HIP 70: What You Need to Know - Oracles


HIP 70: What You Need to Know - Oracles

Posted by Parley Labs ,Oct 18th 2022
HIP 70: What You Need to Know - Oracles

Helium Improvement Proposal #70 has been approved. Major items included in this proposal are as follows:

  • Migration of Helium Network Tokens (HNT, DC, MOBILE, IOT) and governance onto the Solana blockchain.
  • Moving Proof of Coverage (PoC) to Oracles for predictability and scalability
  • Moving Data Transfer Accounting to Oracles to scale data delivery.
  • Approximately 7% of HNT emissions will return to the hotspot owners as the need for Validators are removed

The second entry of this multi-part informational blog post is about Oracles. Click here if you missed part one.

What are Oracles?

Blockchain oracles are entities that connect blockchains to external resources such as existing legacy systems, data sources and advanced calculations. External resources are referred to as “off-chain”, while data currently recorded on the blockchain is considered “on-chain”. Every data input is routed through an external transaction in these Oracles, serving as a link between the two realms. Blockchain oracles enable smart contracts in blockchains to execute based upon inputs and outputs from the real world. In fact, Helium already uses Oracles to determine HNT price on chain. HIP 70 introduces numerous new Oracles to perform different functions including Proof of Coverage (PoC), Data Transfer Accounting, Rewards, and Location Validation Oracles.

Why Change to Oracles?

A change to Oracles will bring increased speed and reliability by removing PoC and data transfer from the blockchain. This inherently boosts reliability on the LoRaWAN network with data delivery that can be dependable. Oracles will create predictable beaconing and scaling of PoC activity along with using traditional data pipeline techniques to help scale the network to millions of hotspots across multiple subDAOs. This can be adapted for IOT and MOBILE networks today and can be considered for the WIFI and additional subDAOs in the future. Oracles also ensure further safety should the network see any interruptions. PoC and data Oracles will continue to process data and settle with the blockchain when interruptions are restored.

What Do These Different Oracles Do?

Some of the Oracles being developed are used for the Helium Network as a whole and some are specific to each sub network. SubDAOs will operate Oracles for their networks like LoRaWAN subDAO Oracles which will run software to calculate their subnetwork specific items like Proof-of-Coverage and data transfer rewards.

PoC Oracles

In the IoT subnetwork,PoC activity ( Beaconing, Challenging, and Witnessing ) are to be implemented as PoC Oracles.

With PoC Oracles, Instead of PoC beaconing and witnessing every few hours or day, it should now happen hourly creating more reliability and consistency. With a predictable beacon rate, a Hotspot owner can be assured that they are “alive” on the network, are eligible for Proof-of-Coverage rewards, and potentially providing useful coverage for devices on the network. These PoC Oracles also reduce failures in delivery of data and provide stability for applications that use the LoRaWAN network.

This approach has the additional benefit of returning the PoC Challenger reward (0.85% of HNT emissions today) to the Hotspot Owner pool benefitting Hotspot Owners in all subDAOs, as Validators will no longer need to process this traffic.

Mobile Subnetwork Oracles also perform work verifying proof of coverage and data transfer. These oracles are also responsible for distributing MOBILE mining rewards to the appropriate parties.

Reward Oracles

Rewards Oracles across the network and subnetworks are used to calculate rewards that trigger distribution of tokens. For example: the Mobile Rewards Oracle triggers distribution of tokens between service providers, mappers and and hotspot operators in that respective SubDAO. Sim Authentication sessions from mappers in Mobile SubDAO are proxied through Oracles so that a service provider can’t lie about the number of mapping sessions they authenticated.

Data Transfer Accounting Oracles

Data Transfer Accounting Oracle (DTAO) is a tool that can be used to measure, monitor, and optimize the data transfer process between two or more systems. Very similar to the updates of Proof-of-Coverage, the DTAO adds some additional details around what data needs to be tracked. The DTAO will then use this information to settle all payments on the L1 blockchain (Solona). For the IOT SubDAO, this enables any existing LoRaWAN Network Server (LNS) to be brought to the helium network and, once onboarded, immediately be able to receive data from Helium Hotspots.

What Do We Think ?

The development of Oracles helps scale each of the subnetworks individually and facilitates cohesiveness among all the subnetworks as the Helium networks grow collectively. We already see this being developed with the Mobile network and the improvement and pace they are developing at. The disruption to the L1 blockchain is minimal while improvements and iterations on the oracles are much faster. We believe this will be very good for the IoT network, as we’re already starting to test off chain data transfer with our Helium Console V2 (Chirpstack). We see the stability and features added to the networks grow at a faster pace, enabling innovation and adoption to grow.

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