Nist Beacon

Unpredictable, truly randomly generated number sequences

How it works

The beacon uses quantum effects to generate a sequence of truly random values, guaranteed to be unpredictable, even if an attacker has access to the random source.

Unpredictability

Making it impossible for keys to be algorithmically predicted.

Autonomy

The distribution of random bits cannot be altered by 3rd parties.

Consistency

All users can be confident they receive the same random string.

Security

New unpredictable numbers are generated every 60 seconds.

NIST generates an autonomous, unpredictable, consistent, 512-bit, full-entropy random number every 60 seconds.

Pulse regenerates in seconds.

Truly random for maximum security strength

In cryptography, the quality of the random numbers used directly determines the security strength of the system. The quality of the random number generator influences how difficult it is to break certain security assumptions of the system.

By generating random numbers through a process that is based entirely on quantum mechanics, the NIST Randomness Beacon is able to generate a value that is truly random to a degree that has never before been achieved in computing.

In short, good random numbers are fundamental to almost all secure computer systems.

How the NIST beacon works

The beacon generates the digital bits using photons, or particles of light, rather than the current CPU and Intel chip processes. An experiment previously conducted at NIST in 2015, proved that the quantum entanglement effect referred to by Einstein as 'Spooky Action at a Distance' is real.


This beacon processes the spooky output to certify and quantify the randomness available in the data and generate a string of much more random bits thus allowing a value that is truly random to a degree that has never before been able to achieve in computing.

In contrast, random numbers generated using current technics are not certifiably random in an absolute sense. This is because they are generated by software formulae or physical devices whose supposedly random output can be undermined by factors such as predictable sources of noise.

Our model

A World's First

Temporal is the first cryptographic protocol to commercially deploy a successful use of the NIST beacon

In 2016, a major cryptocurrency exchange was found to be using a source that could be predicted greater than random to generate public private key pairs, the result allowed hackers to compute the matching private key for a given public key and steal the users’ Bitcoins from the exchange.

This also demonstrated the pseudo-randomness which is inherent in Bitcoin and all current cryptocurrencies whereby the numbers generated appear to be random but are not certifiably random, meaning if an attacker could guess the generation, they would be able to generate all past and future keys.

We heavily utilize the NIST randomness beacon in our algorithm of ensuring consensus and using it as a timestamp in block generation and we are the first cryptographic protocol to commercially deploy a successful use of the NIST beacon.

How it works

Temporal uses timestamped randomness, making it impossible to pre-compute the timestamp value

The degree of randomness from the NIST beacon dramatically increases the cost to attack the network by orders of magnitude greater than current cryptocurrencies.

While it is common for a standard UNIX timestamp which is defined as the number of seconds that have elapsed since 00:00:00 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), Thursday, 1 January 1970 in the header of a block in the blockchain, we have chosen not to use this, since this value is very easily pre-computed. The ability to pre-compute the timestamp could allow an attacker to create a malicious block with invalid transactions in it offline and then upload it to the network when the time was appropriate for an attack.

In our model, it is impossible to pre-compute the timestamp value, because it’s a truly random NIST beacon value and a new one is generated every 60 seconds. Also, for a block to carry the NIST timestamp means that the block must have been generated following the release of the beacon. We can thus be certain that an “offline chain attack” as can be conducted on all other cryptocurrencies, has not taken place.

Technical

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Research

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We've spent the past 5 years researching Blockchain and boast the only two Blockchain PHD's as part of our founding team. Read our research here.

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