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Chainlink's new platform lets web3 projects connect to Web 2.0 systems like AWS and Meta

Chainlink, a web3 services platform, is launching a self-service, serverless platform to help developers connect their decentralized applications (dApps) or smart contracts to any Web 2.0 API, the company exclusively told TechCrunch.

The new platform, Chainlink Functions, also lets builders run customizable computations on Web 2.0 APIs within minutes through its network, Kemal El Moujahid, chief product officer at Chainlink Labs, told TechCrunch.

“Our goal is to enable developers to combine the best of web3 smart contracts with the power of Web 2.0 APIs,” El Moujahid said. “What this creates is a massive opportunity to build apps that combine the best of smart contracts and Web 2.0.”

Chainlink is known for its Ethereum-focused protocol that provides an oracle network to power smart contracts. Basically, it connects on-chain data with external systems to enable smart contracts to execute transactions based on real-world inputs and outputs. The platform has enabled more than $7 trillion in transaction value since mid-February, according to its website.

Today, there are about a few hundred thousand developers building various types of applications on the blockchain, but there are about 30 million total developers in the world, El Moujahid noted.

Chainlink Functions hopes to be the bridge between the two parties to create mass adoption. “Web3 is not going to be a binary thing. I’ve seen this in AI,” he said. “The path to mass adoption was making it easy to embed AI into your apps. It’s the same with web3. You don’t have to build your entire app on-chain. It’s going to be a spectrum: part smart contract; part Web 2.0 APIs.”

In general, there has been rising demand for connecting blockchain technology with more traditional models and software like SaaS or APIs, but there are limited ways for dApps to integrate with them.

“Web3 developers are limited by what smart contracts can do, because they can’t access Web 2.0 APIs,” El Moujahid said. “And Web 2.0 developers are interested in building new services with web3 properties, but they don’t want to have to rebuild their tools and infrastructure.”

This new platform also supports more widely used programming languages like JavaScript so that developers who are new to web3 can get into the space. It will also provide integrations to Amazon Web Services (AWS), Meta and others.

It “enables the millions of developers who use AWS and Meta APIs to build web3 apps,” he added. “This will enable developers to explore new use cases and disrupt new industries at a much faster pace.”

For example, web3 developers using the platform can integrate with AWS Data Exchange and AWS Lambda and access datasets through their marketplace, which can expand their dApps’ opportunities and use cases.

With Meta for example, web3 developers can connect social media activities and small e-commerce businesses with a smart contract using Chainlink Functions and automatically trigger actions on-chain based on off-chain activities.

“Smart contracts let developers build services that are decentralized and secure,” El Moujahid said. “Services that, unlike centralized platforms, are provably fair to their users because they can’t be shut down or unilaterally change the rules of the game. Services that can secure and move billions of dollars of value. But these services can’t have real-world impact if they can’t connect to Web2 data or services.”

The platform’s serverless nature also means developers can stop worrying “about the overhead of managing and securing the infrastructure on which their code will run,” El Moujahid said.

“All they have to do is write a few lines of code in JavaScript and it runs on Chainlink infrastructure automatically,” he added. “We abstracted away all this complexity to let developers focus on their business logic. This is very much like what cloud services such as AWS Lambda and Google Cloud Functions have done for cloud developers.”

The platform is currently in private beta mode on Ethereum and Polygon test nets. Chainlink plans to expand its functionality to more blockchains, add new integrations and tools and launch on the mainnet “as soon as possible,” El Moujahid said.