Single-use and Disposable Oracles
The Airnode’s zero upfront cost serverless structure opens web3 gateway usecases previously ignored due to a lack of cost effectiveness in other oracle nodes’ deployment and maintenance. Perhaps most notably, API providers can deploy Airnodes to serve potential smart contract and dApp usecases without (i) upfront investment in crypto assets that must be staked to enable usage (just de minimus gas for deployment, which can be provided by any third party sponsor), or (ii) needing any market research — the Airnode will simply wait, dormant, for activation by a dApp’s or smart contract’s request offering payment and fulfillment. API-web3 connection and monetization has never been so frictionless.
However, this ease of web3 gateway access opens up new oracle utilities as well: consider some of the usecases for first-party oracle nodes that might be deployed and ignored or discarded (or authorization time-limited) at will due to the cost-effectiveness and ease of deployment of the Airnode. Experimentation is encouraged, so edge usecases or APIs that might have limited imaginative usecases might be activated via Airnode anyway, increasing data availability in web3 and spawning unforeseen dApps and services. Further, while maintaining a public providerID is necessary for designated wallets or address verification for publicly-solicited APIs in request-response, rotating deployment addresses for single-use Airnodes provides some opsec and privacy improvements. Further still, the ability to deploy temporary low-cost low-maintenance oracles allow data providers to get even more creative with their data assets by wrapping Airnodes in SPV entities, the proceeds of which might be securitized/tokenized themselves down the road; this is hinted in the latest API3 Operations Update which notes some form documents are being promulgated to permit data providers to “contain/segregate their Airnode-related assets and proceeds and any accompanying risk from parent entities.” Segregating assets not only insulates risk; it also opens the door for second order financial products on top.
As noted in the recent Redefining Trust: Smart Escrow Contracts article, the Airnode software might be deployed as an API gateway to and from a fiat account to a crypto API like Digital Asset Management, Wyre or Coinbase Commerce (or for banks that offer crypto settlement natively), or a settlement network/aggregator like Fireblocks. This would obviate institutional risk concerns in direct blockchain/smart contract interaction (by shifting the risk to the API/settlement provider), while still minimizing third party friction/costs/security compromises. A new Airnode might be deployed for each transaction, or even for each transfer in a series of transactions, especially where different payor or recipient accounts are involved. This is an absolutely massive opportunity for the API3-Open Bank Project collaboration.
Another beauty of the Airnode design and API3 incentive system: value is not dependent solely upon mainnet public blockchain usage. Security, quality, structuring, and insurance guarantees for API gateways to permissioned networks are also important, and in some cases may outpace willingness to pay for service to public chains if the data must remain shielded or is otherwise uniquely sensitive. Consider an instance of Quorum or Hyperledger which necessitates white-listed node runners and read/write participants, spun up for a permissioned security token exchange, a consortium/trade group, a public sector provenance and tracking use, a megacorp’s distributed intranet/systems architecture, or even single large transactions (think M&A, PPPs or joint ventures, securitizations, long-term international sourcing relationships, etc.) lifecycle management and tracking. Further, structures like Oasis’s ParaTime permit individual permissioned transaction environments that may convey information to public mainnets, while maintaining privacy in data transmission to the permissioned ParaTime and the smart contract execution thereon. The information conveyed and stored in these permissioned/private environments and the APIs interacting therewith would command hefty premia and security guarantees, sometimes utilized for a single agreement/relationship/period of time. “Disposable” Airnode API gateways may be necessary to justify limited or one-time usecases that still require operational power in web3 data provision without onboarding friction or high fixed costs, and would serve some opsec and privacy purposes as noted above.
In a revolutionary sector where new usecases and smart contract implementations are experimented and discovered every day, a frictionless, free, disposable API gateway to web3 eases and fertilizes the discovery process, and enables oracle roles previously unjustifiable due to costs, maintenance, and other friction. Airnode is this gateway to new discoveries and usage. ⟁
 https://oasisprotocol.org/technology. Oasis is a partner project with API3, and is co-sponsoring a grant to build out a Rust version of Airnode: https://medium.com/api3/announcing-the-partnership-with-oasis-and-the-first-airnode-integration-grant-74dfb4ffa7c.