Project Mahin, a multi-year on-chain conceptual art experiment, has integrated the Chainlink Variable Random Function (VRF) on mainnet to dynamically update our breast cancer awareness NFTs. By integrating Chainlink’s novel VRF solution for secure on-chain randomness, we ensure that our NFTs are dynamically updated in a tamper-proof and provably random manner.
Intended as a multi-year on-chain conceptual art experiment, Project Mahin fully embraces NFTs as a medium in their own right. We have designed and minted 60 unique illustrations, each representing a pair of breasts and each existing in an alternative version after surgery. Each NFT may be diagnosed with breast cancer; the likelihood of that happening reflects the same 1-in-8 odds of women who will develop invasive breast cancer throughout their lives. When this happens, the illustration will permanently update, and the secondary sale royalties of the NFT will increase to 15%. All royalties, in perpetuity, will go to our charity partner, Breast Cancer Now UK.
We wanted to explore crypto art's ability to be dynamic and autonomously change and evolve as it lives on the blockchain with no external controls. In other words, we wanted our NFTs to have a life of their own on the Ethereum blockchain and model the unpredictability of life. Consequently, we needed a source of randomness to mimic the randomness of life. However, on-chain randomness is a notoriously challenging problem.
Some smart contract applications have tried to leverage unpredictable on-chain parameters like block hash to generate randomness. However, miners can manipulate these processes by not publishing blocks with undesirable outcomes. Other protocols have attempted to bring off-chain sources of randomness on-chain, yet a centralized data provider can manipulate the source of randomness to their benefit.
Updating our NFTs in a genuinely random way was a critical goal for us—we see this as a fundamental concept that we needed to get right for our NFTs to have a meaningful real-life representation of breast cancer's effect on women. After reviewing our options, we decided to use Chainlink VRF, as their entropy mechanism delivers on-chain randomness to our dynamic NFTs in a manner that users can verify as tamper-proof.
On a smart contract level, Chainlink VRF works by combining block data that is still unknown when the request is made with the oracle node's pre-committed private key to generate both a random number and a cryptographic proof. Anyone can verify the cryptographic proof with the block data and oracle node public key to ensure that the entropy produced is authentic. Thus, the Chainlink oracles, Mahin team, or external entities cannot predict or manipulate the randomness to their own benefit. Once Chainlink VRF delivers a new random number, anyone can trigger the second contract call, which will update the NFTs with a potential breast cancer diagnosis.
If you would like to be part of this first-of-its-kind crypto art experiment, have a look at our website to get one of our 50 unique NFTs. In the process of doing so, you will be supporting Breast Cancer Now UK’s life-saving breast cancer research.
“By integrating Chainlink VRF, our breast cancer awareness NFTs will be dynamically updated in a provably random and tamper-proof process that mimics the real-life probability of a woman developing breast cancer. Anyone can verify the authenticity of the entropy generated by Chainlink VRF, creating a highly transparent process that is unrivalled by other randomness providers,” said Armaghan Fatemi, the artist behind the project. “We created this project intending to raise awareness for breast cancer, and we are pleased to be able to contribute all royalties to Breast Cancer Now UK.”
Chainlink is the most widely used and secure way to power universally connected smart contracts. With Chainlink, developers can connect any blockchain with high-quality data sources from other blockchains as well as real-world data. Managed by a global, decentralized community of hundreds of thousands of people, Chainlink is introducing a fairer model for contracts. Its network currently secures billions of dollars in value for smart contracts across the decentralized finance (DeFi), insurance and gaming ecosystems, among others.
Chainlink is trusted by hundreds of organizations to deliver definitive truth via secure, reliable data feeds. To learn more, visit chain.link, subscribe to the Chainlink newsletter, and follow @chainlink on Twitter.