Chainlink has acquired Cornell University’s privacy oracle solution DECO for an undisclosed amount. This is Chainlink’s second acquisition to date, according to an announcement made by the firm on Saturday.
DECO was co-created by Ari Juels, former chief scientist at digital security firm RSA. He will also join Chainlink Labs under the same title.
Moreover, Chainlink co-founder Sergey Nazarov and Juels have begun drafting a second Chainlink white paper, according to a phone interview with the pair. The duo authored the original Chainlink white paper with CTO Steve Ellis in 2017.
Chainlink’s oracle solution ports data from off-chain locations into blockchain smart contracts. For example, Chainlink provides data information for most decentralized finance (DeFi) applications, such as dYdX’s crypto derivative products.
DECO claims to leverage how HTTPS/TLS information is transmitted for more secure web practices, according to a release from the firm.
“DECO is also useful for users who want to monetize their own data (and therefore prove that they are indeed providing correct data) without giving away anything but the data that they are selling,” DECO’s website reads.
Nazarov said DECO can be used as a foundation for a few crypto wish list items, such as permissionless credit or decentralized identification.
For example, he said DECO can prove a person is over 18 by pulling data from a DMV while hiding the individual’s birth date.
This could be further applied to the golden apple of decentralized finance, permissionless credit systems. Nazarov said an oracle like DECO could one day allow a smart contract to query off-chain credit information such as banking records without overreaching into personal data.
“DECO is the way a lot of collateral will make its way to DeFi,” Nazarov said.
Juels told CoinDesk this privacy is possible through DECO’s incorporation of zero-knowledge proofs, popularized in cryptocurrency circles by the privacy coin zcash (ZEC).