A Gamer’s Guide To Blockchain And Crypto

Not so long ago, we explained what your computer is really worth, and we touched on how the Salad application taps into the idle computing power of a gaming PC. In this guide, we want to shed some light on the technology that makes all this possible: the Ethereum blockchain network. We’ll start from the basics, expanding on what cryptocurrencies are, and providing background information about how Salad uses your PC to make you money.

The Origin Of Bitcoin, Blockchain, And Cryptocurrency

The story begins in 2008 with the enigmatic Satoshi Nakamoto and his Bitcoin white paper. Satoshi had a vision for a true digital currency. Unlike PayPal, which is just USD transferred online, Bitcoin would be an actual money supply native to the internet. To facilitate this, Bitcoin would rely on direct peer-to-peer digital transactions.

Instead of being secured by a national bank like the FED or Swiss National Bank, these transactions would be secured distributively by fellow network participants. To this day, we don’t know who the true Satoshi is, but we’re reasonably sure it’s not this guy living in California.

Almost immediately after publishing the white paper, engineers and other pioneers built the Bitcoin network, but it remained unused for two years. In 2010, the famous first real world bitcoin transaction took place. Someone paid 10,000 Bitcoin for two pizzas that were delivered to their front door, kicking off the viability of Bitcoin as a functional currency.

Just like you can be relatively assured that 15–20 dollars will get you an edible pizza delivered to your house, you could now believe that cryptocurrencies would guarantee the same. This belief fueled early adoption and a community rallied around Bitcoin, effectively birthing a new monetary system.

Fast forward to 2013, Bitcoin’s usage has widely expanded beyond pizza delivery. However, a young kid named Vitalik Buterin became excited about the opportunity for Bitcoin to grow further. He proposed an alteration to the code of Bitcoin to extend its functionality past digital cash and become a platform for distributed applications.

(Un)fortunately, this was rejected by the Bitcoin community, and lead him to start his own project dubbed Ethereum. Today, Ethereum is among the top 3 cryptocurrencies by value. His premise was that by building a scripting language on top of Bitcoin, you could execute a smart contract.

The building block for a distributed computing network

These act like normal contracts, except they execute automatically when the conditions are met. For example, imagine you’re renting an apartment and have to pay a security deposit to get the keys. You’d pay a landlord and wait until the lease begins to actually receive the key (hoping that everything turns out ok). With a smart contract, so long as you pay the deposit, you receive the key upon the start date of the contract, otherwise you get refunded instantly.

The power to execute these smart, guaranteed contracts enabled Ethereum to become a kind of platform, or even an operating system upon which many parts of the blockchain ecosystem rely — one of many reasons that Salad chose to support the Ethereum network.

So What The Heck Does “Blockchain” And “Crypto” Mean?

With the history out of the way, we can dive into technical aspects, definitions, and what-not. So here’s the top two questions we get asked when talking about blockchain technology:

  1. How do you support a blockchain network?
  2. How does a GPU “mine” for cryptocurrency?

Luckily, these questions are closely linked, so let’s knock out two birds with one answer.

Miners in a blockchain network secure and verify blockchain transactions. Every miner uses their GPU (and sometimes CPU) to solve a cryptographic puzzle. When they succeed, they verify a transaction and get rewarded with the cryptocurrency native to the network that they’re supporting.

To be a bit more accurate you earn money by “winning the block.” Other miners are trying to win that block as well (hence, blockchain). Winning the block means that you’ve built an arrangement of transactions with a particular hash that the rest of the network approves of. Once these other miners agree that you’ve built the block correctly, you jointly verify the transactions, but you become the sole winner of the block and get paid.

Of course, that still leaves something to be desired, in terms of layman’s explanations. The basic concept is that if you’re investing time and computational power into verifying transactions for a given cryptocurrency network, then you get rewarded in that currency for your efforts. Imagine your GPU as a professional calculator, running the math for a financier as its day-job. When it finishes its math work for the day, the financier pays it with the same currency it spent all day counting.

Why Does Salad Support The Ethereum Blockchain Network?

Salad was built by gamers, and with gamers in mind. We’ve invested in our own gaming PCs, stuffing them with high end graphics cards and thread-ripping CPUs. Yet beyond a few hours of dedicated gaming here and there, all that computing power sits idle while we sleep or work our nine-to-five. We wanted to find a way to make that investment pay off for us and our users, and Ethereum provided those means.

GPUs are equipped to solve highly parallelized computing tasks. Each cryptocurrency has its own cryptographic puzzle for computers to solve. Ethereum’s is especially suited to be solved by gaming GPUs, hence why we chose to launch Salad supporting Ethereum. Furthermore, we believe that Ethereum will be not only a profitable currency, but one of the pillar platforms for blockchain and gaming in the future.

Cryptokitty- joining the internet’s love of cats with cryptocurrency

Don’t believe us? Just check out what gamers and coders have already created:

Ethereum will allow gamers true ownership over their in-game items, and serve as the basis for trading games with real-world stakes. While we’re unabashed Ethereum fans, we may also support other currencies like Monero, which utilize CPUs for their cryptographic puzzles. So stay tuned to Salad News for more info.

By now, perhaps you’re thinking: “Alright, if it’s so awesome and is such a cool technology, why does it have such a bad reputation?” Well, cryptocurrencies have been associated with the dark web, despite the fact that every blockchain transaction is public — making them worse than USD for purchasing illegal goods. Plus, cryptocurrencies are still extremely volatile, since they’re not regulated by a central government, instead being driven purely by their users.

Finally, the crypto boom of 2017/18 drove miners to buy-up all the powerful GPUs in hopes of turning a profit. This lead to highly inflated GPU prices and rightfully angered the PC gaming community. But Salad believes in taking back those GPUs for gamers, we want those who made the GPU what it is today to profit from their investments and interests, all while helping an emerging technology to grow and prosper.

In summation, whether your gaming PC mines Ethereum or performs machine learning with Salad, the end goal is the same: to make our users money. We’re essentially renting your PC, and giving you USD in exchange for the time. Our reward carousel is stocked with awesome loot like:

You don’t have to deal with all the complicated bits about cryptocurrency mining, or the (often tedious) process of exchanging crypto for dollars. You just have to chop some Salad, redeem a game code, and enjoy your reward.

Welcome to Salad — your computer does the work. You get paid.