A team of chemists turned to blockchain technology to generate a network of chemical reactions to identify the molecules present in the formation of life on Earth.
This study attempts to identify the earliest forms of metabolism produced on Earth without enzymes, in a notable use case for blockchain outside of finance. This was done by redesigning the distributed ledger to generate chemical reactions rather than solving complex mathematical problems to mine digital currencies.
The researchers, drawn from several world-class universities, began their work with water, ammonia, and methane, molecules predicted to be present during Earth’s formation. Scientists use smart contracts to establish ground rules for interactions between molecules and increase the validity of their research.
The network, which experts have dubbed the Network for Early Life (NOEL), generated 11 billion responses at launch, of which researchers found only 4.9 billion to be “plausible.” After further narrowing down, more than 100 reactions were found to be self-replicating. This is a necessary function for the creation of life as we know it.
Since only a small number of reactions have been shown to self-replicate, lead researcher Bartosz Grzybowski argues that the concept may have arisen late in the Earth’s formation, rather than early. ing.
“Our results mean that self-amplification is a rare event because only small molecules are present,” Grzybowski said. “I don’t think this kind of self-replication would have worked on early Earth, before larger molecular structures somehow formed.”
For blockchain-based research, we relied on Allchemy’s computer experts to distribute computations across hundreds of computers in the spirit of decentralization. Computers contributing to the research will earn digital currency in exchange for computational time, reducing the cost and time for researchers to generate her 100 billion reactions.
“Developing countries don’t have access to supercomputers, so it’s very difficult to even compete with these universities,” Grzybowski said. “But if you can distribute computing this way at a fraction of the cost, you can give other people a chance to play.”
Grzybowski believes that reusing distributed ledgers and integrating them with artificial intelligence (AI) can open up new use cases beyond non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and decentralized finance (DeFi). I am.
Blockchain-based research gains momentum
Beyond finance, researchers are exploring new utilities for blockchain, with increasing trends in the fields of healthcare and medicine. A South Korean engineer used blockchain to track the spread of bedbugs in the country, mapping hotspots with an interactive map.
New use cases have been identified in several areas, including criminal investigation, humanitarian aid, logistics, and real estate. At the core of all utilities are blockchain’s cost-saving, transparent, and immutable properties, which experts say can improve processes for companies that incorporate the technology.
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