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Did American Regulators Rip Off Blockchain Platform ZAP?

November 28, 2018
Devin Milford


Did American Regulators Rip Off Blockchain Platform ZAP?

The United States national commodities regulator, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), has recognized the value of “smart contracts,” the quality of the data fed into them, and the role of “oracles” in directing that data in a new report it just released this morning.

Did the report rip off material from a data-oracle smart contract platform called Zap?

Don’t Forget The Government: Leading From Behind

First, here’s the CFTC report. On slide 5 of the CFTC Report we see the bullet point comment:

  • “A smart contract is not necessarily ‘smart’.
  • The operation is only as smart as the information feed it receives and the machine code that receives it.”

The next slide of the CFTC Report then says:

“Smart contracts use oracles – a mutually agreed upon, network-authenticated reference data provider” (Emphasis in original)

Now Look At Zap

Just compare to the main webpage which says “Access Oracles That Bring Real-World Data To Smart Contracts.”

And the Zap blog article from a few months ago that continues all these themes. Just read this snippet:

Smart contracts, however, are closed systems, meaning that they are unable to access data from outside the network they are on. In order for smart contracts to reach their fullest potential (and to have the greatest value to their users) they must be able to reliably access information from outside the blockchain on which they are hosted.

[Zap’s token] solve[s] the problem of smart contracts being restricted to on-chain data sources by enabling access to outside, or “off-chain” data. The missing link is what we call an “oracle.”

Oracles are trusted third party or decentralized data feeds that provide data to a blockchain-based smart contract. These oracles essentially hold the “private key” to the smart contract — an oracle has the power to decide which party wins in a smart contract. Think of it like being a witness whose testimony one way or the other will determine the outcome of the case. And in many smart contract use cases, an oracle is necessary for the smart contract to function.

Are American regulators ripping off ideas from Zap systems available on the Internet going back to last year? You be the judge.

The Takeaway

In any event, the similarity in material at least validates the concept. Not that it needed to. Zap’s founders already have at least two granted blockchain technology patents.

But now we see who’s leading the cutting edge of blockchain innovation, and who’s trying to seize control of a technology without borders.

[Disclaimer: Nick Spanos, who is a co-founder of, is also a co-founder of]