I just learned about BitCoins' existence last 2 weeks.

At first, I thought BitCoins could be used to process human scientific problems. I know it is not computing any really useful thing right now. I wonder if someone has thought about this? (I mean, in the scientific community and BitCoins community). Maybe integrate Grid computing with BitCoins processing?

Or, due to the nature of the block solving algorithm in Bitcoins, whose purpose is solely to verify length of processing, it cannot solve anything useful. Could someone confirm this?


  • I'm not sure I understand the question here. I think you are asking if the Bitcoin protocol could have been designed to solve scientific problems as part of the proof of working involving in mining? (i.e. could there be a Bitcoin alternative that has a proof of work related to scientific computing?) Commented Apr 25, 2013 at 20:17
  • Also, I would avoid the word "useful" as many would argue the mining the blockchain is quite a useful activity in and of itself. Commented Apr 25, 2013 at 20:18
  • @DavidOgren even more useful Works fine as is.
    – Nick ODell
    Commented Apr 25, 2013 at 22:18
  • Yep, agreed. I think that dup that was found is a great answer. I just had a reaction to the original "I know it is not computing anything really useful right now". David Schwartz's answer to the dup was exactly what I wanted to say, but in more detail and better words than I could have managed. Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 16:20
  • You are right. I put it that way, thinking it would be a waste of resources to do only hashes, but missed the point the hashes help secure the transactions. Thank you for your comments and the dup question.
    – Cam
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 16:54

1 Answer 1


Bitcoin mining calculation is simply double SHA256 hashing and has no other known application.

The hashing algorithm is highly unlikely ever to change, although there are other digital cryptocurrencies that use another mining algorithm. Litecoin, for example, uses scrypt hashing in place of sha256.

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