Protocol Labs inks Deal with Ethereum Foundation to Design VDF

Protocol Labs revealed its partnership with Ethereum Foundation on April 19 through a blog post. The company said that the Verifiable Delay Foundation (VDF) will be developed in collaboration with the Ethereum foundation.

In short about Protocol labs:

Protocol Labs designs protocol systems and tools to enhance the internet technology, Protocol Labs is research, development and deployment lab for system protocols. Juan Benet formed the Protocol Labs.

Recently, IPFS and Filecoin informed that the objective of the partnership with Ethereum foundation is to research, design and develop at least one effective, usable and secure Verifiable Delay Function construction.

VDF’s are basically new cryptographic primitives and are recently included in the cryptographic set. The first VDF construction was launched in June 2018. VFD is a function that takes a few amounts of time. However, the output can be quickly and easily verified. Those who seek to know more about VDF can refer to trusted websites or documents and can even watch a video.

Some of the daily based examples that we can consider include selecting a lottery winner over the blockchain. VDFs might help to prevent miners from intermediating with a block hash so as to win the jackpot prize.

One of the researchers, Dan Boneh who had written the concept on a paper in June, last year, briefed that VDFs are the means to “slow things down verifiably.”

The team behind the IPFS and Filecoin said:

“This is an investment towards building publicly-verifiable randomness and VDFs as novel tools in the arsenals of cryptographers and decentralization projects.”

To make VDF more robust, some extra research works have to be done because there is a chance for the malicious hackers of the custom hardware to breach the protocol’s security that relies on VDFs.

VDFs are completely new in the industry and blockchain research has started adopting it in large scale. VDF is mostly used in randomness beacons, proofs of replication, leader election in consensus protocols and other applications.

Designing and developing a secure and usable VDF will be an important breakthrough in distributed systems and applied cryptography, underlining that the VDF could be used beyond blockchains.

Both the partners, Protocol Labs and the Ethereum Foundation are preparing to estimate and co-funds grants to research the feasibility of designing optimized hardware to run a VDF.

The web blog post stated: “Knowable uncertainty around the length of the verifiable delay based on the speed and quality of the hardware being used to generate it.”

Recently in February, Ethereum Foundation had denied its plan of investing around $15 million to develop the VDFs to use it in its advanced proof-of stake network. However, the amount that will be invested in partnership for developing the VDFs is not revealed.

As cryptographic primitives, VDFs will be extremely useful. There is a lot of work to be carried out so as to know its potential in practice. Filecoin and Ethereum both are studying the use of VDFs for their respective protocols. For Filecoin it is basically an investment for developing publicly-verifiable randomness. VDFs are unique tools for cryptographers and decentralized projects.

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