Verifiable Delay Function (VDF) Development is Underway with Protocol Labs and ETH Foundation Project
A verifiable delay function, or a VDF, is a relatively new concept, helping to defend a system against manipulation or attacks as a result of generating somewhat random values.
This type of solution can be implemented in many different use cases, including the selection of a lottery winner on the blockchain, considering that VDFs could prevent miners from changing a block hash to win for themselves.
One of the researchers to bring this idea into a working concept, Dan Boneh, commented that these functions help to “slow things down verifiably.”
Now, according to a blog post on April 19th, Protocol Labs and the Ethereum Foundation are working to develop their own VDF. Protocol Labs, which owns Filecoin, commented that there will be more research necessary in this effort, considering that it is still possible for the security of VDF-reliant protocols to be penetrated by malicious hackers.
The team working on the implementation of the VDF said that the development will establish VDFs and “publicly verifiable randomness” as “novel tools in the arsenals of cryptographers and decentralization projects.”
The blog added that it would be a major development if the project is successful, benefiting both distributed systems and applied cryptography. Realistically, the impact of the partnership’s success would extend far beyond blockchain technology.
Both Protocol Labs and the Ethereum Foundation plan to fund grants together in the name of researching hardware that would run a VDF to meet their needs. Hopefully, the team will be able to meet their goals of eliminating:
“knowable uncertainty around the length of the verifiable delay based on the speed and quality of the hardware being used to generate it.”
To acknowledge and publicize the partnership, a new website has already been created, and the two entities hope that academic institutions and manufacturers will choose to voice their opinions and desire to get involved. In plans coming up with the partnership, there will potentially be a competition that developers can participate in to find the fastest way to construct a VDF.
Two months ago, the Ethereum Foundation was clear in denying any intention of spending $15 million on the development of VDFs, specifically for the use of moving to the proof-of-stake network that they have had in the works.
However, as far as the partnership, there has yet to be a press release on the amount of funding that the Ethereum Foundation intends to contribute.