Last week, Chainlink released a new whitepaper titled Chainlink 2.0: Next Steps in the Evolution of Decentralized Oracle Networks. The 136-page whitepaper, written by 14 academic researchers and oracle experts, presented a long-term roadmap for how the Chainlink Network will evolve to serve the needs of the growing smart contract economy. While oracle networks are commonly known as a mechanism for bringing data from the off-chain world onto blockchain networks, the Chainlink 2.0 whitepaper redefines oracle networks as a “general-purpose, bidirectional, compute-enabled interface between and among on-chain and off-chain systems.”
This new definition significantly expands the scope of oracle networks to include not only data delivery, but also any form of off-chain computation as well as any other decentralized service that blockchains do not provide. The foundation for achieving this goal takes the form of Decentralized Oracle Networks (DONs), a new type of oracle network purpose-built to meet the scalability, connectivity, and privacy needs of existing and future smart contract applications. In particular, DONs enhance the capabilities of existing blockchain and layer-2 networks by enabling the creation of hybrid smart contracts which combine on-chain and off-chain infrastructure to create decentralized applications more advanced than on-chain code in isolation.
The whitepaper establishes seven key goals that DONs aim to achieve, including hybrid smart contracts, the ability to abstract away complexity, scalability, confidentiality, order-fairness for transactions, trust-minimization, and incentive-based cryptoeconomic security. These goals, and the mechanisms described to meet these goals, are explained in-depth throughout the paper, providing a large amount of technical detail as well as the reasoning behind each and every design decision.
In order to help both the Chainlink community and the greater smart contract ecosystem digest and absorb the core innovations presented within the whitepaper, I have recorded and published a podcast on Spotify/Anchor, titled Exploring the Chainlink 2.0 Whitepaper With ChainLinkGod, in which I break the paper down to its main takeaways in plain English and provide my own insights. While I highly recommend you read the whitepaper in its entirety, this podcast will provide the essentials you need to grasp Chainlink 2.0’s fundamental advancements in oracle technologies. If you have any questions or feedback, be sure to let me know.