released Draft NIST Internal Report (NISTIR) 8213, A Reference for Randomness Beacons: Format and Protocol
Version 2, for public comment. A randomness beacon is a timed
source of public randomness. It pulsates fresh randomness at expected times and
makes it available to the public. The pulses contain random values that are
timely generated, stored, timestamped, signed and hash-chained in a publicly-readable
database. Thereafter, any external user can retrieve—via database queries—any
past pulse and its associated data. Beacons offer the potential to improve
fairness, auditability and efficiency in numerous societal applications that
require randomness. A notable benefit of using public randomness is in enabling
after-the-fact verifiability, for the purpose of public transparency.
Draft NISTIR 8213 provides a
reference for implementing interoperable randomness beacons. The document
defines terminology and notation, a format for pulses, a protocol for beacon
operations, hash-chaining and skiplists of pulses, and the beacon interface
calls. It also provides directions for how to use beacon randomness, and
includes security considerations. With the release of this draft publication,
NIST intends to seek constructive feedback from interested parties.
The public comment period for this draft closes
on August 5, 2019. See the publication details link below for
the document and instructions for submitting comments.
NOTE: A call for patent claims is included on page iv of
this draft. For additional information, see the Information
Technology Laboratory (ITL) Patent Policy–Inclusion of Patents in ITL
NIST Randomness Beacon project: