How To Use API3 In University Research

Why use API3 in your research

Blockchain oracles are a fascinating academic research topic and play an essential role in the Web3. Oracles span subjects such as computer science, engineering, economics, and finance. API3 offers researchers the opportunity to contribute to this burgeoning subject by identifying and solving difficult problems that help make API3 a better oracle.

Smart contract platforms such as Ethereum are viewed as world computers that enable permissionless, trustless computing. Being globally distributed and requiring consensus to execute helps ensure their security and resilience but it also introduces a problem.

Smart contracts can only use inputs that already exist on the blockchain. They can’t just call web APIs to get off-chain data or interact with businesses like traditional computers do.

The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is a Turing-complete computer. The fundamental components of any computing system are:

  • Processing (Computation)
  • Storage (Memory)
  • I/O (Inputs & Outputs)

Smart contract platforms are very good at computation and storage but they’re very bad at I/O. They’re designed for secure, trustless computation and immutable storage. They rely on oracles for I/O. That’s why the oracle problem is so important. I/O is a bottleneck, or weak link, that severely limits smart contracts and Web3.

How to use API3 in your research

You don’t need permission to use Airnode, the first-party oracle node software, in your research. Airnode is open source and free to use under the MIT License. The API3 DAO is here to support you along the way. Examples of how you might utilize API3 and Airnode in your work are:

  • Use Airnode to run a blockchain oracle experiment
  • Use Airnode to build a proof-of-concept demonstrating your oracle idea
  • Develop a valuable enhancement to Airnode or other API3 software
  • Use Airnode to commercialize your Web3 research
  • Use the API3 DAO as the subject of your research on DAO governance

Of course, these are just examples. How you work with API3 and Airnode depends on your research goals and is entirely up to you. Just know that the API3 DAO is here to help. Say hello and ask questions in the API3 Discord.

How to apply for API3 university grants

As a DAO, API3 determines how to allocate funds openly on the API3 Forum and by voting on DAO proposals. Researchers can apply for a university grant to fund their work by submitting a proposal on the API3 DAO.

Your proposal should answer the following questions at a minimum:

  • What are you trying to answer, solve or accomplish?
  • Why is this valuable to Web3 and the API3 DAO?
  • How do you intend to perform your research?
  • How will you use the funding if your proposal passes?
  • When do you expect to start and complete the project?
  • Which university and department are you affiliated with?
  • What background or relevant previous work do you and your team have?

The steps to submit a proposal for a university research grant are:

  1. Post your idea in the forum to discuss it with the DAO and get feedback. For early-stage or abstract ideas, post in the Ideas category and discuss to flush it out with others.
  2. When your idea is concrete and ready to submit as a proposal, post it in (or move it to) the Governance Meta category to do a sentiment check on whether your proposal is likely to pass.
  3. If/when you feel you have enough support for your proposal to pass, submit it as an Official Proposal on the API3 DAO. A DAO proposal template is available here. Instructions on how to submit a proposal are available here. You need to have at least 0.1% voting power in the API3 DAO to submit a proposal. If you don’t then you can ask a DAO member to “sponsor” your proposal by submitting it for you.
  4. If your proposal passes then you will need to execute it in order to transfer the funds to your Web3 wallet.
  5. Deliver what you promised in your proposal. This is the most important step! Make sure to report your progress to the DAO throughout your project and never hesitate to ask questions or for help along the way.

That’s how it’s done. If your research is successful then the API3 DAO will make an effort help you publicize it and expand upon it. If you’re interested in commercializing it, we’ll help with that too.

The API3 DAO is committed to advancing the blockchain oracle space and pushing the limits in both theory and practice. We recognize that university research is a crucial ingredient in achieving this. API3 university grants are a win-win for both the researcher and the API3 DAO.