Chainlink Achieves Major Scalability Upgrade With Mainnet Launch of Off-Chain Reporting (OCR)

We’re excited to announce that after over a year of development and numerous security audits, Chainlink Off-Chain Reporting (OCR) has officially launched on mainnet, marking a major milestone in the scalability of Chainlink’s decentralized oracle networks. OCR significantly improves the efficiency of how data is computed across Chainlink oracles, reducing operating costs by up to 90% and enabling the Chainlink Network to accelerate the development of universally connected smart contracts both in DeFi markets and across various other industries.

The most immediate benefit to DeFi and its users will be a 10x increase in the amount of real-world data that can be made available to smart contract applications. This massive increase in on-chain data will enable another wave of innovation across DeFi, decentralized insurance, blockchain-based gaming, and numerous other sectors, as smart contract developers leverage newly available datasets for a wider range of financial products and markets.

While the Chainlink Network has already been rapidly increasing the amount of data it provides on-chain through the continual rollout of Price Feeds, Proof of Reserve, verifiable randomness (VRF), and more, OCR’s scalability improvements will massively accelerate that trend. With OCR, smart contract developers will have greater access to external data across a more diverse set of assets, real-world events, and blockchains, allowing them to service new industries and unique use cases.

Smart contracts in the Chainlink ecosystem
Chainlink OCR will further accelerate the number of smart contracts in the Chainlink ecosystem.

Additional Benefits of OCR

OCR is the third and latest version of the Chainlink Core client run by Chainlink nodes. Importantly, all Chainlink nodes operating in-production will now be running OCR and FluxMonitor clients in parallel to generate both scalability and security through redundancy. Multi-client diversity ensures automatic failover protection in the event of any potential black swan event, further enhancing the hyper-reliability of the Chainlink Network at all times.

In addition to supplying more data on-chain through the launch of new oracle networks, OCR brings a variety of other notable enhancements to the Chainlink Network:

  • Increased decentralization of oracle networks to generate additional accuracy, availability, and tamperproofness for Chainlink users.
  • Higher frequency on-chain oracle updates to provide even more precise and up-to-date data to smart contract applications that may be more sensitive to small price movements.
  • Cost-efficient onboarding of new nodes to further decentralize participation in oracle services run on the Chainlink Network.
  • Reduced on-chain network congestion by lessening the load Chainlink oracle networks place on high-demand blockchain networks like Ethereum.
  • Reduced oracle network latency to ensure data is rapidly provided to smart contracts even during blockchain network congestion and extreme market volatility.

The Foundation for Trust Minimized Off-Chain Computation and More Advanced Smart Contract Applications

These order of magnitude improvements in scalability, security, and performance from OCR are enabled by Chainlink nodes now being able to communicate off-chain, allowing them to aggregate data at zero gas costs using a distributed peer-to-peer network. This involves each node fetching data from one or multiple data sources, signing it with their unique private key, and broadcasting it to the rest of the oracle network off-chain. Once a sufficient threshold of responses have been generated, a single transaction is transmitted on-chain containing every node’s observation. The oracle report and node signatures are then validated on-chain by a smart contract, preserving the transparent and tamper-resistant properties that are foundational to Chainlink oracle networks. With OCR, smart contracts can then consume this validated data on-chain just as they do today, providing a seamless network upgrade experience.

Chainlink OCR Is Live on Mainnet Across Numerous Oracle Networks
Chainlink OCR scales oracle networks by aggregating data off-chain and submitting only a single transaction on-chain.

For those wanting a technical deep dive into the computer science, security assumptions, and architecture underpinning OCR, please refer to the Chainlink OCR protocol paper, recently published by the research and development team.

OCR will also set the foundation for Chainlink oracle networks to perform new types of off-chain computation in a scalable, efficient, and cost-effective manner. Whether it’s combining numerous data types to build on-chain indexes or calculating insurance quotes using a variety of parameters, OCR will allow the Chainlink Network to provide smart contracts with a more advanced and broader range of trust-minimized computations, further enabling smart contract applications to generate real-world value for users across different industries.

For example, OCR will be used as the computation framework for Chainlink-powered oracle networks to start supporting Fair Sequencing Services (FSS) and DECO at scale for a cost-efficient price. This will allow oracles to process large amounts of transaction volume to fairly order transactions from a high-volume mempool, as well as generate distributed keys and zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs) for data privacy.

OCR has already been deployed on mainnet across a number of Chainlink Price Feeds, such as the widely used LINK/USD Feed, and will continue to be rolled out to all existing and future Price Feed oracle networks going forward.

Chainlink LINK/USD OCR Price Feed with 22 security reviewed nodes.
Chainlink LINK/USD OCR Price Feed with 22 security reviewed nodes.

The launch of OCR represents the single most significant upgrade in the history of the Chainlink Network, serving as the foundation from which to accelerate the launch of additional oracle networks for DeFi and the smart contract ecosystem as a whole. With this increase in the amount and scope of data being brought on-chain, we’re excited to see what innovative new smart contract applications will be constructed as a result.

To join the discussion around OCR and its impact with other researchers and engineers across the community, visit the OCR Protocol Research Summary on the Smart Contract Research Forum.

If you are a developer and want to integrate a Chainlink Price Feed, request a new feed, or build a custom oracle solution, explore Chainlink’s technical documentation, join the official Discord, or talk to an expert.

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