Chainlink Keepers & What They Do for Hybrid Smart Contracts
Written By: Isaiah "Zaindretti" Payton
June 11, 2021
Chainlink Keepers Open Beta is Live and this marks the beginning of a new standard for contracts being composed and executed in the real world. This article will cover what a Chainlink Keeper is and does, as well as speculates the possibilities that are now within reach for developers.
What is a Keeper?
"Chainlink Keepers is a new decentralized service that allows developers to reliably automate regular contract triggers. This will eliminate the time, resources and risks involved with performing keeper operations manually or through centralized systems. Developers will be able to define the exact set of conditions (based on times, events, and computations) that trigger the execution of critical smart contract functions."
To explain in simple terms, Chainlink Keepers are intermediaries which upkeep the network ensuring that conditions required by a smart contract are met and triggered based on time, event, and computed based conditions coded by developers. Normally, these tasks have to be triggered manually, which are costly and time consuming for developers to keep up with. This is great news for developers as this lowers costs significantly and also frees up time for developers to tend to other developmental tasks to enhance the network. An example of this is executing limit orders on decentralized exchanges or releasing locked assets after periods of inactivity. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg for what will soon be achievable with DONs within the Chainlink network as well as other projects on various blockchains.
(Image from Chainlink Blog)
An example I would like to cover is how this can revolutionize smart contracts for markets such as real estate. As stated in this article, the task of transferring property is inconvenient and often risky for both parties involved. A seller can be hesitant to transfer the ownership of the property before receiving the correct amount of funds for the property, and the buyer can be hesitant to send the money before receiving said property. Third parties (such as notaries) are currently the most effective route to ensure the agreement has been met and increases security which would actually raise the costs related to transferring property ownership, which in turn causes delays. Chainlink Keepers are able to solve this dilemma by automating certain condition triggers within a smart contract to ensure that said smart contract is executed without delay and with lower costs virtually eliminating third parties from the equation. The article also mentions that the limitation of smart contracts for real estate transactions is that contract conditions are complex and contain common preconditions which are construction-related. They also require the physical presence of a person to validate their fulfillment. Chainlink Keepers seem to be the missing piece to this puzzle as it can be assumed that the limitations stated exist because conditional upkeep has to be manually executed, Chainlink Keepers would eliminate this by automating conditional triggers in the smart contract that need to be met and executed.
From the example above, developers will now be able to help start ups, major institutions and eventually governments execute smart contracts without manually having to upkeep certain conditions ensuring seamless transactions with enhanced security and confidentiality. This will be possible while also ensuring developers that minimal blockchain-specific code or expertise will be needed to do so. Even though as of now it is only speculative of how this technology will be used, this can usher in a new era of how business is done when contracts are needed. For example if Seller-A is putting up a property for sale and Buyer-A would like to acquire the property, this can be achieved with smart contracts with the help of Chainlink Keepers to make sure the contractual agreements are met. Logically, this contract would include conditions (If A then B then C) that need to be met in order for the contract to be valid. For a property to be available the condition of A (prior owner no longer owns) would need to be met before being able to discuss the potential cost that Buyer-A would have to provide. If condition A (property is vacant) is met, then we can go into the cost of the property (condition B) that would need to be paid to the Seller-A for the contract to be valid. The following condition (condition C) would be if the Buyer-A's credit score has met a certain criteria to be able to put down funds to purchase said property. As we know, the information needed is located in several different places and can take a lot of time to get to the correct party to confirm the conditions have been met, and again this is costly and inconvenient for both parties waiting to fulfill the contract conditions. With Chainlink Keepers, developers will be able to code and compute these conditions for the smart contract but will also be able to code and compute condition triggers to execute said contract.
Just imagine, instead of waiting days to weeks for your credit score to be checked to see if you qualify to put down money on a property, this information would be able to be pulled off-chain seemingly instantly due to the smart contract being executed with Seller-A's DON. Imagine if the payment sent by Buyer-A meets the payment condition of a smart contract from Seller-A, then executes the transfer of property ownership to Buyer-A in a never-seen-before fashion, saving time and money for both parties involved. This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as what will be possible with Chainlink Keepers and we will most likely see the adoption for many current and up-and-coming business for their Dapps. With that being said, what do you think will be achievable by this new piece of technology? Only time will tell...Cheers.