Whitepaper Explained① — So What is PUF, Anyway?
At Color, we try and differentiate ourselves from other coins by offering something not just unique and interesting, but useful and exciting. In partnership with the PureChain development team, Color is proud to announce the inclusion of the PUF Chip into its architecture. PUF Stands for Physically Unclonable Function, and will be at the heart of the Color Platform, facilitating truly P2P transactions between its users. So how does it work and why is using PUFs in cryptocurrency so revolutionary?
At their core, PUFs are based on physical variations which occur naturally during semiconductor manufacturing, and which make it possible to differentiate between otherwise identical semiconductors. Picture an assembly line product at a factory or money at a printing press. If it did not have serial numbers or some other distinguishing factor on it, what would distinguish it surely from other pieces? PUFs solve this problem in that every chip can have a unique identifier based on hardware attributes. Not only that, but it allows for true peer to peer transactions without the use of a blockchain. Here’s how it works:
The way to think of a PUF powered cryptocurrency transaction is as follows: Imagine a high tech version of Pin-Tumbler lock, retrofitted for the cryptocurrency universe. In order to send a transaction, you are essentially taking a very large key (software) to unlock your safe full of money (data stored & protected by hardware) to send cash (cryptographically sign over ownership of values) over to your recipient. The great thing about this process is it works much in the same way as Bitcoin’s Lightning Network or Ethereum’s Raiden Network. Essentially a channel is being opened between two parties, and as long as all of the PUF users transact with each other, they can settle the transactions themselves.
On Color, you could think of PUFs as essentially trusted cryptographic devices within the Color Platform that allow for instant settling between them, without miners or other verifiers involved. Much in the same way cash transactions don’t need a third party to ensure their validity, PUF enabled hardware wallets can do the same. Only when wallets without embedded PUFs are used will there need to be a transaction made on the blockchain, thus drastically reducing the amount of transactions to be recorded on the blockchain.
The above diagram shows how PUFs communicate with each other while validating a transaction between them. As you can see, all the logic happens between the nodes and doesn’t get broadcast to the blockchain. But what if someone without a PUF wants to make a transaction, say, from a smartphone, or some device without a PUF chip? In essence, this would be similar to how normal blockchain transactions occur today. The transaction would be sent to the blockchain, and would be recorded on a public ledger available for anyone to see. Of course, if both were PUF nodes, this step would not be necessary, and their balance changes would not need to be published on the blockchain.
With the advent of the PUF Network, transactions will happen in real-time between PUF-enabled nodes. The more high volume transaction users run PUF nodes, the faster the transactions get for everyone, and those who only don’t have PUF will need to use the blockchain to process their transactions when working with two untrusted parties. However, with most transactions happening between PUF nodes, or happening within the Color Platform, the blockchain will be free from clutter and therefore always available when needed.
Still got questions? Check out our Whitepaper here, or join our Telegram chat. Over-time we will be putting more information regarding PUFs and how they work in future versions, so stay tuned!