Google announced in a blog post Thursday that ethereum app builders using Google software will be able to integrate data from sources outside the blockchain through a partnership with Chainlink, a company that provides on ramps and off ramps for information necessary to run self-executing code called smart contracts.
After Google made public blockchain data for bitcoin, ethereum and six other cryptocurrencies available and easily searchable in February on its BigQuery data analytics platform, Allen Day, a senior developer advocate for Google Cloud, wrote that the applications of that project are “all using the crypto public datasets as an input to an off-chain business process.”
The integration with Chainlink, which offers a service called an oracle to integrate data like interest rates and price information, from traditional finance into on-chain smart contracts, will add another layer to these capabilities, allowing processes to be implemented directly on the blockchain.
“A business process implemented as a smart contract is performed on-chain, and that is of limited utility without having access to off-chain inputs,” Day wrote. “To close the loop and allow bidirectional interoperation, we need to be not only making blockchain data programmatically available to cloud services, but also cloud services programmatically available on-chain to smart contracts.”
Day demonstrated in the post how a smart contract application for a cryptocurrency like ethereum could use the integration between Chainlink and BigQuery to settle speculative bets in prediction marketplaces, process futures contracts to reduce risk and make transactions more private. Chainlink raised $32 million in an initial coin offering in September 2017, and its facilitation of smart contracts could help enable more creative payment plans for services like airline flights when they’re delayed.
Day and lead developer Evgeny Medvedev began introducing blockchain technology to Google last year, when they added data from the bitcoin and ethereum blockchains into BigQuery. They followed that up by making data sets for bitcoin cash, ethereum classic, litecoin, zcash, dogecoin and dash this year along with more tools for how to use them.
Forbes recognized those efforts by including Google in its Blockchain 50 in April, which list 50 companies using decentralized ledgers in innovating ways.
Google still lags behind competitors Amazon and Microsoft, which were both also on the list, in cloud computing revenue, but its smart contract integration is a significant move in the tech giants’ race to maximize blockchain’s potential.