Authored by Timothy Hao Chi Ho
ChainSafe awarded two Chainlink Community Grants
ChainSafe is honoured to receive two Chainlink Community Grants to further bolster oracle development in two major blockchain ecosystems.
The first grant - announced on April 23rd, 2021 - was awarded to us for the ongoing development, expansion, and support for the Chainlink Oracle Pallet in the Polkadot, Kusama, and other Substrate-based ecosystems.
The second, which we are proud to announce, has been awarded to ChainSafe for the development of a Chainlink Cosmos SDK module. The aim of this grant is to introduce Chainlink into the Cosmos ecosystem.
Chainlink: the quintessential blockchain middleware solution
What is Chainlink? This is a question that often comes up. Although Chainlink is strongly associated with the blockchain/cryptocurrency space, it is often misunderstood to be a blockchain itself. It is not.
Chainlink instead occupies a crucial space between the blockchain layer and the external world, acting as the middleware "glue" that connects blockchains to all off-chain inputs and outputs. When we think of smart contracts now, there is actually little connectivity to data and systems that sit outside of the blockchain ("off-chain"). This disconnect between on-chain and off-chain systems is why "oracles'' are needed to fetch and validate the definitive state of the external world for smart contract applications.
Because decentralized computation is critical to the trust-minimizing framework of blockchains and distributed ledgers, a secure oracle solution must also leverage the decentralized model. Chainlink achieves this by providing Decentralized Oracle Networks (DONs), which extends the security guarantees of blockchains . DONs aggregate high-quality data from a multitude of sources, and then medianize and validate a data point on-chain for an extensive collection of assets (see Chainlink's widely adopted Price Feeds). By doing this, Chainlink's decentralized oracle infrastructure guarantees that external data and resources are delivered on-chain in a cryptographically-secure manner.
The possibilities for decentralized oracle networks expand beyond price feeds and can be applied across a spectrum of use cases including parametric insurance, verifiable randomness in gaming, fair sequencing of transactions, and likely many more functions we have not even considered yet.
Supporting Polkadot and Substrate's Chainlink Oracle Pallet for Blockchain Development
Our first grant was awarded to us to expand development on the Chainlink Oracle Pallet, built using Substrate. Substrate is a modular framework for building and customizing blockchains. Within this framework are Pallets (aka modules) that can be composed by developers to quickly and seamlessly construct blockchains. This allows developers to focus on the application-specific logic of their blockchains or parachains, and thereby offload components of the Runtime like governance, treasury, and consensus to rigorously tested pre-built modules. The Chainlink Oracle Pallet is one such module, which will allow developers to easily attach data feeds to power their blockchain applications.
The grant is split into two overarching components. One aims at the short term, where ChainSafe will upgrade the Chainlink Oracle Pallet to Substrate v3. This work will include adding callback functions for data feeds, introducing state pruning, and improving debt management. The second of which will be to provide engineering support to the continued development of the pallet, including implementing new features as well as providing support for developers looking to integrate the pallet in the open-source community.
With our deep technical knowledge in the Polkadot ecosystem (e.g. building Gossamer & PINT), ChainSafe is in a great position to leverage our expertise. Helping to expand the Chainlink integration and bringing the Oracle pallet to its next logical next step will ensure that all Substrate-built blockchains will be served the best data possible!
Integrating Chainlink into the Cosmos ecosystem
The second grant has been awarded to us for the development of a Cosmos SDK module. Similar to Substrate's FRAME pallets, the Cosmos-SDK provides developers with selectable pre-built modules for building blockchains and dApps with ease. These modules again include such functionalities as Tendermint consensus, governance, staking, inter-blockchain communication (IBC), and now a Chainlink Oracle module. Again, by plugging and playing the pre-built Oracle module, developers will be able to easily power their applications and sovereign blockchains with Chainlink data feeds.
In building out the Chainlink Cosmos SDK module, we are aiming to serve several objectives:
Ensure the proper functionality of data providers submitting data to the module
Giving developers the ability to access recent and historical data for feeds within other custom modules
Leverage existing node operators from other networks (like Ethereum nodes already carrying out off-chain reporting (OCR) jobs) to service Cosmos zones
Since many dozens of node operators already exist on Ethereum carrying out Off-chain reporting jobs, being able to reuse these same providers allows us to leverage existing oracle networks for use on Cosmos-based chains.
The Web 3.0 vision: Definitive Truth for all
The Web 3.0 vision starts not only with layer 1 and 2 solutions, nor simply an expanded suite of dApps. Enabling connectivity to the real world through tamper-proof and reliable off-chain data is as much a critical piece of the Web 3.0 stack as anything else. So, as global leaders in blockchain protocol and infrastructure development, we are extremely honoured so much trust has been placed in us to help carry the Web 3.0 vision forward. We can't wait to share more updates with the community as they come!
If you are interested in getting involved and contributing to the project, check out our Github. If you would like to get in contact with one of our team members, feel free to drop by on Chainsafe's Discord, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to know more about you, your team and your project!
Thank you to David Ansermino, Aidan Hyman, & Avery Erwin (of Chainlink Labs). Your contributions were invaluable to the making of this article.