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With the launch of the Ethereum network and its ability to execute smart contracts, the world has been provided a new way to conduct business and peer-to-peer interactions. You can now perform autonomous economic activities on the blockchain with all parties algorithmically bound to conform to any agreement. There is, however, a great problem holding back widespread adoption of this autonomous economy and that is not only the ability to receive data on the blockchain but know that it is accurate and the provider is trustworthy. Enter Zap.org, who recently announced a partnership with the billionaire businessman and entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs. Mr. Combs has now entered the cryptocurrency space and in a big way by highlighting Zap’s platform, tools, and incentives which may be the remedy needed for this data issue plaguing smart contracts.
Unless you can be certain that the data being fed into a smart contract is accurate and reliable, no reasonable person would perform high stakes economic activity using them. So how is it, then, that we can translate the same off-chain data we use to make decisions now, on-chain? To begin, you must start with an oracle. An oracle is an all-encompassing term for the various forms of middleware which exist to communicate disparate forms of data to smart contracts or blockchains. Many initial approaches to solving this problem of accurate data involve the creation of centralized oracles; while that may work to confirm trust in the short-term, the approach is neither scalable nor does it abide by the principles of decentralization. In this sense, the Zap team believes that staying true to decentralization and free markets will, ultimately, lead to the most scalable and trusted source for oracles to feed into and trigger smart contracts.
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With a track record of success across a spectrum of industries, Mr. Comb’s partnership with Zap will not only grow awareness of cryptocurrencies, generally, but will also take many straight to the forefront of the emerging-end of blockchain and smart contract technology. Mr. Comb’s move here should be taken seriously as his name overtime has been synonymous with success.
Zap.org was co-founded last year by former Facebook data scientist Hamdan Azhar and blockchain veteran Nick Spanos. Mr. Spanos is most known for founding the Bitcoin Center NYC (recognized worldwide as the world’s first physical exchange) right down the street from the legendary New York Stock Exchange. He was also featured in the documentary “Banking on Bitcoin” as seen on Netflix. Mr. Spanos has also been instrumental in starting and sustaining several Blockchain technology ventures and is a co-inventor of two different Blockchain technology patents.
With the recent release of the Zap API, anyone who has data and wants to monetize it can do so by creating an oracle on the Zap platform; and by purchasing Zap tokens, anyone can then gain direct access to these oracles. Subscribers will “bond” their Zap tokens to the oracle they want to interact with. Once bonded to an oracle, a secondary token call a DOT will be released which can query the oracle for data; and the amount of DOTs released per Zap token will be determined by the supply/price functions, or “bonding curves,” established by the data provider at the offset of an oracle’s creation. These curves incentivize early bonding to what speculators and data purchasers believe will be trustworthy oracles for the long run. Choosing to bond to trustworthy oracles will result in the release of more ZAP tokens redeemable for each DOT returned when releasing them from the oracle (which can occur at any time). Like any free market, there will be winners and losers as well as the good and the bad; however, the trade-offs of competition will ultimately create a truly decentralized market capable of meeting the data needs for functional smart contracts.
Mr. Spanos has recently been touring oil-producing nations with the Zap.org team, including Iraqi Kurdistan, Oman, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates in an effort to promote EnergyLedger.
This joint effort powered by Zap.org and built by Blockchain Technologies Corp. will showcase the oracles’ versatility and utility. The EnergyLedger system aims to modernize oil and gas production using tailored blockchain-based solutions to streamline logistics for more efficient production and distribution. The project offers full support to its clients and a highly secure platform that ensures protection against data loss or tampering. We project that users may realize at least a five percent (5%) savings on their production and distribution costs.
Where exactly this leaves Zap in this hyper-competitive industry is yet to be seen, but Mr. Spanos and Mr. Azhar have made the type of foundational investment sorely needed for blockchain-based smart contracting to move forward. I for one will be watching them closely and expect big things.
To keep up to date with Zap.org, you can subscribe to their blog right here.
For more information on the project and to access its whitepaper, visit the Zap website.