The use of blockchain technology in scientific research was highlighted in a recent article in the journal “Chem”. Researchers associated with Allchemy, a company specializing in AI and computational synthesis, studied the use of blockchain computing resources to simulate chemical reactions that may have occurred during the formation of life on early Earth. The use of blockchain resources through the Golem protocol allowed for complex chemical modeling, generating synthetic reactions and possible chemical interactions that could have contributed to the origin of life.
The project calculated over 4.9 billion “plausible prebiotic reactions” from over 3.7 billion simulated molecules. The team turned to Golem, a blockchain protocol that allows people to rent out their computers for conducting complex calculations. According to researchers, the primary advantage of using blockchain-based resources was the cost, as renting similar resources from Amazon could have been twice as expensive. In addition, the use of blockchain computing saved time, as assembling the model took only about two months compared to a minimum of six months to purchase the hardware for the calculations.
The resulting network, named the Network of Early Life, was immense, according to the paper. Ultimately, several hundred reactions were found to be self-replicating, providing a promising foundation for further scientific research. However, Soubhik Deb, a researcher studying blockchain technologies at the University of Washington, pointed out challenges related to privacy and security, suggesting that blockchain-based resources are more vulnerable to adversarial scenarios and may have privacy concerns.
In summary, the complexities of digitally modeling chemical reactions can be alleviated by using blockchain-based resources, though there are challenges in terms of privacy and security that need to be addressed.