In 2021, the blockchain industry’s leading oracle network, Chainlink, secured $75 billion in decentralized finance (DeFi) while laying the groundwork for decentralized insurance, dynamic NFTs, and blockchain gaming. Among global organizations delivering their data on-chain via Chainlink, AccuWeather launched its own Chainlink node in what its Director of Flagship Products, Matthew Vitebsky, called a historic moment for the decades-old weather organization.
AccuWeather’s cryptographically signed weather data for current temperatures, maximum and minimum temperature, and precipitation is now available on the Ethereum and Polygon networks. Recently, Vitebsky joined ausbiz Cracking Crypto host Andrew Geoghegan to explore multiplying use cases for accurate on-chain weather data in the burgeoning world of web3.
In Vitebsky’s view, weather impacts “every single company” now and into a future filled with uncertainty about the effects of climate change. “We’re trying to deliver the data and the expertise to ensure that their company remains operational and their employees and customers remain safe,” he said.
The Chainlink node allows AccuWeather to make its data instantaneously available to smart contracts running on blockchains. In the realm of parametric insurance, smart contracts replace fallible, human-mediated agreements with self-executing policies that are automatically triggered by data proving weather outcomes.
“If there’s a certain amount of precipitation or if a heat threshold is met, we can actually trigger the insurance policy to validate or invalidate,” Vitebsky explained. For farmers living in underserved markets where traditional insurance policies from centralized providers may be difficult or impossible to obtain, Vitebsky sees oracle-powered parametric protection as a lifeline.
In developed markets, Vitebsky expects other exciting use cases, such as futures markets where participants are able to wager on precipitation, UV index, and temperature highs and lows.
While AccuWeather’s API is already freely and widely available to web2 developers and applications, Vitebsky said web3 is the new frontier. “There is a great need for weather data on blockchains to make it accessible to blockchain developers,” he said.
Chainlink acts as a middle layer that delivers AccuWeather’s off-chain data to smart contracts running on Ethereum and Polygon. Because the Chainlink Network is blockchain agnostic, Vitebsky said AccuWeather plans to expand its reach to additional blockchains through Chainlink’s architecture in the near future.
The ultimate goal is to make AccuWeather’s data available wherever web3 developers need it.
“We’re looking to Chainlink to guide us,” Vitebsky said, noting the already expansive network of over 1,200 blockchain projects in the Chainlink ecosystem, including those stemming from Chainlink’s biannual hackathons, which have become known as innovation hubs in the blockchain community.
Looking toward the future, he said much of web3 is yet to be discovered, and AccuWeather’s on-chain data will likely power use cases people have yet to dream up.
“There’s a lot of innovation happening in the blockchain space, using weather data in ways that we may not be thinking about on our apps or our website,” he said. “So we’re really open. We’re excited about the space. We’re hoping to participate and support innovation in the blockchain space.”
Watch Matthew Vitebsky’s full conversation with Andrew Geoghegan on Cracking Crypto.