Protocol Labs wants to design at least one secure, efficient, and usable Verifiable Delay Function (VDF) construction. In order to do it, it has partnered with the Ethereum Foundation.
In an official blog post, Protocol Labs announced that together with its new partner it is “evaluating and co-funding grants for preliminary research into the viability of building optimized ASICs for running a VDF.”
For the uninitiated, a VDF is a time-consuming function — hence ‘the delay’ — that generates an output. The latter can be subsequently verified both easily and quickly.
The company which describes itself as ‘a research, development, and deployment institution for improving Internet technology’ emphasizes that in the world of cryptographic primitives VDFs are a novelty. However, they are slowly becoming ubiquitous in blockchain research. Their use cases include proofs of replication, leader election in consensus protocols, and randomness beacons. Protocol Labs is betting big on a secure and usable VDF construction. The company says it:
“…would be a major breakthrough in applied cryptography and distributed systems, with applicability even beyond blockchains.”
However, more research is necessary for that. Currently, a security area that remains vulnerable includes acceleration from specialized hardware.
“For most VDF constructions today, actors with access to custom hardware would be able to generate VDF outputs much more quickly than desired, potentially breaking the security of protocols that rely on VDFs.”
More goals ahead
Ultimately, Protocol Lab’s collaboration goal is to “reduce that uncertainty by developing VDF hardware optimizations upfront and sharing the hardware designs freely for anyone to use.” If the two parties manage to achieve this, then they plan to look into these matters:
- Public contests to collaboratively optimize VDF implementation runtimes
- Public multi-party computations to generate the necessary VDF security parameters
- Development of hardware optimized to run VDFs
If you are looking for details, make sure to check out this site vdfresearch.org
To find out more about how VDFs work follow this link.
Recently, it emerged that in 2013 Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of ETH, wanted to do an internship in Ripple. Besides, the recognized private analytic group Weiss Ratings believe that ETH will face scalability issues which will obstruct its development.