What is reality? And what is true? Does a tree that falls make a sound if no one is there to observe it? The weird part about the quantum realm is that our very observation of an event seems to define that event at the atomic level (which makes up everything). The truth and what IS… is weird (at least standing around as a human looking out into the reality that, I guess, we’re creating).
In the Marvel universe, this is captured in an extremely interesting way with the Reality Stone. When Thanos obtains this stone in the latest Avengers saga, he is able to change the perception of reality to whatever he wishes. As it turns out, reality is just that: the perception of a thing.
Which brings us to oracles on the blockchain. One of the greatest fascinations in our space is identifying what’s happening on one blockchain from another (Cosmos, Plasma, etc) or outside a blockchain within a given chain (interest rates, housing prices, Kanye’s next hit single, etc). But this is mostly based on consensus. Essentially that’s just what a group of people or bots, who usually happen to hold a certain token, agree they are perceiving. The trouble with oracles and mechanisms that try to bring “real-world” events onto a blockchain is that they are not merely solving a technical problem… but a philosophical one. What actually happened? What is, indeed happening. One great case is with Augur and the many mishaps in its history where people bet on an event’s result (like elections), were right about the outcome of certain events, and then proceeded to lose money because an oracle on the blockchain said the event happened in a different way than it actually did (or at least as most of us perceived it in our collective reality). One big case here that preceded Augur was the election of George W. Bush in the US, after he actually lost the election to Al Gore, but due to a strange set of events regarding truth, became president anyway.
Which brings us to the Reality Stone. We need one. Not just for the blockchain, but for almost everything that’s important and that we have a stake in. Elections, insurance claims, retailer “deals”, tax refunds, medical bills, etc. Today we use a crude set of archaic mechanisms and institutions to define what happened and what should be the consequent result. Someone we should trust (like a certain news anchor, insurance claim investigator, government employee, or so forth) might state something and it can quickly become fact, our reality.
We can do better. And this is where OrFeed comes in. OrFeed is an oracle aggregator that pulls in data from many sources about events (like prices, sporting event outcomes, and more) and has the ability to assist others to create permanent records, leveraging blockchain technology, that can stand the test of time and help define reality in a fairer way than we have known previously. OrFeed is by no means perfect today. However, it has been architected with this concept in mind. Further, many projects are seeking to do this. OrFeed is indeed not alone. What makes OrFeed unique is its ability to tap into these other projects under a single protocol. Further, OrFeed is free to access and does not require cryptocurrency to pay for most common truths. Sure, it supports payments from hedge funders and bankers who might need exotic bond prices and those who seek to profit from different truths in prices on different platforms through arbitrage for sustenance, but I think we’re all okay with that. In addition to supporting many points of view of the truth, it is built to be extendable, permanently improvable, open, and inhabitable by a confined-to-anti-corruption DAO (or for the less geeky, Decentralized Autonomous Organization).
People often say history is written by the victors. Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of blockchain technology will be our ability as a species to circumvent well-known trappings such as sayings like this, creating a new, perhaps improved reality.