What is Chainlink (LINK)?

What is Chainlink (LINK)?

Chainlink represents a pioneering approach in the cryptocurrency world, aiming to bridge the gap between blockchain smart contracts and real-world data. As a decentralized oracle network, Chainlink facilitates the secure and rapid transfer of data from external sources to smart contracts on various blockchains. This innovative platform is crucial for the effective execution of smart contracts, which are programmed agreements designed to automatically execute when predefined conditions are met.

Smart contracts have a wide array of applications, from crafting new financial crypto products to generating novel crypto assets. However, their effectiveness is often hampered by the need for reliable external data to fulfill their contractual obligations accurately. This necessity becomes apparent in applications like bonds or insurance agreements, which require access to market prices or Internet of Things (IoT) data. Chainlink addresses this pivotal need by incentivizing a global network of data providers, known as "oracles," to supply trustworthy data to these contracts.

At the core of Chainlink's system is a mechanism that rewards these oracles with LINK, Chainlink's own cryptocurrency, for providing accurate data. Oracles are motivated to maintain high standards of reliability due to a reputation score system that impacts their opportunities for future engagements and rewards. This setup not only ensures the integrity of the data supplied but also enhances the overall security and efficiency of smart contracts across different blockchain platforms.

Since its inception in 2017, Chainlink has distinguished itself amidst a plethora of blockchain projects by consistently delivering on its promises. Initially focusing on the Ethereum network, Chainlink has expanded its vision to include support for all smart contract-enabled blockchain networks, underscoring its ambition to be a universal data provider for the blockchain ecosystem.

Chainlink's unique value proposition lies in its ability to connect smart contracts with a wide range of real-world data and events, thereby solving the blockchain oracle problem. This problem highlights the limitations of smart contracts in accessing off-chain data, which is critical for their execution. Through its decentralized oracle networks, Chainlink enables smart contracts to aggregate data from numerous nodes, thereby ensuring data accuracy and reliability. This functionality not only expands the capabilities of smart contracts but also opens up a myriad of applications across various industries.

Looking forward, Chainlink is set to revolutionize the blockchain space further with its version 2.0, which aims to extend its services beyond data provision to include off-chain computation, payments, and events. This expansion is expected to give rise to a new class of hybrid smart contracts, with Chainlink nodes playing a central role in this innovative ecosystem. Moreover, Chainlink encourages data providers to monetize their information by making it directly available to blockchain applications across any platform, simply by integrating their Application Programming Interface (API).

How does Chainlink work?

Chainlink operates as a decentralized oracle network, designed to bridge the gap between blockchain smart contracts and external data sources, through a sophisticated multi-step process involving various types of smart contracts and participants. Here's a consolidated overview of how Chainlink works, merging the key aspects of both descriptions into a streamlined explanation.

Chainlink's Operational Workflow:

  • Oracle Selection: The process begins when Chainlink users draft a service-level agreement (SLA) that details their data requirements. Utilizing this SLA, the Chainlink software algorithmically matches the request with suitable oracles capable of providing the needed data. Users then deposit LINK tokens into an Order-Matching contract, which in turn solicits bids from oracles.
  • Data Retrieval and Processing: Selected oracles engage with external data sources to fetch the requested data, as stipulated in the SLA. This data is then processed and transmitted back to the smart contracts on the Chainlink network or the requesting blockchain.
  • Result Aggregation and Validation: In the final step, the data collected by oracles is aggregated and evaluated through an Aggregation contract. This contract assesses the validity and accuracy of the data, assigning a weighted score based on the collective input, before returning the processed information to the user or smart contract.

Chainlink Smart Contracts

To grasp the advantages of Chainlink and its operational mechanics, it's crucial to first comprehend some essential concepts that are intricately linked, starting with smart contracts.

