RNG’s: a major hurdle for Ethereum Casinos
Ever wondered why you see so many casino related Ethereum tokens and ICO’s, while on the other hand there’s practically zero Ethereum Casinos? Some simple dice or coin-toss DApps left aside – to this day there no full-fledged casinos built on smart contracts although the technology lends itself perfectly for this purpose. In short, it’s because Random Number Generators (RNG).
One of the most integral part of any casino operation is the generating of randomness within the games offered. Without this, the games would be intrinsically rigged. The RNG spits out a random number, and the outcome of the games is based on this. This seemingly straight-forward mechanism actually proves to be quite a sophisticated IT system.
Add to this that, so far every cryptocurrency has ran into some sort of scaling problem. Bitcoin with transaction cost and speed, delayed Ethereum transactions, Status ICO, or any major part of connectivity to the blockchain. Also, since the technology is so new, the pool of programmers who truly understand blockchain and smart contract programming is extremely small.
Put all this together, and you can easily see why building an Ethereum Casino is no easy feat. Andreas Draksas, co-founder of Edgeless.io summed up what is required to have a properly working casino:
The RNG must be able to generate a number within 1 second
The RNG is fully decentralized to prevent any form of tampering
Is scalable and can serve a large amount of players simultaneously
The transaction cost (gas) is low
If the RNG is unable to fulfil all these criteria, it is impossible to properly run an Ethereum-based casino business. To give you an idea of how different operators handle these challenges, we’ll go over some of the main projects in the Ethereum gambling space.
( https://www.vdice.io/ )
RNG speed: 1-2 minutes
As you can see, even though it’s only a simple dice game, the speed of the random number generator is not as fast as needs be. Also, the transaction costs are over a Dollar.
( https://etheroll.com/ )
RNG speed: 3–5 minutes
Etheroll’s RNG runs even less efficient than vDice’s, making this not a sustainable and scalable solution to decentralized gambling.
( http://funfair.io/ )
RNG speed: less than 1 second
Although FunFair only runs in beta to showcase their product, and the final product may differ, as it is, FunFair doesn’t offer true decentralized gambling. The RNG is in no way connected to the bloackchain as it runs on their in-house servers. This is why it’s so fast and transaction costs are negligible. It is a work-around the challenges, but does not offer a decentralized solution and cannot call itself a blockchain casino, as the RNG is still vulnerable to tampering. As it is, the only thing that they offer is a payment integration that lets you withdraw and deposit Ethereum.
To sum it all up, most Ethereum casino projects are facing similar difficulties related to their random number generation: speed, cost, or decentralization. No let’s have a look at what the very promising Edgeless.io casino DApps has come up with to face these challenges.
( http://edgeless.io )
RNG speed: less than 1 second
Gas: less than 5 USD cents.
So how did Edgeless accomplish high speeds, low costs, AND decentralization? By using a hybrid model. While their RNG runs on their own servers to maximize speed and get cost down, everything that is happening within their RNG is linked to the blockchain. Which means that all RNG operation are recorded publicly. This decentralizes the cheating factor since all outputs will be visible on a blockchain explorer. To read a more technical explanation of how this works, please refer to their whitepaper. https://github.com/EdgelessCasino/White_paper/blob/master/White_Paper.pdf
Also, Edgeless is in the process of obtaining a full casino licence, including RNG certification. I hope you’re as excited as us about the Edgeless casino project which is planned to launch later in 2017. In any case, we’ll keep you up to date!