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Breakpoint 2023: Reinventing Oracles with Switchboard's V3 Secure and Dynamic Infrastructure

Switchboard reveals its V3 Oracle infrastructure to foster growth and scalability within the Solana ecosystem.

The notes below are AI generated and may not be 100% accurate. Watch the video to be sure!


Mitch Gildenberg, CTO of Switchboard, spoke at Breakpoint 2023 to introduce an innovative new Oracle infrastructure, Switchboard V3, designed to enhance the functionality and security of smart contracts within the Solana ecosystem. He highlighted the need for more robust Oracle solutions that not only provide dynamic data but also align security incentives appropriately with blockchain protocols. Gildenberg detailed the new features designed to address current Oracle limitations, such as flexibility in Oracle triggers and dynamic Oracle executions, securing each Oracle with trusted execution environments (TEEs), and facilitating the integration of private data securely within blockchain applications.

Key Points

The Evolution of Switchboard and Oracle Limitations

Mitch Gildenberg retraces the journey of Switchboard since its inception in April 2021, celebrating its position as one of the top DApps on Solana. He notes the changing needs within the Oracle space and the limitations of current solutions, stressing on the static nature of existing Oracles and their inability to fully align the underlying liquidity and stakeholders' incentives. V2's feed builder was a step towards flexibility, allowing users to create custom data feeds, but now with V3, Switchboard plans to address security, versatility, and the scope of execution comprehensively.

Smart Oracles for Smart Contracts

Switchboard V3 advocates for "smart Oracles," which are capable of conducting risk assessments, liquidity information, and providing an extensive data range beyond just price feeds. This new category of Oracles encompasses data triggers, routines, and the ability to handle confidential data—all aimed to serve smart contracts with the intelligent data they require. Gildenberg emphasizes the significance of such smart data layers that help to reduce front-running risks and enhance the overall functionality of DApps.

Versatile Oracle Triggers and Dynamic Oracle Executions

The new Switchboard V3 introduces multiple triggering mechanisms for Oracle functions, including cron-based schedules for automation and request-based systems that update upon user actions. Furthermore, operators can now utilize "workers" for long-lived executions, which play a crucial role in hybrid model DApps that seek to combine the speed of centralized platforms with the trust of decentralization. Such dynamic executions not only broaden the scope for developers but also remove the limitations tied to single data points.

Facts + Figures

  • Switchboard was co-founded in April 2021 and has been a top DApp on Solana since.
  • There are currently around 300 custom data feeds supported by Switchboard's network.
  • With V3, Oracles will be secured in Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs) to ensure validated and trusted outputs.
  • Versatile triggers in V3 offer cron-based scheduling for automated tasks and request-based updates for efficient resource utilization.
  • Dynamic executions in V3 allow Oracles to perform complex transactions and deliver extensive data beyond simple price feeds.
  • V3 facilitates the integration of private data and API keys securely through confidential functions.
  • Switchboard's V3 introduces a mechanism to generate verifiable randomness for applications that require it.
  • Developers can utilize a comprehensive command line interface to easily create and test functions.

Top quotes

  • "Smart contracts need smart Oracles."
  • "Oracle's have a weaker security guarantee than the blockchains they support."
  • "No matter how much you can stake towards an Oracle, do they ever actually represent the underlying liquidity?"
  • "The versatility of Oracle triggers is key for customizability and reducing unnecessary costs."
  • "We want to have the protocols be the first one to ever be notified of price changes rather than users."
  • "It's really free for them to do anything you could imagine inside a transaction anytime one of these functions fires."
  • "We have a whole mechanism of introducing secrets into your functions as well."
  • "Smarter oracles in smart contracts need smarter Oracles."

Questions Answered

What is Switchboard V3 aiming to improve within the Oracle space?

Switchboard V3 aims to address the current limitations of Oracles, such as inflexible data triggers, insufficient security measures, and the constrained scope of execution. It introduces innovative features that ensure the alignment of security incentives, allow for versatile Oracle triggers, and support dynamic Oracle executions.

How do the new Oracle triggers in V3 provide more efficiency?

V3 introduces versatile triggers that allow for data updates based on predetermined schedules or specific user actions, thus optimizing the use of resources and reducing unnecessary costs. For example, markets that are active only during certain hours won't need continuous data updates, thus saving on transaction fees.

What are the benefits of securing Oracles with TEEs?

Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs) provide a security layer where the output from Oracle's programs can be verified, ensuring that the data produced and utilized by smart contracts is trustworthy. This reduces the risk of Oracle manipulation and enhances the overall integrity of the blockchain protocols they support.

How do dynamic Oracle executions in V3 change data feeds?

Dynamic Oracle executions in V3 allow the return of instructions for complex transactions, potentially involving large datasets, and not just a single data point. This capability opens up a range of possibilities for developers, such as incorporating risk assessments directly into data feeds or interacting with private APIs for secure data access.

Can developers easily create and test functions for V3?

Yes, with V3, developers can use a command line interface to create and test Oracle functions quickly and efficiently. This includes the ability to emulate the runtime environment locally, significantly simplifying the development and deployment process of Oracles.