We’re excited to announce that the Atlas CORP — a Web3 development team building the technical framework for a growing list of NFT communities — has integrated Chainlink Verifiable Random Function (VRF) and Chainlink Data Feeds on Ethereum mainnet. By integrating the industry-leading decentralized oracle network, we now have access to a tamper-proof and auditable source of real-world sports data being brought into an NFT protocol. Ultimately this creates a more exciting and transparent user experience, as users can interact with a smart contract protocol whose mechanisms can be triggered by real-world events.
Squares on Chain is a web3 implementation of a popular game played by friends during a big American Football event, typically the Super Bowl. Each group of friends has their own set of traditions as to how they play, but it generally involves a 10x10 grid of squares.
This 10x10 grid of 100 unlabeled squares are sold or otherwise distributed to the participants prior to the sporting event. Each participant will have their name written in the square — on a looseleaf sheet of paper or a majestically decorated poster board — to be marked as owners of their square for all to see. A prize pool is either created by user buy-ins (e.g. $X per square), a sponsorship, or with an item that rotates yearly from winner to winner. The prize is then up for grabs as the game occurs in real time.
The rows and the columns of the 10x10 grid are then assigned numbers 0–9 randomly (0–9 along the top, and 0–9 along the side), representing the “ones digit” of the score of each team. If columns (the numbers along the top) represent the score of one team, then the rows (the numbers along the side) represent the score of the other team. These numbers have historically been assigned randomly by (literally) picking numbers out of a hat, homemade spinners, or other creative means.
Winners may be selected for the final score, or quarterly, often with overweighted half and final. For example, consider the 1/1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 chance that the numbers are selected perfectly in order [0–9], [0–9]. If the prizes are quarterly, a Q1 final score of 0–3 (home-away) would be won by the owner of the square that was assigned square #3/100 if home runs along the side (or square #21 if home runs along the top), and they would be entitled to a percent of the prize pool. This is repeated for quarters 2–4, with any overtime often lumped into the 4th quarter.
Football Squares are a very effective way to get a group to pay close attention to a football match. By giving an additional reason to care about the outcome of a game, beyond allegiance to a certain team, now you care about either or both sides scoring as it can help you win the game. With more people in the group caring about the game, the event becomes even more fun.
As the Atlas CORP notes, “For those playing at home, this is also a metaphor for what we strive to do at Atlas Corp. When more people care about the game, it’s more fun for everyone.”
While the Super Bowl for this year is over, utility may still accrue to Squares NFT holders as plans are already being made for next year’s big game.
In order to fairly select the scores on the game board, secure access to a secure random number generator (RNG) is needed that any user could independently audit. However, RNG solutions for smart contracts require several security considerations to prevent manipulation and ensure system integrity. For instance, RNG solutions derived from blockchain data like block hashes can be exploited by miners/validators, while off-chain RNG solutions derived from off-chain APIs are opaque and don’t provide users with definitive proof about the integrity of the process.
After reviewing various solutions, Atlas CORP selected Chainlink VRF because it’s based on cutting-edge academic research, supported by a time-tested oracle network, and secured through the generation and on-chain verification of cryptographic proofs that prove the integrity of each random number supplied to smart contracts.
Chainlink VRF works by combining block data that is still unknown when the request is made with the oracle node’s pre-committed private key to generate both a random number and a cryptographic proof. The Squares on Chain smart contract will only accept the random number input if it has a valid cryptographic proof, and the cryptographic proof can only be generated if the VRF process is tamper-proof. This provides our users with automated and verifiable assurances directly on-chain that the Squares on Chain board is provably fair and was not tampered with by the oracle, outside entities, or the Atlas Corporation team.
Beyond VRF, Atlas CORP integrated another Chainlink trust-minimized service, Chainlink Generalized Off-Chain Data Feeds, since users don’t want to trust a centralized authority to report the score. Application errors, whether they’re malicious or accidental, are not something users want to be exposed to in the Web3 ecosystem. As such, a way to reliably get the data about the score of the game on-chain without any human intervention or the possibility of manipulation by outside forces was needed. Just like the random numbers used for selecting scores on the game board, this data is retrieved from Chainlink.
The initial integration involves the use of NFL scores from Chainlink Data Feeds. Atlas Corp chose Chainlink as a go-to oracle solution because its infrastructure is seamless to integrate and time-tested in production. Chainlink already helps secure leading DeFi protocols responsible for tens of billions of dollars in smart contract value, maintaining robust security and high availability even amidst unexpected events, such as exchange downtime, flash crashes, and data manipulation attacks via flash loans.
“For our Squares on Chain game, we utilize an entity called an oracle to deliver off-chain sports data on-chain to be consumed by our application. The high-quality sports data is aggregated from multiple sources, including from our trusted partner and Chainlink node operator Sportsdata.io. As a part of a world-class network of node operators powering the Chainlink Network, Sportsdata.io delivers smart contract applications reliable and transparent data on the score of sports games, which we integrated into our platform.” — howieDoin, Atlas CORP
Chainlink is the industry standard for building, accessing, and selling oracle services needed to power hybrid smart contracts on any blockchain. Chainlink oracle networks provide smart contracts with a way to reliably connect to any external API and leverage secure off-chain computations for enabling feature-rich applications. Chainlink currently secures tens of billions of dollars across DeFi, insurance, gaming, and other major industries, and offers global enterprises and leading data providers a universal gateway to all blockchains.
Learn more about Chainlink by visiting chain.link or reading the developer documentation at docs.chain.link. To discuss an integration, reach out to an expert.
About Atlas CORP
The Atlas CORP is an international, decentralized collective of web3 developers and innovators. Atlas CORP designs and builds smart contract protocols, NFT community-building consultation, and metaverse infrastructure. The Atlas CORP is headquartered in Miami, FL and Decentraland where they are the only coal plant operators in the metaverse.