On Wednesday, the Polkadot team released a major milestone for its substrate blockchain framework, which now provides a way for blockchain applications to interact with the outside world without relying on external oracle providers.
Substratum is the name used to build the Polkadot blockchain platform. It provides several tools for developers to create their own blockchain for various possible applications. The blockchain can then be launched independently or integrated into the Polkadot inclusion network, or “Parachains”.
The most important feature of Substrate 2.0 is the “off-chain factor,” a development unit that allows a blockchain to perform advanced computing or make its network requests to the outside world.
Off-chain operators use inferior nodes to perform operations that would normally be outside the blockchain. On a blockchain like Ethereum, a certain math has to be fast and limited enough to fit into an instruction block. This eliminates many types of operations that are either non-deterministic, such as network requests that may fail or that are too complex for available resources. Pillar 2.0 allows developers to download these processes to network-running nodes that are capable of carrying out network requests, encryption and decryption, data signing, random number generation, and other CPU-intensive tasks.
This system would allow Polkadot developers to create complex systems as price providers throughout the entire chain, removing some elements of trust. Finding reliable data sources will still be the core of the “oracle problem” – but developers will have maximum flexibility in designing DApps and blockchains.
On the other hand, Oracle systems like Chainlink have their data collection logic completely off-chain. Only smart contract developers can access the final data provided by Oracle, which requires a certain amount of trust in these providers, which this type of solution tries to reduce.
Substrate 2.0 also offers a number of other developer-friendly tools in the form of platforms, custom modules that greatly simplify certain procedures. For example, Democracy provides an easy way to enter voting on the chain, and the EVM platform copies Ethereum’s virtual machine, allowing developers to transfer their smart contracts to Polkadot.
While the pillar represents a major technological leap with some current solutions, it remains to be seen whether developers and users will make the transition to Polkadot. The Web3 Foundation, which backs Polkadot, has partnered with financing clusters to build blockchain infrastructure, from bridges to Ethereum and other blockchain to in-house decentralized financial ventures.
A key part of Polkadot’s value proposition is cutting, which will allow the substrate block chains to interact with each other. However, the correlation between the entries is still being tested.