As developers keep coming up with new and astonishing ways to apply cryptocurrency technology to problem-solving, scientists at Stanford University are using the power of computing and the fame of Bitcoin to research cures for cancer and other diseases.

CureCoin, a new project sponsored by Stanford’s Pande Labs that combines coin mining with protein folding for scientific research, launched earlier this month.

Like other digital currencies, CureCoin accrues network security from hashing, with miners earning coins in the process.

Unlike other digital currencies, mining is not the only way to earn coins – you can also set your computer to the task of folding proteins while you do other things, like check Facebook or play Doge games.

The coins are valuable both as 1) a currency, and 2) an exchangeable representation of scientific and medical research. Each coin grows in value as more people contribute and proteins are folded.