📂 Introduction

# Why use Airnode?

Table of Contents

API3 embraces the ideology of a decentralized web and the power of open source. Furthermore it believes that the oracle problem is ill-posed (opens new window) and instead, the problem to be solved is how to connect APIs to the blockchain. Airnode is a first-party oracle solution that addresses this problem. Like all design decisions, however, the advantages presented below have tradeoffs that should be understood.

# Advantages

  • First-party - First-party oracles overcome the significant disadvantages of third-party oracle node solutions that use middlemen to deliver APIs to the blockchain.
  • Simple - Airnode's simple "set and forget" design avoids the time, complexity, and cost of other third-party oracle node solutions.
  • Stateless - Airnode is stateless and treats the blockchain as the single source of truth. This alone solves the majority of operational problems of traditional third-party oracle nodes while providing an overall higher level of simplicity.
  • Transformative - By not requiring Airnode operators to own any cryptocurrency, API3 provides countless traditional API providers access to the rapidly growing blockchain market and to innovative use cases for their data. To enable this, Airnode protocols are designed in way that requesters (contracts making the requests) specify a sponsor (account that sponsors the transaction) to pay for the response transaction.
  • Open source - Airnode and other API3 projects are developed on github (opens new window).
  • Secure - Airnode is inherently more secure than other solutions due to its stateless nature. Nonetheless, API3 remains highly focused on security and has a track record of favorable external security audits (opens new window).
  • Free - API3 does not charge for deploying and using Airnode. Under the AWS lambda free tier, operating an Airnode can even be free.

# Tradeoffs

  • Requires knowledge - Some knowledge about how Airnode works is inherently necessary. The API provider needs to understand how to configure the Airnode for successful deployment, while requesters need to understand how to make the requests. API3 aims to make this as convenient as possible for both parties.
  • Airnode becomes a vendor - When an API provider begins using Airnode, they become a "vendor" and therefore forfeit some control over technical aspects of API delivery.
  • Higher response time for requests - Airnode is designed to periodically wake up, check for any new requests, and process them. This means that there is a window in which Airnode "sleeps". This is generally not problematic since the specific time a response transaction is recorded on-chain is never guaranteed and this "sleep time" is configurable.

# Conclusion

The advantages that Airnode provides should greatly outweigh the tradeoffs for the large majority of use cases.

Last Updated: 8/9/2022, 2:28:25 PM