Notable Works in Oracles & Data

CTA: SCRF is building a list of key readings in each category area to orient researchers to notable works and previous research. Comment in this thread with links to seminal research that would form part of an introductory graduate seminar in this category. Please include a 1) a brief summary of what the link is and 2) the rationale for including this particular piece in the SCRF Notable Works reading list.

As with every post in SCRF, a discussion is highly encouraged. Review one another’s suggestions and include your own. Syllabi and curated lists from other sources are also welcome.

The Blockchain as a Software Connector

  • http://www.pautasso.info/biblio-pdf/blockchain-wicsa2016.pdf
  • Xiwei Xu, Cesare Pautasso, Liming Zhu, Vincent Gramoli, Alexander Ponomarev, An Binh Tran, and Shiping Chen
  • This paper describes the blockchain as an intermediation layer between applications, and introduces the concept of the validation oracle, which bridges external data into the siloed blockchain.
  • Introduced a number of usecases in which oracles are now actively used, or are being developed towards.

Town Crier: An Authenticated Data Feed for Smart Contracts

  • https://eprint.iacr.org/2016/168.pdf
  • Fan Zhang, Ethan Cecchetti, Kyle Croman, Ari Juels, Elaine Shi
  • This paper introduces a trusted hardware backed oracle solution that allows for secure delivery of confidential information to Ethereum smart contracts.
  • This application provides a mechanism for the execution of smart contracts on a public blockchain while preserving the end to end integrity of confidential data.

ChainLink: A Decentralized Oracle Network

  • Steve Ellis, Ari Juels, and Sergey Nazarov
  • https://link.smartcontract.com/whitepaper
  • This paper introduces a framework for decentralized oracle networks, a reputation model using on-chain data, and describes the modular features necessary to generalize this framework for a broad variety of usecases.
  • The authors identify decentralization at the data source and individual oracle level, and propose use cases such as off-chain computation.

ASTRAEA: A Decentralized Blockchain Oracle

  • John Adler, Ryan Berryhill, Andreas Veneris, Zissis Poulos, Neil Veira, and Anastasia Kastania
  • https://arxiv.org/pdf/1808.00528.pdf
  • Proposes a trustless, permissionless, and decentralized blockchain oracle based on voters and certifiers playing a game to certify truth value.
  • The mechanism of this oracle was built with incentive alignment in mind for the actors within the system, and the authors conclude that all rational actors within the system behave honestly.

Augur: A Decentralized Oracle and Prediction Market Platform

  • Jack Peterson, Joseph Krug, Micah Zoltu, Austin K. Williams, and Stephanie Alexander
  • https://github.com/AugurProject/whitepaper/blob/master/v1/english/whitepaper.pdf
  • The team introduces a mechanism for predicting outcomes, staking on either side of the prediction, and ultimately resolving the true outcome.
  • While the long tail oracle method introduced in this paper hasn’t seen significant adoption for execution of smart contracts, the assessments around incentives and risks provide valuable insights.

From Oracles to Trustworthy Data On-chaining Systems

  • Jonathan Heiss, Jacob Eberhardt, and Stefan Tai
  • https://www.redaktion.tu-berlin.de/fileadmin/fg308/publications/2019/Heiss-et-al-oracles_preprint.pdf
  • The authors introduced Trustworthy Data On-chaining, a novel holistic perspective on reliable data provisioning for smart contracts that allows for evaluating existing Oracle.
  • The authors identify truthfulness as a fundamentally new requirement, which means that no execution of blockchain state transition is caused by untruthful data provisioning, but instead data is always provisioned in a well-intended way.

Shintaku: An End-to-End-Decentralized General-Purpose Blockchain Oracle System

  • Ryuuji Kamiya
  • https://gitlab.com/shintaku-group/paper/raw/master/shintaku.pdf
  • This work defines the concept of end-to-end decentralization and presents a system architecture for implementing an oracle under such constraints
  • This work extends the original Astraea oracle design and attempts to reduce its complexity to more rigorously handle the special case of the verifier’s dilemma.
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From Oracles to Trustworthy Data On-chaining Systems

  • Jonathan Heiss, Jacob Eberhardt, and Stefan Tai
  • https://www.redaktion.tu-berlin.de/fileadmin/fg308/publications/2019/Heiss-et-al-oracles_preprint.pdf
  • The authors introduced Trustworthy Data On-chaining, a novel holistic perspective on reliable data provisioning for smart contracts that allows for evaluating existing Oracle.
  • The authors identify truthfulness as a fundamentally new requirement, which means that no execution of blockchain state transition is caused by untruthful data provisioning, but instead data is always provisioned in a well-intended way.
2 Likes

Cheers Jalil, we merged that suggestion!

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AFAIK this is the first use of the term smart contracts: http://www.truevaluemetrics.org/DBpdfs/BlockChain/Nick-Szabo-Smart-Contracts-Building-Blocks-for-Digital-Markets-1996-14591.pdf

Is it a notable work that’s in a required reading list for oracles? Does this article add to our understanding of oracles as a working technology?

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Shintaku: An End-to-End-Decentralized General-Purpose Blockchain Oracle System

  • Ryuuji Kamiya
  • https://gitlab.com/shintaku-group/paper/raw/master/shintaku.pdf
  • This work defines the concept of end-to-end decentralization and presents a system architecture for implementing an oracle under such constraints
  • This work extends the original Astraea oracle design and attempts to reduce its complexity to more rigorously handle the special case of the verifier’s dilemma.
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@abdeljalil.beniiche

Shintaku: An End-to-End-Decentralized General-Purpose Blockchain Oracle System

This is certainly one I originally considered for inclusion in the original draft of Notable Works. I couldn’t find any further information about the (clearly pseudonymous) author, and never did find much information regarding this oracle product being actually used in production.

However, that of course doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve to be included. Has this paper achieved significant scholarly impact? Does its approach to handling the verifier’s dilemma move the state of the art of oracles forward?

@Eric, I see the importance of Shintaku oracle in a paper entitled “On Public Decentralized Ledger Oracles via a Paired-Question Protocol”[1]. This work proposes a novel paired-question protocol for decentralized oracles based on Shintaku’s work. The paper is co-authored by Neil Veira, Ryan Berryhil, and Andreas Veneris: the authors of ASTRAEA paper.

[1] https://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~veneris/19icbc.pdf

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@abdeljalil.beniiche, cheers for the thoughtful response! I’ll merge Shintaku in.