Light speed was too slow, so our new ludicrous speed ASIC Timelords will be fully operational by November 9th, 2023!
We’re proud of our work to maintain and enhance the Chia blockchain’s network security. While the network has remained safe since launch, we know we must stay vigilant. To that end, we’ve been doing R&D with our research and fabrication partners for over three and a half years on some neat and totally novel hardware. Together, we built “Timelords,” the fastest known computers for Verifiable Delay Function (VDF) math ever to exist.
Our Timelords greatly enhance the network security of the Chia blockchain and, once sent out to folks in the community, will also globally distribute the generation of challenges and infused blocks.
We’re planning to start the selection and distribution process shortly, so if you’re interested, please read our Q&A on the hardware, a Timelord’s role in the Chia blockchain network security and ecosystem, and our distribution plans.
Q. What’s This Timey-Wimey Stuff? JDE Magic?
ASIC Timelords are specialized hardware devices designed to efficiently generate sequential proofs of time (using a Verifiable Delay Function – VDF). They broadcast these proofs of time approximately every nine seconds, providing “deterministic randomness,” which is used to decide the winning proofs of space.
Q. How fast is fast?
We forecast the full speed of the ASIC Timelords to be somewhere between 800,000 iterations per second (IPS) and 1,000,000 IPS. The fastest non-ASIC Timelords currently running operate in the 260,000 IPS range.
Q. How do ASIC Timelords improve security?
ASIC Timelords increase the difficulty for attackers to control the generation of challenges and infused blocks, as they’re much faster than traditional CPU-based Timelords. With these new Timelords on the network, any malicious actor must now compete with the fastest known computers for VDF math to ever exist.
Q. Why should I run an ASIC Timelord?
ASIC Timelords are important for the decentralization and security of the network. It is in every network participant’s best interest that many globally-distributed, honest Timelords run on the network.This ensures fairer competition between peers vying to infuse blocks and issue challenges.
Applicants will provide a critical service to the network while giving themselves a small amount of insurance against global network routing issues.
Q. Benefits of ASIC Timelords?
Many farmers are understandably concerned about any advantages running this new ASIC technology might grant other farmers on the network.
To start, there is no advantage granted to a farmer who also runs a Timelord locally, EXCEPT that if they have a sufficiently large farm such that missing a block because of a global network routing issues is a real concern, running an ASIC Timelord would provide insurance for those farmers that they do in fact win every challenge they are entitled to.
The likelihood of such an event lasting long enough to be an issue is vanishingly small, and a sufficiently large farm such that seconds-long global routing issues are an actual concern is likely only hypothetical.
There is no advantage other than in this one edge case to running an ASIC Timelord.
Q. When will ASIC Timelords be available to the community?
We will open up applications for new Timelord purchasing on December 1, 2023, and will close applications on January 1, 2024, and select applicants to be announced on January 15, 2024. The Timelords will ship to their new owners after receiving payment toward the end of January, 2024.
Payment methods are still actively being discussed, but we plan to support $XCH, $USD and any Chia stable CATs at a minimum.
If you are interested in purchasing an ASIC Timelord, please visit our website for more information. We will announce the sign up page closer to December 1st, 2023.
Q. How much will an ASIC Timelord cost?
We set the price for units from this first run batch at $1000 dollars per Timelord.
Q. Is a cluster faster than a single Timelord?
Yes, a cluster of 3 ASICs will be noticeably faster than a single ASIC. Which is why we are going to offer some portions of this first batch to be purchased as clusters of three (for $3000), and some to be purchased as single units (for $1000).
Q. Why would anyone want to run a single ASIC?
While a single unit is slower than a cluster of three, it is still an ASIC, and should any number of clusters fail, moving to a single ASIC is much better for the network than dropping to non-ASIC Timelord speed. Additionally, the insurance policy of having a local Timelord is there regardless of deploying a single unit or a cluster.
Single ASICs are still contributing and may not be the active Timelord as often however, the speed difference is not so much that they will never be a candidate for fastest and they serve as effective backups to the clusters as well.
Additionally, if you are running a 3 ASIC cluster, you will need to run 3 equally fast hosts, one for each ASIC at the hosting site. For reference, Chia Network Inc runs 3 current gen Intel hosts, one for each ASIC, at all of the globally distributed collocations of the CNI Timelords.