API3 will connect decentralized applications with the abundant data and services offered by traditional Web APIs, thereby expanding the applicability of the blockchain without sacrificing decentralization. This will be achieved by dAPIs—fully decentralized and blockchain-native APIs—which will be set up, managed, and monetized at scale by the API3 DAO.
The API3 solution embodies a variety of qualities by design. The most important one among these is security. dAPIs do not depend on third-party oracles, which are a constant and significant risk factor in the alternative solutions. In addition, the dAPI insurance service provides quantifiable and trustless security guarantees to its users, further cementing API3’s place as the most secure solution to receiving API services as a decentralized application.
The second quality of the API3 solution is robustness on multiple levels. Airnode uses serverless technology, which is highly resistant against downtime. Paired with a stateless node design that is not easily affected by bugs or adverse network conditions, API3 oracles are engineered for robustness. Moreover, the dAPIs will be governed by a DAO that maintains a self-regulating balance of risk and reward through well-engineered incentives, which provides a robust risk mitigation framework. dAPIs eliminate the middlemen, which grants them their third quality, cost-efficiency. They do not have to pay the middleman tax, which is the payment made to third-party oracles to incentivize them against attempting an attack. In addition, data feeds composed of first-party oracles do not require over-redundancy at the oracle level. By achieving the same level of decentralization with fewer oracles, dAPIs provide very significant savings in gas costs.
Finally, the API3 solution achieves flexibility through complete decentralization of governance to parties with real skin in the game. As a result, the project will never be limited by what is put forth in this paper, and will evolve constantly to meet new challenges and needs. The first generation of decentralized applications were limited to the confines of the blockchain. Today, we have decentralized applications that can interact with the off-chain world in a limited and pseudo-decentralized way. API3 will power the next evolutionary wave—the third generation of decentralized applications that valuably interact with the off-chain world, leveraging APIs in a truly decentralized and trust-minimized way.