What are Smart Contracts and Oracles? Spectre CEO Kay Khemani

in ethereum •  11 months ago

Hello Steemians! I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Kay about his company Spectre that is doing interesting work on a "financial prediction market platform backed by a tokenized liquidity pool." The conversation covered a lot of ground including smart contracts, oracles, and how to launch a successful ICO. The video of that interview is embedded below.

Smart Contracts

We started with a discussion of smart contracts. I had several reasons for opening with this issue. First, while there are plenty of videos and articles about “blockchain” and “cryptocurrencies” I think there’s a lot less out there about smart contracts. This has led more than one or two developers to think that smart contracts are the solution to EVERY problem, when this is far from the truth. I also wanted to test Kay to see if he had a sophisticated understanding of the technology, and whether their protocol actually leveraged smart contracts to deliver a superior product.

The Product

This product is, according to them, the world’s first trading platform that removes the broker while retaining two key functions that brokers provide: liquidity and trust. Part of the reason people use brokers is because they are trusted intermediaries, but according to Kay, this is a major source of manipulation. Spectre uses Ethereum and its smart contracts to replace brokers with provably fair and fully auditable code.


What was probably most surprising about their product were the parallels with Steem. Kay took a somewhat contrarian stance by saying that tokenization without oracle-ization makes no sense. In the case of Spectre they fill a liquidity pool with tokens which are distributed based on the execution of smart contracts. However, those smart contracts are dependent on data that is coming from the outside world or "off-chain." "Oracles" are what we call people who supply data to the blockchain. As of now, there’s simply no getting around this fact, which I believe was Kay’s point about tokenization without oracle-ization.

What was especially interesting about this conversation was that, while the issue of oracles is something we at Steemit are thinking a lot about in light of the upcoming release of the Smart Media Tokens protocol, it wasn’t until I spoke with Kay that I realized we already have oracles on Steemit! Like Spectre’s liquidity pool, we have the rewards pool, and the off-chain data that is of paramount importance to the Steem blockchain is the value of content. To solve this problem Steem oracle-izes its userbase by leveraging their stake-weighted upvotes to determine the distribution of the tokens in the rewards pool.

The interview ran 30 minutes long, so I can’t hope to cover it all in this article, but I highly recommend watching it all as we covered a lot of ground with very little "fluff." I did my best to test not only Kay’s knowledge, but his commitment to blockchain technology generally. I wanted to see if he was truly what I call “blockchain people,” as opposed to someone who is just hopping on the bandwagon because they think it’s an easy way to get rich quick. You can judge for yourself, based on your own standards, whether he met that burden.

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We also have functioning oracles in the more direct sense, the witness price feed.

As of yet the graphene based cryptos are the only ones with functioning oracles. Ethereum certainly have not yet solved the problem in practice.


Yup, great point.


Excellent replies @demotruk! I guess some of my comment relates to your second thought. ;)

Namaste :)

I've long felt like STEEM combined with Steemit embodies a bunch of the greatest features present in a lot of the other top crypots. I mean, it's always been like a one stop shop for me at least....

  • As I was reading I had a feeling that we were about to come to this conclusion lol:

  • "...I realized we already have oracles on Steemit! Like Spectre’s liquidity pool, we have the rewards pool, and the off-chain data that is of paramount importance to the Steem blockchain is the value of content."



This is one of the best explanations of Smart Contracts that I've watched so far.

Thanks for performing the interview.


Oh great, glad you feel that way

What an excellent piece of informations you are serving us here @andrarchy, brilliant, wow!

I find myself being educated on this platform, all the time, and your post has definitely brought extra education to a subject that is continuously moving at an incredible pace, leaving most in the dust, as it seems to be moving from one direction toward another. Meanwhile, if you are following closely, you find the rise of different problems to which these different paths find their leitmotiv.

I was not aware of this specific project yet and really enjoyed the depths of you questions as well as his answers...

Thank you very much, once again, for this great post and the continued high quality. I can't help to think that their product will eventually have to move onto the Bitshares platform in order to be competitive with the speed of trading offered to their clients for infinite scalability and unparalleled speed. Quite a few different project Ethereum based are in flux and expatriating themselves in this manner as we speak.

Namaste :)


Glad you feel that way! Thanks for reading/watching!

Great video!!! so informative! some went over my head admittedly but still great stuff!


Don't worry, some of it went over my head too! Thanks for watching!


ditto - learned a ton. Thanks @andrarchy. Really appreciate you putting the time in to make this informative video

Great interview Andrew, things got a little beyond my technical understanding in places but it's interesting to learn more about how STEEM works, and the ways in which it has overcome the problems faced by other blockchains


Nice video man

Good enough informative video to explain the functionality of the blockchain and crypto

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wow fantastic video one..i already work in etc..especially thanks for discuss about etc..✌✌✌

Steem and Steemit are great and honestly anyone who differ can be left in the past. =) Great interview/chat

Amazing debate, however I think ICOs are going too much towards the corporate model. Sure ICOs take advantage of the features which an IPO would have to pay a software developer to design like the smart contract itself but although interesting Spectre looks very much like an IPO offer. To acquire token Spectre request you to:
-Confirm that you have read and understood SPECTRE's Token Mechanics

  • Confirm that you have read and understand the White Paper.
    -Confirm that you have read and I accept the Terms & Conditions.
    -Confirm that you have read and I accept the Privacy Policy.
    -Confirm that you have read and I accept the Token Sale Agreement...
    I mighty be wrong and you mighty disagree but to me ICO was a more flexible way to raise finance. Satoshi Nakamoto and the Bitcoin paper was so innovative, straightforward and simple...

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Great interview, thank you for great work!

this totally explains smart contracts to me thanks for sharing

"Tokenization w/o oracle-ization makes no sense."

That quote stuck out to me. I see potential with Spectre.

Very informative and helpful!

This is one of the best explanations of Smart Contracts that I've watched so far.

Thanks for performing the interview.