresses the problem of energy waste in cryptocurrency POW mining in the patent application that was submitted. The application states that Intel’s SMP would use the energy spent by crypto miners generating POW to determine nucleobase sequences, for which the results of this sequencing would offer many benefits for society.
“Possibly leading to improved prevention of cancer and other diseases, improved understanding of biological ecosystems, improved tracking of populations and pathology, etc.”
Gridcoin, another form of cryptocurrency, is actually doing something similar, and has been for years. Gridcoin uses the BOINC (Berkely Open Infrastructure for Network Computing) system, which allows volunteers to join their computers with a cloud computing network to solve huge scientific problems.
With proof that this idea can work, we may see a lot of companies teaming up with cryptocurrency minors to accomplish major tasks.