Chronicle Oracles Arrive on zkSync

Zug, Switzerland, May 3rd, 2024, Chainwire

Chronicle Protocol is proud to announce the launch of support for zkSync. Scribe, blockchain’s first fully verifiable and cost-efficient Oracle, is live now on zkSync Era. Chronicle Protocol’s integration of zkSync unlocks decentralized, secure, and resilient price feeds for over 100 dApps already in the ecosystem.

Chronicle has launched on zkSync Era with its core Oracles, BTC/USD and ETH/USD, with more price feeds such as USDT/USD, USDC/USD, and WSTETH to follow.

“Together, Chronicle and zkSync combine the resilience of verifiable, gas-optimized, decentralized Oracles with the security and scalability of zk rollups, helping builders launch and serve their users on high integrity foundational infrastructure,” said Jennifer Senhaji, Head of BD & Growth at Chronicle.

Scribe tackles the underlying engineering problem behind the high cost of operating Oracles. The result is an Oracle that costs up to 6x less than Chainlink to update and 3.5x less than Pyth (on L1 and L2). This was achieved using Schnorr signatures – to read more about that, users can check out this research report by Token Terminal.

With Scribe’s arrival on zkSync Era, builders will immediately gain access to these huge cost-saving benefits without compromising on the security, resilience, or decentralization of the Oracle network. 

Values aligned

Chronicle was the first Oracle on Ethereum back in 2017. It has long been a proponent of the “Ethereum approach”. Therefore, preserving its foundational values—freedom, self-sovereignty, and decentralization—values that both Chronicle and zkSync are built on—makes this integration a perfect fit in more ways than one. Chronicle is delighted to build together with those on the zkSync ecosystem.

If users are interested in bolstering their protocol, DeFi Dapp, or anything else with a custom Oracle designed by Chronicle, or would like to integrate any of its existing real-time price feeds, they are encouraged to reach out directly via Discord or email to [email protected].

The TL;DR on Scribe

Choosing an Oracle to secure a protocol and its TVL is the most important consideration of them all. With that in mind, Chronicle Protocol has prepared a short rundown of the questions every Oracle user should have definitive, verifiable answers to and how Scribe stacks up:

Where does the data come from?

Chronicle Scribe displays every data source in real-time and historically via The Chronicle, its on-chain dashboard. Users can pick an Oracle, choose a time and date on the graph, and click the drop-down arrow on any validator to see which exchanges were queried for the price data.

Caption: wstETH/USD Oracle sources & values

Oracle providers that use low volume and low liquidity exchanges or liquidity pools for data sources are the reason behind most DeFi protocol attacks. Every Oracle protocol should provide complete data source transparency to their users, and in a cryptographically verifiable way – not merely through words and images. Users are encouraged to seek verification rather than relyingsolely on trust.

How many validators or signers does the protocol have?

At Chronicle, protocol actors are referred to as validators. Other providers might call them signers or Oracles. These actors operate the nodes within the protocol that attest to the integrity of the reported data, such as the price of BTC/USD at a specific time.

This is how to establish truth in an Oracle network. Enough of these nodes must report back with the requested data to develop a consensus. However, if a bad actor can gain control of the majority of these nodes, they can manipulate the reported data. Therefore, the more validators or nodes an Oracle protocol has and the more distributed (or decentralized) they are, the more secure it is from being hacked. 

Using The Chronicle, anyone can see who Chronicle Protocol’s validators are, which cryptocurrency pairs or Oracles they are sourcing data for, and when their reported data was last updated.

Scribe is the first Oracle design to pioneer the use of Schnorr signatures. This allows Chronicle Protocol to scale to an unlimited number of validators. No other Oracle protocol can achieve this as they all use an implementation of ECDSA that has a linear relationship between the number of validators and the cost of operating the Oracle. 

Oracle networks constructed in this way must keep validator or signer numbers low to maintain a lower operating cost, sacrificing better security and decentralization.

Caption: A real-time view of the protocol validators from The Chronicle dashboard

Who are the protocol validators or signers

Knowing the identity of the validators is just as important as the total number. This is because an actor running a node can report any data they please. For example, they could have the node report that BTC is worth $10,000 when the market value is $40,000, creating an attack vector and draining the DeFi protocol the Oracle ‘secures.’

Therefore, decentralized and distributed nodes should be at the top of your Oracle provider shopping list unless you want your Oracle provider to have the power to drain your project. Right now, more than one Oracle provider runs all or the majority of its protocol’s nodes themselves, securing millions of dollars of TVL. Nothing stops them from draining your project if they get compromised. This is the risk of using a centralized Oracle.

At Chronicle, all of our validators are distributed and identifiable, and many are operated by well-known brands with a good reputation and track record—projects such as MakerDAO, Infura, Gnosis, Gitcoin, Etherscan, and DeFi Saver. Our goal is to create a validator community of some of the most used protocols in the space, creating a positive feedback loop of increasing security and decentralization. 

What does it cost to operate the Oracles?

Oracles are very gas-hungry. For example, every time the BTC/USD Oracle (or Feed) updates to the latest price, this has a gas cost as it is required to post the result on-chain. Regardless of L1 or L2, the more updates, the more cost, and the Oracle provider shoulders that cost. Therefore, many Oracle providers look to update the data less frequently. This creates stale data and opens up opportunities for arbitrage, with both the Dapp and the user of the Dapp losing out.

With Scribe, we have tackled the underlying engineering problem behind the high cost of operating Oracles. The result is an Oracle that costs up to 6x less than Chainlink to update and 3.5x less than Pyth (on L1 and L2). This was achieved using Schnorr signatures – to read more about that, check out this research report by Token Terminal.  

About Chronicle Protocol

Chronicle Protocol is a novel Oracle solution that has exclusively secured over $10B in assets for MakerDAO and its ecosystem since 2017. With a history of innovation, including the invention of the first Oracle on Ethereum, Chronicle Protocol continues to redefine Oracle networks. A blockchain-agnostic protocol, Chronicle overcomes the current limitations of transferring data on-chain by developing the first truly scalable, cost-efficient, decentralized, and verifiable Oracles, rewriting the rulebook on data transparency and accessibility.

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Peter Padovano
[email protected]

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