One of the core challenges for blockchain applications is the integration of real world information onto the blockchain. Blockchains and the applications built on top of them can run autonomously, but they're unable to integrate information about real world events. Services that take these events and log them on-chain are known as oracles.
The oracle problem generally refers to the fact that oracles are central points of failure in decentralized systems. While an application can run trustlessly and autonomously on-chain, it carries risk if it relies on information provided by an oracle. If the oracle is corruptible, the application itself could fail.
This problem has led to a number of experiments in oracle design. Some developers have attempted to make decentralized oracles that don't rely on information provided by any single party. Examples of this include Augur's resolution system and Chainlink price feeds. While these oracles offer protection against corruption by a single entity, they are often slow to resolve, overly complex, and occasionally unreliable. The process required to reach a decentralized consensus can take so long that it's not actually useful for on-chain applications. And in some cases, such strong guarantees may not be required.
Other applications simply rely on centralized oracles provided by developers or community members. These have the advantage of being fast, but they require users to simply trust the price feed without context or guarantees. Often the source of the oracle and its process is opaque, leaving room for potential manipulation.
Everipedia OraQles is an attempt to create a new type of on-chain oracle-- what we call first-party oracles. These oracles utilize a different process to provide information that is both fast and reliable.
Everipedia OraQles offer the speed of centralized oracles with stronger security guarantees than existing options. We do this by leveraging existing trust, reputation, and social standing from well-known institutions.
Certain classes of events don't necessarily require a robust decentralized oracle. For example, users trust institutions like ESPN to properly report sports scores every day. Everipedia OraQles simply allows users to verifiably access information from parties they already know and trust, on-chain.
These companies, parties, and institutions have long-built reputations, and they stand to lose that reputation if they were to report false information. The potential benefit to one of these parties for reporting falsely is so outweighed by the reputational hit they'd take that it creates a strong guarantee for users on-chain that they're getting good info.
In certain decentralized systems, information providers must stake capital in order to participate in an oracle. They stand to lose this capital if they provide false information. Everipedia OraQles leverage social capital-- in essence, these institutions stake valuable social capital that can be easily lost if they cheat the system.
Everipedia OraQles allows users to access information from parties they already know and trust on-chain. It leverages reputation and social capital to provide strong guarantees to users, and it provides information faster and more reliably than other oracle options out there.
If you're a developer who'd like to get started using Everipedia OraQles, you can do so here.