Building Secure Blockchain Systems: An Exclusive Interview with ARPA and Bella Protocol CEO Felix Xu

Felix Xu Exclusive Interview

In this exclusive interview, Coinfomania chats with Felix Xu, Crypto geek, early adopter, and NFT collector. Felix graduated from NYU Stern and founded two crypto projects, ARPA and Bella Protocol, among the global top 500 by market capitalization. 

Before venturing into the blockchain industry, Felix previously worked at Fosun Investment, Sackler family office, and Vertical Research in New York and Beijing. He loves sailing, kitesurfing and was featured in the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times for his NFT collection.

Felix recently sat down with us to share the latest developments around ARPA Network and Bella Protocol.

1. As a co-founder of ARPA Network and Bella Protocol, what is your long-term vision for these projects? How do you see them evolving and making an impact in their respective industries? 

Since the beginning, we’ve been eager to constantly provide useful and meaningful solutions. We’ve strived to empower people with the power to build and create an open, equal, and decentralized world. 

For ARPA Network, my long-term vision involves creating a secure computation network that enables exciting features for blockchains. We want ARPA to be known for its decentralization, permissionless operation, and solid cryptographic foundation. By building on top of the robust Threshold BLS Signature Schemes (TSS-BLS), we’re able to provide a secure and efficient infrastructure for a wide range of applications, from verifiable random number generators to secure wallets and cross-chain bridges.

We see ARPA evolving as a key player in blockchain infrastructure, setting a high standard for fairness, security, and privacy. We believe in the transformative power of blockchain technology and want to empower developers and users alike by providing secure and privacy-preserving computation across multiple platforms. We envision ARPA becoming the backbone for various exciting projects and platforms in the blockchain ecosystem, ultimately contributing to the democratization and the fair distribution of resources and opportunities in the digital world.

On the other hand, Bella Protocol is envisioned as a cornerstone for the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector. We aim to simplify and optimize crypto liquidity provision by offering intuitive and efficient solutions. Our products, from the ZKSync-based yield protocol Bella LP Farm to Bella Flex Savings V2 and Tuner, are designed to cater to both regular users seeking to earn more from their crypto investments and developers and quant strategists interested in fine-tuning their strategies.

The long-term goal is to bridge the gap between traditional finance and the blockchain world, making DeFi accessible and beneficial to all. We see Bella evolving to provide advanced financial products and services that are user-friendly, efficient, and high-yield. We want Bella to lead the charge in the mass adoption of DeFi solutions and to set industry standards for yield optimization and liquidity management.

2. You recently launched ARPA’s Random Number Generator product, Randcast, can you give us a rundown of what Randcast hopes to achieve? 

Randcast is ARPA’s innovative on-chain verifiable random number generator, designed to empower a fair and creative metaverse. It offers secure and tamper-proof randomness, making it an ideal solution for various applications, including gaming, lotteries, and NFT minting.

The goal of Randcast is to bring about transparency and fairness in the realm of randomness, which is a critical component in many blockchain-based applications. It seeks to reduce the potential for bias and manipulation by distributing the process of randomness generation across a group of nodes, thus ensuring that the generated random numbers are both unique and verifiable.

In addition to these, Randcast is designed to be highly available and blockchain agnostic. This means that it can be easily integrated into various blockchain ecosystems, thereby facilitating developers from multiple platforms to generate fair and secure random numbers. Through Randcast, ARPA aims to advance the security, fairness, and creativity of the blockchain-based metaverse.

3. What drove you to settle with RNG, compared to other verticals (if there are any)?

Choosing to focus on Random Number Generation (RNG) was not a decision made lightly by ARPA. It was driven by a combination of market demand, potential impact, and technological feasibility.

RNG plays a crucial role in various sectors and industries, especially within the blockchain and cryptocurrency space. From gaming and lotteries to NFT minting, RNG is a pivotal component in ensuring fairness, unpredictability, and excitement. However, generating truly random numbers in a decentralized, secure, and verifiable way is a challenging problem in the blockchain space. 

We decided on RNG because we recognized its immense potential and the lack of secure and verifiable RNG solutions in the decentralized world. The ARPA team’s expertise in cryptography allowed us to develop a unique and robust RNG solution that uses a Threshold Signature Scheme (TSS) for enhanced security, privacy, and scalability. This unique blend of RNG and TSS allowed us to create Randcast, a verifiable random number generator, which is not only robust and secure but also adaptable across various blockchain ecosystems.

Lastly, RNG, being an integral part of various blockchain-based applications, gave us the opportunity to interact with a broad spectrum of use cases, allowing us to contribute to different verticals within the blockchain industry.

4. We recently heard that ARPA Randcast and AGLD DAO are collaborating to empower the Autonomous Worlds of the Loot Chain. Can you shed light on the concept of Autonomous Worlds?

Autonomous Worlds (AWs) represent a pioneering concept in the realm of decentralized technology and blockchain. Rooted in blockchain’s principle of decentralization, Autonomous Worlds essentially extend the liberation of finance and operations (as achieved by Bitcoin and Ethereum) to the realm of virtual worlds.