Smart contracts are agreements encoded on the blockchain that automatically enforce themselves when predetermined conditions are satisfied. A typical example can be seen in crowdfunding initiatives: if a specific amount of Ethereum (ETH) is gathered in a smart contract by a set deadline, the funds are transferred to the project initiator; if not, the contributions are refunded to the donors. The immutable (unchangeable) and transparent nature of smart contracts, being on the blockchain, ensures a high degree of trust among participants. This trust is rooted in the assurance that the contract will only execute as per its explicit conditions, visible to all.

However, for smart contracts to engage in more complex agreements that involve data external to the blockchain, they require access to this off-chain information in a blockchain-compatible format. Bridging the gap between external data sources and smart contracts—translating real-world information into a format that smart contracts can interpret and act upon—presents a significant challenge. This barrier limits the broader application and utility of smart contracts, making solutions like Chainlink critical for their evolution and wider adoption in various scenarios beyond the blockchain's native context.

Chainlink Oracles Bridge

Oracles serve as a crucial bridge between the digital world of blockchain and the vast, dynamic realm of external data, functioning as a type of "middleware". These oracles act as translators, converting real-world data into a format that can be understood and acted upon by smart contracts on the blockchain, and vice versa. This capability significantly expands the utility and application of smart contracts beyond the confines of blockchain-native data.

The advent of oracles, however, introduces a paradox. Utilizing a single, centralized oracle undermines the foundational principle of decentralization that blockchain technology champions. It presents a singular point of vulnerability — if an oracle is tampered with or malfunctions, the integrity of the data it supplies becomes dubious. This scenario begs the question: how can a smart contract be considered secure and reliable if the data it relies on is potentially compromised?

To address these concerns, it's essential to reflect on the nature of smart contracts and oracles:

  • Smart Contracts: These are immutable and transparent agreements stored on the blockchain that automatically execute according to a preset "IF/THEN" logic when specific conditions are met.
  • Oracles and Data Sources: Traditionally, the conditions triggering these smart contracts were limited to data directly available on the blockchain. The introduction of oracles into the cryptocurrency ecosystem was a game-changer, enabling the integration of external, or off-chain, data into on-chain smart contracts.
  • Centralization vs. Decentralization: However, relying on a centralized oracle system could negate the benefits of blockchain-based smart contracts by introducing potential points of failure or manipulation.

Enter Chainlink, a solution that decentralizes the oracle model by distributing the task of data provision to a network of independent nodes. These nodes fetch information from external sources and deliver it to smart contracts on the blockchain through oracles. By doing so, Chainlink mitigates the risks associated with single points of failure and ensures a higher degree of reliability and security in data provisioning.

This approach not only preserves the decentralized ethos of blockchain technology but also enhances the robustness of smart contracts by equipping them with a mechanism to securely interact with the outside world. Chainlink further bolsters its network's reliability by incorporating advanced, secure hardware, ensuring that data is processed and transmitted with the utmost integrity. This innovative integration of decentralized oracles with blockchain technology opens up new vistas for smart contracts, making them more versatile and applicable in a broader range of real-world scenarios.


Why does LINK have value?

LINK, the native cryptocurrency of the Chainlink network, holds intrinsic value due to its critical role in facilitating the operation and security of smart contracts reliant on Chainlink's oracle services. As the exclusive currency within the Chainlink ecosystem, LINK is used for several key functions that are vital for the network's efficiency and trustworthiness.

Firstly, LINK serves as the primary means of compensation for node operators. These operators are responsible for retrieving, validating, and delivering external data to smart contracts on the blockchain. The use of LINK as payment not only incentivizes the provision of accurate and timely data but also regulates the interaction between Chainlink users and node operators.

Furthermore, LINK is essential in the system of deposits and fees associated with the creation and fulfillment of smart contracts. Creators of smart contracts are required to deposit LINK as a form of collateral, which is refunded upon the successful completion of services by oracles, or retained as a penalty if an oracle fails to fulfill its obligations. This mechanism ensures a commitment to quality and reliability among participants in the Chainlink network.

