how long did it take to discover the polio vaccine? maybe we should have just given up after 15 years...
That's incomporable. Scientific discovery like the polio vaccine comes from intelligence and genuine hard work, it doesn't come from Billy Nofriends and Norman Nomates bragging about how many folds they've done using their parents electricity.
Distributed computing efforts do lead to some good but it is more energy efficient for them to be run on supercomputers. Allowing 'enthusiasts' to waste their own electricity all for the benefit of being able to brag to their imaginary friends on the Internet about how many protein folds they've done is a way of reducing central cost but for humankind in general is detrimental. The energy used could be put to better use and these people could do with finding a better hobby. I know this might upset some people but folding and bitcoin mining are really lame excuses for hobbies. Bitcoin mining in particular as it isn't even a currency but a commodity and you're never going to impress girls by saying that you're a millionaire... from mining bitoins.