Gridcoin is an open source cryptocurrency (Ticker: GRC) which securely rewards volunteer computing performed upon the BOINC platform in a decentralized manner on top of proof of stake.
BOINC is an open-source volunteer computing grid which combines the processing power of all individual users for the purposes of scientific research. It's free, production ready and many projects already harness volunteered computing power to attempt to cure cancer/AIDS/Ebola/malaria, map the Milky Way galaxy, crack Enigma machine codes, etc.. 
GridCoin introduces a proof-of-research algorithm to make more productive use of the computing power of computers.
What are the future prospects for GridCoin Coin?
There is a growing need for computing power from the research industry to run large applications and process huge amounts of data.
There are several domains such as product simulation, deep learning and 3D rendering where the demand for expensive computer resources and high-performance computing is increasing.
For many smaller research institutes or companies, it is also very expensive to set up their own computing units for the research or service they offer.
Therefore, such projects are extremely important for them.
GridCoin is not the only project of this kind. However, it sets itself apart from its competitors such as Golem, FoldingCoin or Primecoin because it is based on the established research platform BOINC, which has more than two decades of development behind it.
Another important competitive advantage is that GridCoin Coin is freely accessible, while Golem and some other providers have to pay a rent or something similar for its use.