AWS Backs $100,000 to ‘Change the Face of Blockchain’ Competition

Recently, a the competition aims to solve how to calculate something called the verifiable delay function (VDF) in the shortest time was launched by the VDF Alliance in order to make everyone “change the face of blockchain”.

$100,000 prize for the winner

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If you could understand the above, you may have a chance to win $100,000 prize. This means you can beat the others who are attempting to calculate the problem with the greatest speed improvement. 

The competition is being held in partnership with the Ethereum Foundation, as well as other alliance members, the Interchain Foundation, Protocol Labs, Supranational, Synopsys, and Xilinx, which are sponsoring the event “with support from AWS.”

The competition’s first round will run till the end of September. In the initial round, competitor who successful will be awarded $3000 dollar for every nanosecond improvement.

Drakes suggests that those entering may need a blend of skills. “You are going to need people who are really good at hardware design, but also people with algorithmic skills,” he said. “My guess is the winning team will have a combination of that expertise.”

The organizers will prize to the fastest design that solves the problem at the top of this article.

What is in VDF that makes the approach unique?

In its announcement, AWS paraphrases Justin Drake, a researcher with the Ethereum Foundation, explaining that “VDFs are a low-level building block in cryptography, barely more than a year old. It’s the “V” or ‘verifiable’ in VDF that makes the approach so unique.”

“It’s trustless,” according to Drake. “For the first time, it adds this notion of time with which you can build all these cool things.”

Included in the “cool things” promised by VDF tech is “unbiased proof of randomness.” Effectively, it could enable trustless, truly random number generators on blockchains. 

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Currently, these are pseudo-random and can be exploited by bad actors by effectively being able to guess the number. With true randomness, that wouldn’t be possible.

If the tech can be advanced sufficiently it could help to move blockchain such as ethereum from the energy-intensive and hence costly proof-of-work algorithm to one called proof-of-stake.

As reported by CoinDesk previously, the Ethereum Foundation is already working on the VDF problem, revealing in February that it was considering spending $7.5 million in the search for true randomness.

VDFs are envisioned for use in ethereum’s much-anticipated proof-of-stake system called Serenity, to which the ethereum network will migrate in the next few years.

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