Trustless Data to Power Dapps

Space and Time is powering dapps with cryptographically guaranteed data from on-chain and off-chain sources

Catherine Hickox

Content Lead

If you’ve been following along with the Space and Time project, you’ve probably heard the phrase “joining on-chain and off-chain data,” which refers to data that lives on the blockchain and data that lives outside of the blockchain. This is a core function of Space and Time, which uniquely allows both types of data to be joined in a single query. But why is this important, and what is it really empowering for developers?

On-chain data: transparent and verifiable

A blockchain is a decentralized, digital ledger that records transactions in a secure, transparent, and verifiable way. Blockchains are decentralized, meaning they’re operated by a distributed network, not a central authority. The data stored on the blockchain is tamperproof and can be easily accessed and verified by anyone. By storing data on-chain, businesses create a single source of truth that can be used to inform decision-making and improve transparency. This data is used to power decentralized applications, or dapps, to expand the ways in which blockchain technology can be used in the world.

Off-chain data: real-world insight

But blockchains are very limited in the amount and type of data they can store. Some data, such as large datasets or private information, may be too big or too sensitive to be stored on a blockchain. In this case, the data must be stored off-chain, in a separate database or storage system. This data—referred to as “off-chain data”—can come from a variety of sources, including enterprise data systems, real-time sensors, or gameplay.

In order to power real-world use cases, dapps need to be able to leverage both on-chain and off-chain data. For example, a supply chain management dapp could use transaction data stored on the blockchain to track the movement of goods through the supply chain. But to get a complete picture of the supply chain, the dapp would also need access to off-chain data, such as weather data, traffic data, and other real-time information. By combining on-chain and off-chain data, the dapp could provide a more accurate and comprehensive view of the supply chain.

But off-chain data today sits in centralized, tamperable databases. And there’s no way to guarantee that the query results coming out of these databases haven’t been manipulated. 

Joining on-chain and off-chain data

Space and Time is the first decentralized data warehouse that combines on-chain and off-chain data in a tamperproof environment. Space and Time indexes all major blockchains and normalizes the data into a relational, queryable state. Developers can load off-chain data from any centralized source and join it with blockchain-data in a single query.

Space and Time employs a patented novel cryptography called Proof of SQL™ to produce a verifiably tamperproof result, proving that each query computation was run accurately and that the underlying data hasn’t been tampered with. With Space and Time, developers can join trustless on-chain and off-chain data in a simple SQL format and load the result directly to smart contracts to power their dapps—all within a single, community-operated data platform.

Blockchain technology and decentralized applications have empowered a step change in online security, transparency, and traceability, enabling new use cases for every industry in the world. By bridging the gap between on-chain and off-chain data, Space and Time provides dapps a more complete and accurate view of the world, which can in turn help organizations make better decisions and improve transparency. As the use of blockchain technology continues to grow, the need to integrate off-chain data with on-chain data will only become more important. Space and Time is bringing cryptographically guaranteed on-chain and off-chain data to Web3.

This article is also available to read on Medium.

Catherine Hickox

Content Lead

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