Past Meetup

Applications of verifiable random functions (VRFs) in decentralized networking

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This is Stanford engineering school event, and space is limited to 10 members of this meetup group.

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Title: Applications of verifiable random functions (VRFs) in decentralized networking: a “Threshold Relay” blockchain, and an algorithmic blockchain-based commercial banking system.

Speaker: Dominic Williams, President/CTO, String Labs & Designer of Dfinity System

Date: Tuesday, November 15 Time: 6:30pm-7:30pm

Location: Stanford engineering school.

Dinner will be provided!

Abstract: String and BCG (Boston Consulting Group) have recently jointly announced Dfinity Trust Machine blockchain for business. We argue that a source of unmanipulable and unpredictable random values provides the most effective means to drive and organize decentralized networks and their higher-level applications. We demonstrate this idea by introducing two ingenious systems. Firstly we review how a network can use a “Threshold Relay” system that applies unique deterministic threshold signature cryptography (Dan Boneh’s BLS signature scheme) as a VRF to produce such a sequence of random values, further exploring how a robust high performance blockchain can be built upon the framework. Then we review how a network created using Threshold Relay can host “smart contract” software implementing an autonomous commercial banking system that applies generated randomness to give out loans algorithmically. String Labs is currently incorporating both methodologies into the DFINITY and Phi projects.


Dominic Williams, President/CTO, String Labs & Designer of Dfinity System Protocol geek, coder and serial technology entrepreneur who hails from the UK. Dominic's last venture was an MMO that grew to 3M users and allowed him to indulge his passion for scalable tech. Dominic is a bit of a hippy, but once won prizes in Computer Science at London University.

Timo Hanke, String Labs. Once an Aachen University mathematics and cryptography professor in Germany, Timo caught the decentralization bug. Timo has worked on numerous crypto products and prior to joining String Labs invented and patented the famous AsicBoost ( ). At String he works on Third Generation crypto systems.

String Labs

String Labs is a venture-funded crypto studio, investor and incubator based in Palo Alto. We specialize in developing and launching open decentralized systems that operate without the support of trusted parties. This involves incubation until a not-for-profit foundation raises money from donations and funds further works until the system launches. Our first two projects are DFINITY and Phi. DFINITY is a “world compute platform”, or decentralized peer-to-peer network that hosts a scalable tamperproof virtual machine. Software (often referred to as “smart contracts”) can be installed on the network and thereafter run independently of humans or geography, incorporating numerous powerful properties. Phi is a decentralized commercial banking system that can be installed and run on world compute platforms such as DFINITY or Ethereum. String Lab’s team comes from a diverse background (


Space is limited, and a waitlist is avaiable.