https://techcrunch.com

Chainlink co-founder wants web3 to provide cryptographic guarantees to the world

Welcome back to Chain Reaction, a podcast that interviews newsmakers in crypto to better understand the tech behind the hype and the people working to build a decentralized future.

For this week’s episode, Jacquelyn interviewed Sergey Nazarov, co-founder of Chainlink, a protocol that provides an oracle network to power smart contracts.

“Oracle networks are really the thing that puts the word ‘smart’ in smart contracts,” Nazarov said. “Smart contracts in and of themselves don’t know what time it is; they don’t have the ability to access any external system […] other than what’s in a blockchain.”

Before starting Chainlink, Nazarov co-founded four other businesses, the most recent of which was SmartContract, which also focuses on smart contracts.

Chainlink is also known as a web3 services platform that connects people, businesses and data with the world of web3. And for good reason: The platform has enabled over $7 trillion in transaction volume across DeFi, gaming, NFTs and other major industries.

When it was launched in 2017, the total value locked (TVL) in the entirety of DeFi was “well below $100 million,” Nazarov said. By late 2021, that number had grown to almost $200 billion, though it has since fallen to $47 billion today, according to DeFiLlama data.

“When an oracle network goes live on a certain chain and provides data to it, that chain’s total value is locked within advanced applications, like advanced gaming applications or DeFi applications, skyrockets,” Nazarov said. “And ‘skyrockets’ doesn’t mean that it doubles; it means that it [grows] more than 100 times.”

In order for blockchains to create advanced applications, they need advanced inputs and outputs, Nazarov said, pointing as an example to how Uber couldn’t exist without other systems that handle a big portion of the workloads and problems it encounters. “Without those APIs, you can’t build an advanced application,” he added.

Web 2.0 vs. web3

For Nazarov, the Web 2.0 world that most people use is “not guaranteed in any meaningful way.”

What does that mean? Well, at any point, an entity like Silicon Valley Bank can “change the rules and then you have a difficult situation,” he explained.

Up until SVB’s collapse, many people thought banks were predetermined, Nazarov said. “They felt that banks would always behave in a predictable, repeating way they understood. But now, I think people realize banks are probabilistic and there’s a chance they might not behave in a way people expect because [of] a large amount of human-based decisions and legal promises that are not really guaranteed.”

So how can the world become more reliable and secure?

Through technological, or cryptographic, guarantees in web3, Nazarov feels. “It’s a parallel system of contracts. The Web 2 world defines events in a digital form […] but at the end of the day, those promises are only backed by the legal system and people’s choice to fulfill those promises.”

In the web3 world that uses smart contracts, there’s no capacity for human choice or the legal system, Nazarov noted. “There is just a technically enforced system of contracts.”

Chainlink’s new platform lets web3 projects connect to Web 2.0 systems like AWS and Meta

In addition to a number of topics surrounding smart contracts, technological guarantees, cross-chain interoperability and Nazarov’s long-term vision for Chainlink, we disccused:

  • Unexpected smart contract use cases
  • How traditional companies can tokenize assets
  • AI and blockchain technology
  • CCIP updates

Chain Reaction comes out every other Thursday, so be sure to subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite pod platform to keep up with the latest in web3 and crypto.

As AI proliferates and things on the internet are easier to manipulate, there’s a need more than ever to make sure data and brands are…

The AI world needs more data transparency and web3 startup Space and Time says it can help

Welcome to TechCrunch Crypto, formerly known as Chain Reaction. This is the last edition of this newsletter. I want to personally thank each of you…

SBF sentenced, Worldcoin hit with another ban order and big web3 pre-seed rounds are back

Many of the people building web3 feel like the traditional web ecosystem has taken advantage of users and their data. While it benefits a number…

A new web3 network is being built right now that wants to end Big Tech’s control of your data

Welcome to TechCrunch Crypto. This week, Starbucks killed its Odyssey NFT program, Solana continued to see memecoin momentum and India faces more challenges with the…

Solana memecoin hype continues, Backpack’s beta phase was a success and Starbucks axes its NFT program

Starbucks launched Starbucks Odyssey in 2022 as its initial foray into the web3 world.

Starbucks ditches its Odyssey NFT program

Two months ago, media giant Fox Corp. partnered with Polygon Labs, the team behind the Ethereum-focused layer-2 blockchain, to tackle deepfake distrust. Fox and Polygon…

Blockchain tech could be the answer to uncovering deepfakes and validating content

Welcome to TechCrunch Crypto, formerly known as Chain Reaction — it was an eventful week in the crypto world.

