Since we last met with Galaxy EOS VC Fund company Everipedia, the team has continued to pursue its mission of bringing real-world data and knowledge to the blockchain. Most recently Everipedia is partnering with the Associated Press (AP) to provide a trusted and transparent oracle for election coverage.
Providing additional insight on the AP collaboration are Everipedia’s Co-founder Sam Kazemian, VP of Business Development David Liebowitz, and Senior Front-End Developer Dawson Botsford.
Q: Can you give us some background on this joint project between the AP and Everipedia?
Sam: Our vision has always been to bring knowledge on chain, such as bringing people informative articles and incentivizing editing. But recently, we realized the importance of bringing origin source information to the blockchain in the structure of oracles so that smart contracts can use them.
We wanted to expand the concept of on chain knowledge to ensure that oracles outside of price feeds for stablecoins can be brought on chain. This includes election results, news headlines, legislation passed, or sports scores.
When we pitched this vision to the Associated Press, they were quite interested because they’re the gold standard in election reporting. They’ve been reporting US elections for the past 150 years, and all the major news sites and TV cable networks use the AP’s election data as their source.
So this was an incredibly cool demonstration of our first verified oracle product, and we were really excited to be working with them.
Q: How is Everipedia using the EOS public network for this project with the AP?
Sam: The AP dataset will be deployed to the EOS public network, as well as Ethereum, and the EOS implementation has native EOSIO usage for pushing the cryptographically signed information to the EOS public network.
We’re using Chainlink for the Ethereum version because it’s difficult to develop on Ethereum, and building our own tooling for those smart contracts is fairly resource intensive.
For EOS, we’re actually building our own tooling and using Everipedia’s own infrastructure, and the great thing about using EOS is that these oracles can be responsive in almost real-time instead of having to be slow and incremental.
Dawson: So what we have working is a verified account from the AP. A world first, I believe. The AP will have a public address in their possession.
We provide a service where the AP will sign their election calls with the private key of the address they publicly display on their domains. They’re not blockchain engineers, so that’s where this partnership comes in. We will allow them to take their election results from their traditional HTTP API and put that information on a smart contract and then tell the world how they can access that information on the supported blockchains.
Q: What made EOSIO a good fit for this project?
Sam: The main thing with oracles is that the rate of refresh is limited by the actual rate of refresh of the chain itself. So if a block time is 10 minutes, nothing can be updated quicker than 10 minutes. On EOS, with half second block times, it’s actually quite convenient.
For example, if you were to have a live election map that turns different colors that you might view on CNN, those live updates can be done on chain on EOS because half second blocks for a rate of refresh is totally possible. And not only is it possible, but it works smoothly. On Ethereum, it’s a little bit slow since Ethereum block times are between 15 to 20 seconds and you can visibly tell the rate of refresh.
I should note that EOSIO does have some advantages over Ethereum, and Ethereum also has some advantages over EOSIO. A lot of these things are specialized for a particular kind of use case that they really excel at, but I think for the stuff that we’ve been building at Everipedia, EOSIO genuinely does excel at what we’re doing over Ethereum.
Bringing information on chain that is origin-sourced and cryptographically signed requires a high rate of refresh; it involves many state changes that don’t have a lot of value changes. I think that capability is fantastic on EOSIO, and it’s been a treat to actually do that.
Cost is also a major factor. All types of high-input activity, including changing the state of decentralized applications, are much better and much easier to pay for in terms of resource allocation on EOSIO.
I think Ethereum is well-suited for moving large amounts of value. But all applications that generate a large amount of activity use EOSIO chains. For our specific purposes, we’re not actually moving economic value when we do those AP verify transactions. We’re actually changing state, and those kinds of things definitely are without a doubt better on EOSIO.
Q: How do you see this project changing the future of verified news?
Sam: My personal hope is that this represents the first step towards fighting misinformation and fake news. Obviously, with these specific election results, it’s more of a demonstration. But after the election, both in terms of our ongoing relationship with AP and new partners, one of the things we’ve been talking about is how do we build the infrastructure so that spreading fake news is more difficult and more costly for people who propagate it.
David: We have a few ideas in the pipeline on how we can extend working with AP in the future, not just with presidential elections because that happens once every four years, but also with common news content. The AP is big into sports and sports reporting as well, so we see an evolving, continuing relationship with AP.
By setting the standard with the election coming up, that sets a high bar for not just AP, but also for a lot of organizations to follow the AP’s innovative use of technology.
I like to think of our work with the AP as a collaboration with a verified publisher. It bridges the gap between digital and physical publications and on chain verifications. This is a perfect middle ground, bringing the two worlds together.
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