On Tuesday (May 14), Sergey Nazarov, the CEO of decentralized oracle network Chainlink, announced at the Consensus 2019 conference (in New York City) that Chainlink is planning to launch on the Ethereum mainnet this month.
What Is Chainlink?
Here is the problem that Chainlink says it is trying to solve: "smart contracts can't access data on their own". The reason is that the blockchains that power smart contracts "cannot support native communication with external systems" due to "their underlying consensus protocols."
If in this context we define an "oracle" as a node that "provides connectivity to the outside world," developers of smart contracts could use centralized oracles, unfortunately, this would create "the same problem which smart contracts themselves seek to avoid," i.e. "a single point of failure." If that single node fail fails, the smart control fails.
The solution, according to Chainlink, is "a highly reliable decentralized oracle network" as opposed to using "existing oracles", which are "centralized services."
Chainlink connects smart contracts to the inputs and outputs they need by allowing them to "connect to any API" and "send payments anywhere":
Although the first implementation of Chainlink is for the Ethereum blockchain, its white paper says that intention is "to support all leading smart contract networks for both off-chain and cross-chain interactions."
Upcoming Launch on Ethereum Mainnet
This is the tweet sent out from Chainlink's official Twitter account to announce the launch date:
The Chainlink CEO told news outlet Decrypt that this launch will be “a significant step beyond theory and into practice.” According to this report, Nazarov also said this launch would lead to “an explosion in the types of contracts people build—from insurance to derivatives to supply chain and finance use cases.”
Featured Diagram Courtesy of Chainlink