Watching the Watchmen

How transparency and verification secure Truebit Verify’s offchain compute and data integration capabilities

We are pleased to share our new technical paper, “Truebit Unchained,” introducing “transparency” as a new standard for certifying the integrity of decentralized compute tasks. 

Co-authored by Truebit founder, Jason Teutsch, who designed the original Truebit protocol to improve the scalability and efficiency of blockchain networks, this new paper provides a look into the underpinnings of the Truebit Verify platform. It details our latest research on transparent systems and the role of verification in developing and securing scalable Web3 applications. 

Our technology has evolved with the ongoing surge of interest in decentralization, Web3, and the maturing of the blockchain space. In the original protocol, the Truebit Verification Game resolved the potential for false verification and misaligned incentives on the Ethereum Blockchain. Today, we’re leveraging the decentralized platform approach to reshape the blockchain narrative and empower Web3 developers to create real-world, decentralized applications that transcend the limitations of traditional blockchains and smart contracts.

In our new paper, we discuss new concepts and the underpinnings of our Verified Computing Platform. These concepts include: 

Transparency bridges decentralized and centralized services

We introduce “transparency” as a new standard for certifying the integrity of decentralized compute tasks. Transparency builds on the concepts of verification from Truebit’s prior work by incentivizing independent Nodes to audit the behavior of cloud-based services — thus making it possible to reliably integrate blockchain-based apps with off-chain actors such as AI models, API servers and serverless function code.

Transcripts provide proof

Transparency proves that the data produced by your application is correct and unaltered, while indicting offending actors for bad behavior. It provides the means to attest to data in the form of “transcripts” that document how compute tasks are executed and verified. Every question that could be asked about data output from a task – what code was used, what inputs were provided, the source of the input data, who performed and checked the calculations – can be answered in the transcript. 

This means that when things go right, transcripts become self-contained proofs of the validity of the data. If things go wrong, though, transcripts provide an immediate “stop” signal that the data provided may not be trustworthy.

Policing the Hub with Smoking Guns and Red Balloons

Transparency also gives decentralized applications superpowers by providing a direct path for integration with centralized web services through a router called “the Hub.” That said, it does so without assuming trust in the Hub’s operation. While the Hub oversees the Verification Game that polices the decentralized Nodes, the Nodes also police the Hub by reporting any misbehavior as “smoking guns” on public ledgers. 

Further, we describe how the Nodes resist censorship through a game-theory technique inspired by the winners of DARPA’s Red Balloon Challenge. We see these audit functions as verification extensions that expand a blockchain’s role in securing critical infrastructure.

Download the Truebit Unchained technical report to learn more about integrity guaranteed by transparency. 

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