Chainlink has launched its new on-chain Verifiable Random Function (VRF), according to a medium post on May 12.
The firm noted that this initiative is set to benefit smart contract developers seeking to integrate randomness and verify the function on a blockchain platform.
“Chainlink VRF helps enable and accelerate the development of smart contracts focused on blockchain gaming, security, layer-two protocols, and various other use cases.” reads the post.
The Challenge in Random Number Generation
Current DeFi ecosystems rely on randomization to some extent to ensure that smart contracts are secure.
However, this may not be guaranteed since the current infrastructure is mostly centralized. It, therefore, follows that smart contract developers have to depend on blockhash-based randomization guarantees.
According to Chainlink's post, this approach can easily be compromised if a group of miners' teamed up to alter the last bit hash on a certain block height. This basically means they can tilt the outcome probability of a decision made from this hash to favor their odds.
Another approach that has been sorted by DApp providers is off-chain random number of generations. Ideally, the random numbers are generated off-chain and brought onto a specific network (On-chain). Though effective, this approach lacks in terms of verification giving an opportunity for off-chain providers to manipulate the ‘randomness' without accountability.
Chainlink VRF Solution
1/ We’re excited to launch a Verifiable Random Function (VRF) capability. Smart contract developers can now access verifiable randomness through #Chainlink oracles, enabling a new set of blockchain applications in gaming, security & layer-2 protocols. https://t.co/NBLPuzJyXE
— Chainlink – Official Channel (@chainlink) May 12, 2020
With Chainlink's VRF, these shortcomings can be addressed to enhance the security of DeFi's. Basically, a smart contract provides a seed to Chainlink requesting randomness.
This seed is then communicated to a Chainlink oracle where a random number is generated and transmitted back on-chain. This information also includes a proofed, smart contract in which developers can authenticate this via Chainlink's public keys.
“The fundamental benefit of using Chainlink VRF is its verifiable randomness.
Even if a node is compromised, it cannot manipulate and/or supply biased answers — the on-chain cryptographic proof would fail.”
The firm highlighted that it is optimistic about Chainlink's VRF and will leverage this decentralized random number generation feature. Previously, PoolTogether was generating its winners through a manual and centralized process; an approach that resulted in less confidence from the users.