Chainlink releases new whitepaper in a shift toward smart contract computations

Chainlink (LINK) has unveiled its new whitepaper on Thursday, which details a planned expansion and pivot into creating oracle networks for computation. The proposal would see Chainlink generalize its oracle network into a “meta layer” of Decentralized Oracle Networks, or DONs.

The new architecture supports a larger selection of use cases, expanding its suite of services to off-chain computation of data. In Chainlink’s vision, these computational oracles would create a class of “hybrid smart contracts” where part of the logic could be offloaded to the oracles.

The new oracle networks would continue to focus on functions that blockchains or even layer-two networks are unable to perform, as Sergey Nazarov, co-founder of Chainlink, explained to Cointelegraph. An existing example of this framework is the Chainlink Verifiable Randomness Function, offering a crucial component for any on-chain lottery that needs a trusted source of randomness. In Chainlink’s view, this reliance makes these apps an existing example of hybrid smart contracts. “The DeFi contracts, 95% of them — everything except the DEXs — are hybrid smart contracts already,” Nazarov added, referring to their use of external price feeds.

In the vision outlined in the whitepaper, Chainlink would generalize and extend its existing computational capabilities:

“The extension here is really in the fact that you can put an arbitrary executable in an oracle network for it to run that. And this greatly expands what an Oracle network can do.”

Nazarov disclaimed that Chainlink is not attempting to replace existing blockchains or layer-two solutions. Its aim is to be a flexible and customizable solution to compute data, which could be used to scale existing DApps or even just run rollup schemes and other layer-two solutions. Chainlink would offer the choice of consensus mechanisms and nodes to each individual user, who will choose the trust guarantees they need.

“The Chainlink network is a…

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