Associated Press Taps Chainlink for Elections, Sports Data

As well as providing race call data on the 2021 U.S. state elections, AP will begin adding macroeconomic and sports feeds to the blockchain.

Oct 21, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 21, 2021 at 2:51 p.m. UTC

Ian Allison is an award-winning senior reporter at CoinDesk. He holds ETH.

The Associated Press (AP), the 175-year-old news agency, will provide economic, sports and elections data to Chainlink, a system that provides information feeds to blockchains and triggers digital contracts to carry out transactions.

The partnership, announced Thursday, is another example of an iconic, mainstream brand embracing blockchain technology, while also showing Chainlink’s plans to expand the reach of decentralized finance (DeFi) into new areas.

“Our view is that the blockchain is an entirely new economy,” Dwayne Desaulniers, AP’s director of blockchain and data licensing, told CoinDesk in an interview. “And as a new economy, it just needs a lot of inputs, a lot of trust and a lot of collaboration. What we see now is adoption just going berserk, and blockchain being adopted in half the time that the internet took to get to like a billion users.”

The AP’s choice to provide data to various blockchains through Chainlink signifies both a shift in how data sources value smart contracts and a significant increase in what smart contracts are now able to achieve using AP data, said Chainlink co-founder Sergey Nazarov.

“As we’ve seen with the rise of DeFi, the rate at which Chainlink oracles can bring new data onto blockchains is the rate at which blockchain developers can build interesting new applications for users,” Nazarov said in an email. “With AP providing their signed data about elections, sports and various key world events, DeFi markets across the blockchain ecosystem can now be made about a wide array of previously inaccessible topics.”

AP goes DeFi

AP previously teamed up with Chainlink for the U.S. elections last November, when the news agency published a “race call” on the results to the Ethereum blockchain. On top of that, AP has been an enthusiastic champion of the exploding non-fungible token (NFT) realm, having sold the first media NFT in early 2021.

As well as adding race call data on the 2021 U.S. gubernatorial and state legislative elections to its newly launched Chainlink oracle node, AP will begin providing a new range of economic and sports-related information. The macro economic and sports datasets will hopefully start being added this year in the weeks following the elections, said Desaulniers.

“We will be bringing on-chain things like the GDP [gross domestic product] number, the unemployment rate, the CPI [consumer price index] number and other bits of trusted data from AP that we will publish to our node so developers will be able to access that,” Desaulniers said. “Sports is another area; not just scores, but also fast-breaking player reports, transactions, injuries.”

AP, which operates as a not-for-profit collective owned by its member newspapers and broadcasters, has evolved through the disruption of online publishing by diversifying its revenue streams. On-chain data is yet another green pasture to be discovered, Desaulniers said.

“Absolutely, we’re looking to monetize the data that we put on-chain,” he said. “But you know, how much and what’s the value? It’s very early, and these are things still to be discovered. And that’s fine with us.”

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Ian Allison is an award-winning senior reporter at CoinDesk. He holds ETH.

Ian Allison is an award-winning senior reporter at CoinDesk. He holds ETH.

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