IOTA releases new testnet version for Pollen, reveals dRNG

  • The IOTA Foundation has released a new version v.0.2.4 for the IOTA Pollen testnet.
  • Besides numerous improvements, the new version integrates the decentralized random number generator (dRNG) module for the first time.

Angelo Capossele, a senior research scientist at the IOTA Foundation, yesterday announced a new version of the Pollen testnet, v0.2.4, via Medium. The latest update contains numerous improvements and brings the IOTA network one step closer to full decentralization with the IOTA 2.0 mainnet.

Specifically, some improvements have been made and one problem has been fixed. The minor version fixes a “race condition” in the context of “messages db”, i.e. an undesirable situation that occurs when two or more operations are performed simultaneously, resulting in a faulty state. More precisely, the race condition “was preventing the deletion of some entries from the missing messages db, even if they were actually received from the neighbors”.

In addition, according to Capossele, the Tangle BadgerDB interaction and the APIs (programming interfaces) for debugging have been improved by adding the endpoint “value-tips”. Another tooling advance was made by adding a random autopeering seed generator that can be used to set a static node identity.

Also, an update has been made to the autopeering management by adding the possibility to specify a specific network version. Last but not least, the biggest change is that the decentralized random number generator (dRNG) module, tested by community members of the GoShimmer X team, has been integrated for the first time. In this regard, the IOTA Foundation stated:

We would like to thank our GoShimmer X-Team community members for their help and support on kicking off the testing phase of the Decentralized Random Number Generator (dRNG) module. The upcoming Pollen v0.3.0 will bring the first IOTA community-based dRNG!

What is IOTA’s decentralized random number generator for?

The dRNG (distributed Random Number Generator) is required in the context of the Fast Probabilistic Consensus (FPC) to resolve potentially conflicting transactions by having the dRNG vote on them. In other words, the FPC requires a random number generator to make the consensus model more resistant to an attack in which the nodes on the network constantly change their mind about a particular transaction and therefore cannot complete it. On the implementation of the dRNG, the IOTA Foundation writes on GitHub:

A dRNG can be implemented in very different ways, for instance by leveraging on cryptographic primitives such as verifiable secret sharing and threshold signatures, by using cryptographic sortition or also with verifiable delay functions. After reviewing some existing solutions, we decided to use a variant of the drand protocol, originally developed within the DEDIS organization, and as of December 2019, is now under the drand organization. This protocol has been already used by other projects such as The League of Entropy.

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