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New Version of Pollen Testnet announced by IOTA as a major update

Photo of: Janeth Diamond
by Janeth Diamond

IOTA has released a new version of its Pollen testnet: V0.3.0. In its anticipated Research status update, the release includes the full integration of the decentralized Random Number Generator (dRNG) module. The new feature assumedly will feature clock synchronization, basic HTTP authentication, and a host of minor upgrades. 

Other major changes

Some of the other major changes that will be gracing this new update are as follows:

  • Addition of basic codeQL analysis pipeline for common vulnerability scanning
  • Change payload layout which is to be more similar to the one specified for Chrysalis phase 2
  • Improving rand-seed to write its output to a file
  • Docker Network improvisation by making MongoDB, Grafana, and Prometheus optional so that the shutdown times are low when they are not required. 

IOTA co-founder Serguei Popov in one of the earlier posts in January also informed that the organization had formed a different and independent research group chiefly for the formation of a resource-base as well as developing an appropriate dRNG for the network. 

After reviewing the existing solutions, the organization decided to use a variant of the drand protocol which was originally developed by the DEDIS research group that currently is a part of the drand organization. The protocol has already been put to use by other projects namely “The league of Entropy’. This makes it a network that is a source of public randomness that roots out a single point of failure.

In a nutshell, the drand works in basically two phases which are set up and generation. In the setup phase, a committee which is a set of nodes runs a distributed key generation protocol to create a collective private and public key pair that is shared among the members of the committee. So, based on this each member gets a copy of the public key as well as a share of the collective private key. The generation phase works in discrete rounds wherein in every round the committee produces a new random value. In all, Drand’s cryptographic beacon which emits random data intermittently but at regular levels has already been used by Filecoin to understand which miner is publishing a new block to its blockchain. 

Also, IOTA’s fundamental researcher and scientist believe that the major challenge for dran integration is selecting nodes for the formation of the committee. He said:

“One approach could be to select the nodes with the highest mana and refresh the committee selection every now and then… Alternatively, a prefixed committee can be selected, for instance, the community could vote on which node should be part of the committee. Ideally, IOTA will have different committees, each of one with a recommended priority, so that the network can freely decide which one to follow.”

Perhaps the most important part of it all is the concept of randomness in the crypto space which is used to generate private keys. The Bitcoin Blockchain itself is a source of randomness as it is not administered by any central authority.