Sergey Nazarov talks Chainlink 2.0 and ‘hybrid’ smart contracts at BlockDown

by newconomy
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Chainlink, the widely-used decentralized oracle network, released its ‘2.0’ whitepaper yesterday in a move that sent LINK surging by 10%. The whitepaper described “hybrid smart contracts” and other mechanisms to make Chainlink’s oracles even more useful and resilient.

Oracles are third-party tools that fetch data from outside to blockchain to within, as blockchains, by design, are immutable stores of data but cannot automatically verify the authenticity of that data. 

Chainlink’s big leap

Oracle networks like Chainlink help solve that issue by fetching highly verifiable data from a variety of sources to ensure the smooth functioning of a blockchain network and application.

And the 2.0 whitepaper takes these mechanisms even further by advancing oracle technology in seven key areas: Smart contracts, scaling, simplifying complexity, higher security and data confidentiality, order fairness, trust-minimization, and overall cryptoeconomic security.

Talking about the 2.0 upgrade today was none other than Sergey Nazarov, the co-founder of technology firm Smart Contract and Chainlink Labs and creator of Chainlink. Nazarov sat down with Brave New Coin’s Andy Pickering as part of the ongoing BlockDown 4.0 virtual conference.

Nazarov revealed why Chainlink came up with the 2.0 upgrade anyway, after a bit of background. “The thing that really got me into the blockchain industry was this conception of a smart contract and that it was smart enough to discern and prove what had happened. And I quickly realized that you need an Oracle for that, right, you need something called an Oracle mechanism.”

“And at first, we had a centralized oracle mechanism. And then, after many years, we worked on how to decentralize it, and then eventually we arrived at what Chainlink is with an Oracle mechanism that can provide certain decentralized guarantees,” he added.

He further explained, “And those decentralized guarantees and tamper-proof guarantees are very important. Because just like the contract that’s codified, is tamper-proof, the guarantees about what happened, which essentially controls that codified agreement in the form of a smart contract on-chain, that proof and that trigger, and those set of events or computations, need to also meet this very high standard.”

What’s a ‘hybrid’ smart contract?

A relatively newer term used in the whitepaper was the concept of a ‘hybrid’ smart contract. The latter, for the uninitiated, a set of codes and rules that govern a blockchain application or tool, ensuring all conditions are met before any transactions or smart contract integrations are executed.

What makes them hybrid? Here’s Nazarov’s explanation: “I think the way to think about a hybrid smart contract is really the initial conception where there was always this assumption that a smart contract would know that if something happened, it would have proof and it would be able to interact with all of the world’s systems in a meaningful kind of valuable real-world outcome type of way.”

“Therefore, a smart contract just in and of itself has come on has gone on to mean, the code running on a blockchain, which due to the nature of blockchains, has really come to mean a piece of code that can define conditions,” he added.

Nazarov further explained, “But it can’t know what those whether those conditions have been met unless those conditions are about token generation events, token movement events, or private key signatures, or token-based voting type of type of schemes.”

“And I think what a hybrid smart contract—the reason that we’ve gone with that term in the white paper—is we’re trying to define that conception of a smart contract that’s more holistic, in terms of what it enables people to do when to build. And it’s considered a hybrid smart contract,” he ended.

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