Bitcoin hits new high, Solana price jumps as memecoins mania rises and Worldcoin faces heat in Spain

Zora, an NFT-based social network platform, is continuing its expansion beyond the crypto-sphere into the hot artificial intelligence market, Dee Goens, the startups’ co-founder, said…

NFT platform Zora is offering a novel way for AI model makers to earn money

Welcome back to TechCrunch Crypto. It was an eventful week: bitcoin’s price hit a new high, Spain’s data protection authority banned Worldcoin and Binance raised…

Bitcoin hits highs, Binance launches a crypto perfume and Coachella partners with OpenSea

Welcome to TechCrunch Crypto. Here’s the biggest news this week: bitcoin’s price jumped and Coinbase’s app crashed, Telegram rolled out a plan to pay out…

Bitcoin jumped and Coinbase’s app crashed, while Aptos eyes Hong Kong and Telegram rolls out rewards with TON

NFTs don’t always get taken very seriously, particularly now that AI and content creators are hogging the spotlight, but not everyone is so quick to…

Animoca Brands’ Yat Siu sees NFTs as a way to protect ownership in the age of AI

Welcome to TechCrunch Crypto, formerly known as Chain Reaction. This is our fifth edition with of course, regularly scheduled news bits, but also some recurring…

Crypto VC exits were low in Q4 2023, Phantom MAU’s reach new highs and spot bitcoin ETF volumes are still rising

Hello and welcome back to the fourth edition of the new and improved TechCrunch Crypto newsletter. Let’s get into the big headlines.

Farcaster hype grows, Bluesky opens to the public and SEC’s Hester Peirce is open to new token proposals

a16z’s Chris Dixon thinks it’s time to focus on blockchains’ use cases, not speculation

Hello and welcome back to the third edition of the new and improved TechCrunch Crypto newsletter.

Tether had ‘record-breaking’ net profits in Q4, Polygon Labs does layoffs and hackers steal $112M of XRP

Welcome to TechCrunch Crypto, formerly known as Chain Reaction. To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important crypto stories delivered to your inbox…

Bitcoin and Ethereum decline on the week, Worldcoin to launch a new Orb and Terraform Labs files for bankruptcy

Distinct from the Ripple network and protocol, the XRP Ledger is a decentralized public ledger with an open-source code base that anyone can contribute to…

After 12 years, Ripple’s president sees its payment and enterprise businesses evolving further

Welcome to TechCrunch Crypto, formerly known as Chain Reaction. Alongside our regularly scheduled news bits, I’ll be testing out some recurring segments and features —…

Bitcoin spot ETF volume rose, Coinbase went to court, Solana Mobile announces new device and Google cuts crypto apps in India

Welcome back to Chain Reaction. This past week has been all about U.S. spot bitcoin ETFs in the crypto world.

US spot bitcoin ETFs begin trading, Circle files for IPO and India continues crypto pullback

It’s been a long road for spot bitcoin ETF filers — and today the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission finally approved all 11 standing applications from…

Grayscale CEO sees spot bitcoin ETF as first step toward ‘normalizing’ crypto

Welcome back to Chain Reaction. Wouldn’t a bitcoin spot ETF approval be nice?

Talks of bitcoin spot ETF approval circulate as India blocks exchange sites and crypto is seeing more optimism

Welcome back to Chain Reaction. To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important crypto stories delivered to your inbox every Thursday at 12…

Dog-themed memecoins are pawing their way back into investors’ hearts

Warden thinks one of the biggest avenues for real world use cases is tokenization of assets and areas that aren’t even tradable yet.

Why tokenization of assets can be a key driver of growth in crypto

Featured Podcast

Robinhood is on a quest to dive deeper into crypto

The platform might not be as highly technical as one that’s crypto-focused, but Robinhood is doing research to understand what customers want and are missing.

12:00 PM PST • December 15, 2023

23 Min

Robinhood is on a quest to dive deeper into crypto

Welcome back to Chain Reaction. Even though it’s the season to feel jolly, that’s not stopping hackers from acting out.

Crypto hacks and chaos aren’t halting this holiday season

Welcome back to Chain Reaction. In general, the total crypto market cap steadily rose 14% in the past week as more capital enters the crypto…

Bitcoin continues climbing, Block releases hardware wallet, Robinhood expands to EU and VCs may see some relief soon

The crypto industry is facing the same macroeconomic headwinds as others, with the added bonus of regulatory uncertainty.

The venture landscape may be on the ‘cusp’ of explosive growth after years of macro strain

We didn’t publish a Chain Reaction newsletter last week because of Thanksgiving. But we’re back — and saying goodbye to November after a month filled…

Crypto saw lots of chaos, charges and price changes in November

The goal is to help users forget which chain developers are building on, because it ultimately won’t matter.

Optimism execs are optimistic for Ethereum’s future amid its ongoing scaling battle

Welcome back to Chain Reaction. The crypto market and overall ecosystem may be showing signs of recovery after a prolonged bear market.

Crypto market showing signs of recovery as prices, NFT sales rise on the month