Network security from hashing is good. Making money is great. Curing Cancer, Alzheimer's, Huntington's, preventing viruses, and designing next-level pharmaceuticals is awesome. What if we could put these together, to build a coin secured and run by crypto, mined with SHA256, and supported by cancer-curing research?
What benefits does it provide?
Most currencies are either in the CPU/GPU stage, or in the ASIC stage. CureCoin can be earned with both. Folders use high-end GPUs and CPUs to fold proteins, earning a proportional amount of coins set-aside for their contributions. Miners mine with SHA256 ASICs as usual, securing the blockchain for the CureCoin network. Whether you are heavily-invested in ASIC equipment or still have GPUs and CPUs, you can participate. Due to the nature of folding (diverse, constantly changing, not easily predictable), GPUs and CPUs will both always be relevant, so an investment in consumer hardware isn't wasted.
How is it different?
CureCoin allows owners of both ASIC and GPU/CPU hardware to earn. CureCoin puts ASICs to work at what they are good at--securing a blockchain, while it puts GPUs and CPUs to work with work items that can only be done on them--protein folding. While still having a secure blockchain, it supports, and thus is supported by, scientific research. While it isn't technically 'backed' by scientific research (there's no central authority you can visit to trade coins for scientific research) the coin has intrinsic value as both a currency and as a system of purchasing a tradeable representation of medical research. Similar to the idea of carbon offsets, someone with money can buy some CureCoins which represent a proportional amount of scientific/medicinal research, while someone with tech know-how can also contribute to the folding effort, doing the hands-on work, and gain profit. The value imbued into each unit of the currency from the folding network it represents would add additional traction and inertia to the coin's trading value. As time goes on and the amount of folding done for the network increases, the amount of research that each coin represents grows.