September 26th, 2022 - Generating a source of trusted and secure randomness* is not an easy task, especially on-chain. Yet having one is necessary for decentralized applications that depend on randomized processes, such as lotteries, random NFT drops, games, etc. Crucially, for most on-chain applications it is not enough to use "random looking" quantities (such as the block seed) as sources of randomness. Block proposers have partial control over these quantities, making it possible for rogue block proposers to break applications that depend on these sources being unpredictable.
With all the above in mind, the Foundation is proud to announce that we (Ori Shem-Tov, Fabrice Benhamouda and Shai Halevi) have designed and launched a new randomness beacon on the Algorand blockchain. The beacon calls the same VRF that is used by the Algorand consensus protocol to generate verifiable pseudo-random values which are stored on-chain. These random values can be used by any smart-contract deployed on the Algorand blockchain for free and can be used for a variety of use cases such as: on-chain gaming, NFTs, lottery etc. For more information on how to use the beacon, see https://developer.algorand.org/articles/usage-and-best-practices-for-randomness-beacon/.
We are grateful to Applied Blockchain for implementing and maintaining the backend service.**
*For those interested in more details, true randomness is actually impossible to create on-chain. What we achieve is “pseudo-randomness” which for blockchain use cases is equivalent to true randomness: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudorandomness
**As of February 2024, service for the randomness beacon is maintained by the Algorand Foundation.