Next Generation Modularity: Protocol Legos


Conflux Network, Chainlink, and Building the Future of Web3

Chainlink is the leading provider of off-chain information on Ethereum; however, it is not restricted to a single network. As blockchain agnostic middleware, Chainlink can operate on or connect with other popular networks such as Bitcoin, Hyperledger, and one day, Conflux Network.

Chainlink’s Importance to Web3

The current implementation of Chainlink achieves reliability and accuracy through a decentralized network of nodes that are governed by four mechanisms: reputation contracts, tokens, records, and aggregation. The reputation contract is a permanent record of a specific node’s performance stored on the blockchain. LINK tokens are used to pay the node operators but are also staked by nodes and can be slashed for incorrect information or non-performance. Records of node performance are accessible on third party sites such as market.link and reputation.link, so users can see which nodes are reputable and functioning reliably.

An aggregation smart contract can be used to combine multiple node responses, where the nodes themselves can aggregate from multiple data sources for maximum redundancy at the node and data source level. Additionally, Chainlink has future plans to move data aggregation off-chain via Threshold Signatures to lower gas costs for oracle networks.

While providing accurate information is extremely important, the most powerful part of Chainlink is its ability to leverage external adapters. These adapters allow nodes to connect to any source of information — from exchange APIs to digital records to enterprise backends to other blockchain networks — the possibilities are endless.

Additionally, external adapters form a bridge between today’s Web2 world of centralized processing and storage and the new Web3 world of blockchains and distributed systems. Traditionally, information is stored on centralized databases that are accessible via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), but the vision for Web3 is decentralized storage across a network of nodes. The transition from one state of storage to another is not insignificant, and Chainlink provides a bridge with their modular external adapters for Web3 technology to access Web2 information.

Protocol Legos and Conflux Network

At Conflux Network, we are putting together the next generation of technology: a Web3 ecosystem. An ecosystem that empowers the user and brings widespread adoption of Web3 technology. Chainlink plays a critical role in the growth of Web3 technology by not only providing trusted information but also cross-chain and Web2 connectivity.

The simplest use case of Chainlink is to provide the price feed data needed to power our decentralized exchanges (DEXs), but Chainlink’s customizable external adapters open a whole new world of endless possibilities. Similar to the concept of money legos in DeFi applications, Chainlink facilitates using various pieces of a Web3 ecosystem as legos.

For a simple example, Conflux Network has advantages in trading cryptocurrencies and transaction processing, but many crypto transactions are categorized as securities and are heavily regulated. Using Chainlink, DEXes on Conflux Network can be connected with an identity solution such as Sovrin to meet the necessary KYC and identity requirements for securities exchanges. This building block has the potential to bring increased legitimacy to the decentralized finance system and bridge the gap between centralized and decentralized financial structures. At a broader level, users gain greater freedom of access to financial markets through verified credentials with Sovrin and a globally connected network with Conflux Network.

The magic of legos happens as more pieces are introduced: in this case, Ocean Protocol. Ocean Protocol is a distributed network that connects data providers and consumers through a marketplace to buy and sell information without relinquishing control for data owners. In this scenario, Chainlink creates the link between these various distributed systems. Conflux Network provides a medium for transactions (cross-chain and monetary), and Sovrin provides identity verification for data providers. Together, the four blocks create a digital data economy for not just any information, but verified personal information. Users can monetize the constant stream of information generated within their daily lives.

Now, let’s add SingularityNET to the mix. SingularityNET is a decentralized network that enables connectivity to autonomous agents — and in this scenario, an excellent way to parse and utilize large amounts of information from the personal data economy. By leveraging AI technology, all five legos together have a wide range of applications. For example, SingularityNET technology could be used to power Artificial Intelligence (AI) based medical diagnoses where anonymized medical data can be purchased directly from providers on the personal data marketplace. Throughout the process, people are compensated for the information, knowledge, or time they provide. But most important of all, the combination of the protocol legos can bring medical diagnosis to areas where it is not readily available for a fraction of the cost of seeing a doctor.

Next Steps in Protocol Lego Development

There is much potential for interconnected distributed technology that leverages the best aspects of each one. However, many different protocols exist — some with plans to integrate with Chainlink and some without. So even though Chainlink can connect a whole host of distributed systems, the ability to connect any system on demand may remain a concept.

As mentioned previously, Chainlink provides the existing framework for connecting their nodes to any source of information through external adapters. But what about connecting Chainlink nodes to networks such as Conflux? Here are two possible solutions:

  • Fork and modify the open source code for Chainlink nodes — This is by far the most comprehensive solution as it fully integrates with Chainlink. However, the forked code will require consistent maintenance to bring in any new developments from Chainlink.
  • Apply modularity principles to the connection process and use external initiators — Similar to the concept of external adapters for data sources, an external initiator could be used to interface the necessary oracle smart contract calls.

By developing external initiators, developers have the ability to bring Chainlink systems to any distributed network — like Conflux Network.

Specifically, the external initiator monitors for changes on Conflux Network with parameters provided by the Chainlink node. When changes are flagged, the Chainlink node is triggered to run specific jobs that can interface with external APIs. This job would also include a request at the end to an external adapter so information could be sent back to Conflux Network node. Thus allowing the two decentralized networks to transfer information — giving Conflux Network access to the possibilities of using Chainlink for price information and integrating an ecosystem of “Lego” pieces.

As the Conflux Network ecosystem continues to grow, the possibilities expand exponentially and Chainlink provides the set of tools to make those possibilities a reality. While there is still much work to be done to bring Web3 to the general public, we at Conflux Network believe a connected ecosystem is a critical piece — and Chainlink is a first step in the right direction.

Written by Conflux Network’s Research Engineer Aaron Lu

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