Virtual currency "Riecoin" uses computations to help solve math problem

Feb 27, 2014 by Bob Yirka report
Virtual currency

Bitcoin has been in the headlines a lot lately due first to news that criminals have been using it for transactions, and more recently because of the collapse of its biggest currency exchange. Now comes news of a new type of virtual currency that offers an advantage over Bitcoin. Reicoin (named after Bernhard Riemann, a mathematician who studied the distribution of prime numbers) does everything Bitcoin does, but adds something new by taking advantage of the number crunching involved—it uses the peer-to-peer aspect of virtual currency generation to help solve a math problem by generating a series of prime numbers.

Bitcoin was the first widely known —it's based on a peer-to-peer network where currency is generated when users agree to allow their computer to be used as a resource to the system—a process called mining. Payments are recorded in exchange for transaction fees along with new bitcoins. The currency allows for conducting currency transactions anonymously—hence its use by criminals. Part of the process calls for processing hash functions—for public-key encryption. It's in this part of the process that Reicoin differs. Crunching hash functions by members of a network is resource intensive, and represents a waste of potential processing power.

The people behind Reicoin note that this likely represents work equivalent to multiple supercomputers all tied together. In this new approach, the researchers would like to harness that computing power to help test what is known in mathematical circles as the Riemann hypothesis—a possible method for revealing the pattern behind prime numbers. A proof of the hypothesis could net a million dollar prize from the folks at Millennium Prize Problems. The Reicoin project won't make that happen, but it could possibly lead to disproving the hypothesis, which would be of course, just as valuable.

By generating individual prime numbers as a by-product of coin generation, "constellations" of prime numbers could be amassed by the network. Constellations of prime numbers are sequences of numbers that contain such that the distance between the first and last is minimized. If one is found in the Reicoin project that doesn't fit with the hypothesis, then the whole hypothesis is disproved.

With the unsettling news regarding Bitcoin, it's unclear if users will be willing to gamble on another type of cyber-currency—in order for Reicoin to be useful, it would need to attract a lot of users.

Explore further: Entrepreneur makes Bitcoin gift to US college

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Entrepreneur makes Bitcoin gift to US college

Feb 19, 2014

In what may be the first college donation of the new electronic currency, a Bitcoin entrepreneur has made a $10,000 virtual donation to a Washington state liberal arts college.

Winklevosses make their own Bitcoin index

Feb 19, 2014

Early Bitcoin investors Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss have created their own index of the virtual currency, as they gear up to launch the first publicly traded US Bitcoin fund.

Banking group sees limited future for Bitcoin

Jan 09, 2014

The online currency Bitcoin has shown unexpected success but its future as a broadly accepted exchange medium is limited, according to a report by a global banking group Thursday.

Recommended for you

White House updating online privacy policy

1 hour ago

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

Net neutrality balancing act

20 hours ago

Researchers in Italy, writing in the International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management have demonstrated that net neutrality benefits content creator and consumers without compromising provider innovation nor pr ...

Twitter rules out Turkey office amid tax row

Apr 16, 2014

Social networking company Twitter on Wednesday rejected demands from the Turkish government to open an office there, following accusations of tax evasion and a two-week ban on the service.

How does false information spread online?

Apr 16, 2014

Last summer the World Economic Forum (WEF) invited its 1,500 council members to identify top trends facing the world, including what should be done about them. The WEF consists of 80 councils covering a wide range of issues including social media. Members come ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (2) Feb 27, 2014
primecoin does the same

More news stories

Venture investments jump to $9.5B in 1Q

Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into an increasing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.

White House updating online privacy policy

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

( —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.