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"Chainlink Functions" launches to simplify the Web2 to Web3 transition

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(Kitco News) - Chainlink, the leading blockchain oracle and data provider, has announced the beta release of Chainlink Functions, a serverless platform that enables developers to connect a smart contract to any Web2 API and run custom computations.

Up to this point, Web3 developers have been unable to connect their smart contracts to existing Web2 APIs for things like accessing social media signals, AI computation, or messaging services. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Web2 developers have been unable to leverage their existing Web2 infrastructure when planning to build a Web3 app.

The launch of Chainlink Functions helps to solve these issues by “providing the missing piece developers need to build these powerful hybrid applications,” the announcement said. “Chainlink Functions acts as a decentralized compute runtime to test, simulate, and run custom logic off-chain for Web3 applications.”

Several leading cloud and Web2 platforms – including AWS, Meta and Google Cloud – collaborated with Chainlink by providing example use cases to demonstrate how developers can use the new platform to easily connect Web2 APIs and cloud services in their smart contract.

According to the oracle provider, multiple crypto projects, such as Block Scholes, ChainML, Dopex, Nusic and Thirdweb, are already testing the new platform “across a wide range of Web3 verticals from AI integrations to DAO governance.”

“With Chainlink Functions, Web3 developers can quickly and securely build connections from smart contracts to off-chain resources on a self-serve basis without having to run their own infrastructure,” Chainlink said. “All they need to do is define which external data sources they want to access (e.g. weather, sports), how those data points should be transformed (e.g. median value), and where the output should be delivered (e.g. an Ethereum smart contract).”

Functions allows developers to focus on building their decentralized applications (dapps) while the Chainlink network handles connectivity, security and reliability. “Chainlink Functions is a truly self-serve platform, meaning developers can fulfill their external data and compute needs without having to interface with Chainlink Labs or Chainlink node operators,” the announcement said.

The benefits of building with Chainlink Functions include extensive smart contract connectivity, customizable computation, trust-minimized security, the ability to get started in minutes, and a serverless runtime environment that reduces the need for costly infrastructure.

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One of the main goals of the new service is to entice more of the 30 million developers that exist worldwide to begin building various types of applications on blockchain networks.

“Today, there are about a few hundred thousand developers building various types of applications on blockchain networks,” Chainlink said. “For blockchains to become as ubiquitous as the cloud, or even AI, we need to continue to remove the barriers that exist in the Web3 developer experience. Lack of access to API data is one of those fundamental problems that Chainlink Functions solves.”

Chainlink Functions simplifies the process of getting smart contracts connected off-chain in minutes, Chainlink wrote. “This paves the way for new and more advanced Web3 applications that combine the value already present in traditional systems and technologies with the benefits of transparency, security, and efficiency that blockchains uniquely afford.”

Developers interested in testing out the new platform can now sign up to receive access to the beta version, which is currently live on the Ethereum Sepolia and Polygon Mumbai testnets.

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