but they cannot be used to do anything else useful (except heat a room in winter). Being built for one function allows them to be far faster than a general computing device such as a GPU.
The Ethereum blockchain is actually a computing platform used to run Decentralized Applications (dApps). It too was invented by a Russian(-Canadian) named Vitalik Buterin. He calls it "The World Computer".
The code is open source and Microsoft, IBM and the Linux Foundation back it.
It does not make use of ASICs but rather, GPU farms which use some of the same cards we use to run Space Engine.
That said, with transaction times of 25 per second I don't see how it could really help Space Engine... Perhaps the entire GAIA catalog could be uploaded to the Ethereum blockchain and Space Engine only reference the relevant part of the dataset depending on where in the Milky Way galaxy someone is?
I'd be interested in hearing the original poster's ideas.
Anything like realtime rendering using ithe Ethereum network would probable be impossible until they eventually scale up to 2500 transactions a second or more if possible at all (which I doubt).