In AWs, the world is not merely a standalone game; instead, it’s a fully realized virtual ecosystem that operates independently of any centralized authority. This means that AWs are not restricted to a single game but can host multiple games, each with its own set of rules and mechanics. Each game becomes part of the larger world, co-existing and potentially even interacting with other games. Imagine a world where Minecraft, World of Warcraft, and Fortnite all coexist and can influence each other; that’s the potential of AWs.

5. Autonomous Worlds appear to evolve the notion of gaming into an intellectually stimulating realm that may impact real-world policies and systems. How can ARPA’s infrastructure support this paradigm shift?

First, ARPA’s secure and reliable random number generation can enhance the fairness and transparency of games within Autonomous Worlds. These properties are critical for building trust among players, and by extension, between games and the real-world systems they may influence.

Second, the Distributed Key Generation (DKG) process and BLS Threshold Signature Scheme (BLS-TSS) of ARPA provide a robust method for securely managing group-related information and performing tasks within the network. This capability can be used to establish and manage complex group dynamics within games, which could mirror or inform real-world systems.

Third, ARPA’s blockchain-agnostic infrastructure allows for seamless interoperability across multiple games and blockchain networks. This could be instrumental in building interconnected virtual societies within Autonomous Worlds, where actions in one game could have repercussions in another, thus bridging the gap between virtual and physical realities.

Lastly, the use of blockchain technology inherently brings transparency, traceability, and immutability to the table. This means all actions and transactions within these Autonomous Worlds are verifiable and cannot be tampered with, which is an essential feature for ensuring the integrity and credibility of the impact these games may have on real-world policies and systems.

6. ARPA is described as a permissionless threshold BLS network that envisions a fair, secure, and privacy-preserving blockchain ecosystem. Could you elaborate on what this means specifically? How does ARPA’s technology and infrastructure address issues of fairness, security, and privacy within the blockchain space?

ARPA’s ‘permissionless threshold BLS network’ is quite a technical term, but it basically refers to the network’s design that allows anyone to participate, ensuring decentralization, and its use of threshold BLS (Boneh-Lynn-Shacham) cryptographic scheme, a mechanism that enhances security and privacy.

Threshold BLS signature schemes (TSS-BLS) offer several advantages in terms of privacy, security, and scalability compared to other cryptographic systems. Let’s delve into each aspect:

  • Privacy

TSS-BLS enhances privacy in the following ways:

1) Masking Signer Identities: With TSS-BLS, the individual signers’ identities remain hidden during the signature generation process. This adds an extra layer of privacy by preventing the identification of specific participants.

2) Distributed Key Generation: TSS-BLS enables the generation of cryptographic keys in a distributed manner. This ensures that no single party possesses the complete key, safeguarding against potential privacy breaches.

  • Security

TSS-BLS provides enhanced security through the following mechanisms:

1) Threshold Security: The threshold feature of TSS-BLS ensures that a predefined number of participants must collaborate to generate a valid signature. This protects against attacks from malicious or compromised participants, thereby strengthening the overall security of the system.

2) Protection Against Single Point of Failure: TSS-BLS removes the reliance on a single party or point of failure. By distributing the signing process across multiple participants, it significantly reduces the risk of a single entity being compromised and jeopardizes the security of the signatures.

3) Robustness Against Byzantine Faults: TSS-BLS can tolerate Byzantine faults, which refer to malicious or arbitrary behavior exhibited by participants. Even if some participants act maliciously, the collaborative nature of TSS-BLS ensures that the integrity and security of the system are maintained.

  • Scalability

TSS-BLS offers scalability advantages compared to other cryptographic systems:

1) Reduced Computational Overhead: TSS-BLS minimizes computational overhead by distributing the signature generation process across multiple participants. This allows for faster and more efficient signature generation, enabling scalability for applications that require high throughput.

2) Easy Integration: TSS-BLS can be seamlessly integrated into existing cryptographic systems, making it convenient for developers to adopt and incorporate into their applications. This ease of integration contributes to the overall scalability of the system.

Read this article to learn what efforts the project has made to adapt the TSS-BLS for blockchains

Rounding Up

In this exciting interview with Felix Xu, he shed light on his visionary outlook and contributions to Web3 and Crypto Space. Felix envisions ARPA Network and Bella Protocol as essential pillars of the decentralized ecosystem. ARPA’s long-term vision focuses on establishing itself as a secure computation network with decentralization and privacy at its core, while Bella Protocol aims to simplify and optimize DeFi liquidity provision, bridging the gap between traditional finance and the blockchain world. 

Felix’s commitment to fair, secure, and privacy-preserving solutions is evident in the recent launch of ARPA’s Randcast, a verifiable on-chain random number generator. Additionally, the collaboration between ARPA’s Randcast and AGLD DAO to empower Autonomous Worlds showcases Felix’s pioneering approach to merging virtual and physical realities. Overall, Felix Xu’s insights and projects exemplify his drive to shape the future of blockchain technology by addressing critical issues of fairness, security, and privacy while also fostering innovation and collaboration in the industry.

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