With our new series, Project Deepdive, we’re sharing conversations with teams that are building compelling projects and protocols on Gnosis Chain. Our first interview in the series is with Tellor, a decentralized oracle protocol that incentivizes an open, permissionless network of data reporting and data validation.
We were working on an early DeFi project called Daxia that allowed users to create synthetic derivative tokens. We knew that if we wanted this to take place in a decentralized manner, we would need a decentralized oracle. At the time, though, nothing in the market existed. Chainlink was just a whitepaper and not decentralized, and everything else was either a centralized service or was very limited like the MakerDAO ETH oracle. So, we decided that we had to build it ourselves. Building the oracle protocol pretty quickly became our main thing, and we pivoted full-time to support it. This was the start of Tellor.
We launched to mainnet Ethereum in 2019, and Tellor began as a minable token. Miners would compete in PoW for the right to feed data on-chain for rewards. It took many updates and 2 major protocol re-works, but Tellor eventually became a robust and flexible system that utilizes a staking and cryptoeconomics-based model.
Oracles enable smart contracts to execute functions based on real world events. This opens up a whole world of use cases for these programs, ranging from insurance to dynamic NFTs, with the most popular use case being decentralized finance. Oracles feed asset prices to the whole of DeFi, and when oracles go bad, a lot of money can be lost. This is why it’s essential to have oracles as robust and decentralized as the blockchains they’re built on top of.
Tellor is a censorship-resistant, do-it-all oracle that combines flexibility with full decentralization. We aim to ensure that data can be provided by anyone and checked by everyone.
In addition to the commonly requested spot price feeds, we also have a number of more custom feeds that have been built, and new ones can be created permissionlessly. For example, we have a random number generator, a gas price oracle, EVMcall (which bridges on-chain data from one EVM chain to another), and a Snapshot oracle. You can see a visual representation of Tellor’s oracle feed on feed.tellor.io to get a sense of the oracle data that are being reported.
The goal is for the protocol to be used as a public good, applied to whatever off-chain data needs your project has.
Building a truly decentralized project is impossible if you rely on a centralized source of data. Simply put, you either care about that or you don’t. The way the space is evolving, there’s a line being drawn; one side is building fintech 2.0, while the other side is designing projects to be censorship-resistant. Tellor falls in the latter. We offer projects a key piece of censorship-resistant infrastructure that is pivotal for a wide range of use cases.
We are much more of a “protocol” than more popular oracle services out there, and that's where we see the space trending. Decentralization aside, the flexibility of Tellor, which allows users to specify very customizable data requests, has been very attractive to users who can’t find what they need in competing oracles.
Our most common users tend to be DeFi protocols that operate in the lending space, stables, and derivatives. Additionally, the customizability of our protocol has been attractive to projects that need data of more obscure or long-tail assets, things that aren’t provided by the “Walmarts” of the oracle world.
Anyone who thinks decentralization is cool AF is someone we enjoy talking to. We’re looking to collaborate with groups building new use cases and exploring great ideas for oracles.
For projects that are looking to integrate Tellor, they can start with the Tellor Docs page or the Tellor School workshop series on Youtube. You can think of Tellor as a smart contract on Gnosis Chain, and you simply want your smart contract to read another smart contract. It’s relatively easy for any Solidity developer. There’s a whole test package built out to help you test reporting values, and, how you can then move over to Gnosis Chain’s Chiado testnet to test on a sandbox environment. Feel free to reach out to us and we’re happy to walk you through the whole process.
As an EVM, Gnosis Chain was certainly easy for us to deploy on. But more importantly, it fits with us on an ethos level. We felt like we were part of the same tribe, and we were treated that way throughout the process of coming over.
Building on Gnosis Chain was easy and straightforward. We didn’t need technical support, and that's the standard you want. We’ve built on several other chains, and Gnosis Chain is definitely on top as far as making it easy to build. You have a token bridge, native data bridge, free RPCs to use, and you have a block explorer that works. While a lot of chains claim they have the following, in reality they actually don’t. We’re excited to see what people build on Gnosis Chain and how we can facilitate projects in the ecosystem.
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