APIs Explained: Their Role in Blockchain & AI
APIs are quite important for today’s websites and applications, and they have become imperative for blockchain applications as well. But few people understand what they are and why they’re essential for users and businesses alike.
There is nothing conceptually complicated about an API, including a blockchain API. The term stands for Application Programming Interface and represents a tool that hides complexity from developers, giving users the opportunity to interact with an application or website smoothly. It can make the components of an application reusable, send data from and to the application, and extend the application’s systems to partners.
Some Examples of APIs
APIs are one of the most convenient ways to programmatically interact with a given software component or resource.
APIs not only help users interact with applications but enable two or multiple applications to interact with each other. Now that you’re more familiar with the general concept, a blockchain API is nothing else than an API related to a blockchain infrastructure or application.
To understand better what an API is, imagine that you are in a restaurant and have a menu in front of you. The kitchen, in this case, would be part of the application or system that is going to prepare your order. However, how can you communicate with it? Thankfully, there is the waiter, who acts as an API. He is the messenger that registers your request, transmits it to the kitchen, and then delivers the food or the response back to you.
In a similar fashion, a blockchain exchange API can help you access cryptocurrency price and performance data from the platform.
Here is another real-life API example: imagine that there are no COVID-19 travel restrictions and you want to go on vacation. When searching for flights online, you will find many different options pertaining to destinations, departure and return dates and times, prices, etc. If you’re using an online travel service like Expedia, you will be able to analyze all options from a variety of airline databases. This is done through APIs.
A similar blockchain API example would be CoinMarketCap. It is one of the most popular and trusted cryptocurrency data providers. The website gets all of its data from the APIs of different exchanges, such as Binance, Coinbase, Kraken, Bistamp, and so on. The API of every exchange sends information back and forth.
Developing blockchain software is quite difficult, and it involves several sophisticated elements. One of the most essential components is the blockchain API interface. You can think about them as services that enable users and blockchain developers to interact with the application in different ways. Here are some examples of blockchain API services:
- An easy to use Bitcoin-related API that enables any website, e.g. an online shop, to receive Bitcoin payments;
- APIs for payment operations from digital wallets;
- APIs for querying blockchain data related to blocks, transactions, etc.
Note that decentralized applications (dApps) are nothing else than applications that interact with native blockchains, such as Ethereum or Algorand, through APIs. This is why the latter are so important for the blockchain space.
The APIs can be created by third parties and sold or provided for free. Since APIs are essential for dApps and other blockchain use cases, having a decentralized API marketplace is really important. In a way, using blockchain for API management would be a great approach.
Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence Can Leverage Data Through APIs
APIs are all about data. Many APIs revolve around blockchain or software data that can eventually be categorized, distributed, compared, and analyzed in different ways.
When it comes to huge amounts of data, the best way to analyze it is to rely on artificial intelligence (AI) systems. A combination including blockchain and AI would definitely do the trick. It can empower a decentralized API marketplace aimed at data sharing and processing.
For example, ai.market is an AI-oriented platform aimed at data providers, AI creators, and AI consumers. While it’s not focused on the blockchain industry, the platform can be used by third-party AI creators who develop systems and models for blockchain API-based data. The ai.market platform is powerful because it uses blockchain to automate a wide range of functions with the data market.
But the most important thing is that ai.market encourages businesses and organizations to leverage data and reap the most benefits from it. Most businesses are afraid to share data because of privacy concerns or regulations. However, wasting such valuable data is not a reasonable approach.
To maintain the privacy of data while analyzing and creating different statistics or models based on it, ai.market uses a unique approach called federal learning.
ai.market also helps businesses to implement systems that incentivize users to share their data, which may include specific behaviors, preferences, patterns, and so on.
AI engineers can develop models based on data shared by consumers of different products and services. Customers can find relevant models on the marketplace provided by ai.market. All models are accessed through simple APIs. The goal of ai.market is to provide a secure marketplace for data-oriented AI models that can eventually support a global AI-based economy. The platform relies on blockchain and smart contracts to ensure automation of various data processes. ai.market is using blockchain for API trading, which helps customers buy and use relevant data APIs on the marketplace.
ai.market is the platform used by those who want to create, explore, and leverage AI.
Here are the key players of the platform:
- Consumers of different products and services that want to share data and monetize it;
- AI engineers who require data sets to train their models;
- Those who have existing AI models and want to sell them on the marketplace;
- Those who want to create new models from scratch and train others for doing the same;
- Contributors of value added services needed to create and approve datasets and models on the marketplace;
- Those looking for datasets or models that don’t exist yet but are ready to pay for their creation.
To improve user experience, ai.market uses ORE ID, a blockchain authentication system provided by AIKON. It helps users to access blockchain applications through an easy login process, which can be email, phone, or social media. The passwordless authentication ensures an intuitive and secure user experience.
Data is the most valuable asset in the digital economy, and APIs are at the epicenter of data processes.