Technical6 min read

What is Scribe? The novel Oracle by Chronicle

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Angus Tookey·

Chronicle Protocol has a long history. Born in 2017, it is still one of the oldest, continuously operating protocols in the space. Scribe, on the other hand, is new and novel. But what is it? In this short piece, we will dive deeper into this novel Oracle design recently launched by the core contributors to Chronicle Protocol, Chronicle Labs.

What is the Scribe Oracle?

Scribe is the name for a new type of Oracle architecture developed by the team at Chronicle Labs. The design is built around 5 pillars:

  • Scalability
  • Transparency
  • Accessibility
  • Resilience
  • Security

Scribe v1 achieves significant progress towards each pillar; however, there are more features planned that will further enhance Scribe’s STARS.

What is different about Scribe?

Prior to Scribe, architecturally, all blockchain Oracles used a standalone implementation of the elliptic curve digital signature algorithm (ECDSA) to generate public keys to cryptographically authenticate the identity of the signer or validator and, therefore, the integrity of the reported data.

Scribe uses a novel application of Schnorr Signature cryptography, a signature, and key aggregation algorithm to create a single ‘super signature’, which is then authenticated via ECDSA.

Why is this an Oracle design breakthrough?

The original or ‘vanilla’ ECDSA design created a tradeoff for Oracle designers. The more signers or validators that an Oracle protocol has, the more it would cost the Oracle builder/operator to update the latest reported data of the Oracle.

This is because every signer or validator must individually sign ‘the message’ (the latest reported data) to attest to its integrity.

This left a simple trade-off for designers:

A cheap-to-operate Oracle

Benefit: A low cost to update the Oracle (and therefore a low operating cost for the Oracle provider). This is achieved by having less signers attesting to the data.

Cost: Lower security and decentralization of the Oracle protocol.


A very secure and decentralized Oracle

Advantage: Highly secure and decentralized Oracle protocol

Disadvantage: A high cost to update the Oracle

As a result of this trade-off, an Oracle protocol could never have high security and decentralization, and low operational cost.

The goal with Scribe was to eliminate this tradeoff. Creating the first Oracle that could support a huge number of validators and post updated data on-chain at a low cost.

The result is an Oracle that can have unlimited validators and costs 6x less to update than Chainlink, and 3.5x less than Pyth (on L1 & L2), making it the most secure, decentralized, and cost-efficient option available - by a very long way.

A table displaying a scenario where each Oracle protocol has X number of validators and the cost in gas and USD to post an Oracle update on-chain
A table displaying a scenario where each Oracle protocol has X number of validators and the cost in gas and USD to post an Oracle update on-chain

Scribe is also designed to be verifiable. What does this mean?

Currently, blockchain Oracles operate like black boxes, presenting you with the data you require but no context as to where that data originated, who attested to the integrity of the data, or how the final value was calculated.

Scribe, combined with The Chronicle, our on-chain dashboard, allows anyone to trace the journey of the Oracle reported data end-to-end and cryptographically verify its integrity.

Chronicle is the first and only Oracle Protocol to offer this level of transparency
Chronicle is the first and only Oracle Protocol to offer this level of transparency

What does this mean for Oracle users?

Quite simply, Oracles are integral to the use of data on-chain but how they are implemented, and by who, is more complex. In some instances, Blockchain Foundations will cover the cost of implementing Oracles to ensure the tools are available to their ecosystem and free to use. Naturally, this incentivizes builders to deploy. In other cases, Dapps and Projects pay directly in a bilateral agreement.

For Blockchains

Where Blockchain Foundations subsidize the cost of Oracles for their ecosystem, Scribe unlocks huge benefits. This subsidy is used to cover gas fees of operating Oracles on the chain, with Scribe’s breakthrough in gas usage reduction, a Scribe Oracle can run for 80% longer than a Chainlink Oracle for the same subsidy ($). This gives new chains a considerably longer runway to build out their Oracle reliant ecosystem, such as DeFi, and attract users.

The unmatched transparency and verifiability of Chronicle Protocol also represents a huge benefit for blockchains that also share these core values. As the first and only Oracle protocol to offer this level of transparency, this enables blockchain teams to demonstrate their commitment to operating a verifiable and decentralized ecosystem.

Finally, with the ability to scale to unlimited validators, the Scribe Oracle architecture provides incomparable security, providing blockchain teams with the assurance to safely build and scale their ecosystem.

For Dapps and Projects

Individual Dapps and projects can benefit from many of the same features that the blockchain foundations do, including Scribe’s gas usage reduction, which is passed on to the end user in the form of more competitive and affordable Oracle implementation and subscription costs. And the unmatchable levels of security.

Scribe has also been designed with accessibility in mind. The iChronicle interface is plug and play for protocols that are already using Chainlink or our MakerDAO Oracles, simply swap out the contract address and you’re good to go.

Chronicle’s end-to-end verifiability enables DeFi dapps with liquidation functionality to offer unrivalled transparency. There are many examples of poorly designed blockchain Oracles reporting inaccurate price data, which has led to the illegitimate liquidation of users of DeFi products. There is never a question of whether the Chronicle Oracle was operating as intended, every aspect of any reported data is verifiable via the on-chain dashboard, and legible to all blockchain users regardless of expertise.

That’s Scribe

This piece has been written to provide a high-level, yet moderately technical, overview of the Scribe Oracle. For a more in-depth technical analysis, take a look at these research articles by Messari and Token Terminal:

Messari Protocol Reporting:

Token Terminal Research:

About Chronicle Protocol

Chronicle Protocol is a novel Oracle solution that has exclusively secured over $10B in assets for MakerDAO and its ecosystem since 2017. With a history of innovation, including the invention of the first Oracle on Ethereum, Chronicle Protocol continues to redefine Oracles. A blockchain-agnostic protocol, Chronicle overcomes the current limitations of transferring data on-chain by developing the first truly scalable, cost-efficient, decentralized, and verifiable Oracles, rewriting the rulebook on data transparency and accessibility.

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