The reputation and reliability of oracles within the Chainlink ecosystem are partially determined by the amount of LINK they hold. This stake acts as a form of security deposit, demonstrating an oracle's dedication to providing accurate data and its stake in the network's overall health. The Chainlink Reputation Contract uses this and other criteria to match data requests with the most suitable nodes, favoring those with higher stakes for their proven reliability and commitment.

In cases of underperformance or dishonesty, the Chainlink network enforces penalties by taxing the staked LINK of node operators, thereby discouraging poor service and maintaining the network's integrity.

LINK is also designed with a finite supply, capped at 1 billion tokens, aligning with the principles of scarcity and demand that often underpin the value of cryptocurrencies. As an ERC-20 token built on the Ethereum blockchain, LINK can be traded for fiat or other digital currencies, further integrating it into the broader crypto market and economy.

Through these mechanisms, LINK not only underpins the operational fabric of the Chainlink network but also embodies a tangible value derived from its utility, scarcity, and the economic principles governing its use and distribution.

How to store Chainlink crypto?

Many individuals choose to invest in Chainlink and other cryptocurrencies, holding onto them in anticipation of a potential increase in value. To ensure the security of your Chainlink holdings, they can be stored in a variety of wallets, including the Binance wallet.

For those seeking heightened security, utilizing a reputable hardware wallet can offer an additional layer of protection. These wallets, such as the Ledger, are designed specifically for Chainlink and other cryptocurrencies, providing encrypted cold storage solutions. By keeping your Chainlink assets offline, these wallets shield them from the myriad of online threats. Additionally, the MetaMask Wallet is available as both a mobile and desktop wallet, offering flexibility in how you access and manage your LINK assets.

Expanding on these options, it's important to consider the unique features each wallet provides, such as user interface, compatibility with different cryptocurrencies, and the ability to interact with decentralized applications (DApps). When choosing a wallet, factor in your specific needs, such as ease of access, security requirements, and the types of transactions you intend to perform. Always remember to follow best practices for digital asset security, including regular backups of your keys and using two-factor authentication (2FA) where possible, to safeguard your investments against unauthorized access or loss.

How to stake Chainlink crypto?

Validators within the Chainlink ecosystem, acting as blockchain oracles, undertake a broad spectrum of tasks in return for LINK tokens. These oracles are pivotal for the seamless functionality of decentralized applications (DApps); however, should a node fail to fulfill the stipulations of a smart contract or remain inactive, it disrupts the DApp's operations. Such failures lead to the forfeiture of a deposit, serving as a penalty (referred to as "slashing") for the breach of contract terms.

Staking in Chainlink is distinct from the conventional staking seen in other blockchain networks. While the latter primarily aims to secure the network against consensus attacks, Chainlink's staking model focuses on ensuring the timely and accurate delivery of oracle reports, even for smart contracts of significant monetary value. This design is intended to deter bribery attacks, making them economically unfeasible for potential adversaries.

Currently, the ability to stake is exclusive to node operators within the Chainlink network. However, plans are underway to expand staking options to a broader user base. In the interim, LINK token holders can engage in passive income generation through various DeFi platforms by lending out their tokens.

To prepare for the upcoming Chainlink staking opportunities, consider the following preparatory steps:

  • Stay Informed: Keep abreast of official Chainlink announcements and updates regarding staking policies and timelines.
  • Accumulate LINK: Consider accumulating a reserve of LINK tokens, which you intend to stake, keeping in mind the potential rewards and risks involved.
  • Evaluate Wallet Options: Ensure that your LINK tokens are stored in a secure, accessible wallet that will support Chainlink staking. Compatibility and security are key considerations.
  • Explore DeFi Platforms: Familiarize yourself with DeFi platforms that allow for LINK lending, understanding their terms, risks, and returns. This experience will also be beneficial for managing LINK assets.
  • Learn About Staking Risks: Educate yourself on the risks associated with staking, including slashing conditions and the impact of market volatility on staked assets.
  • Engage with the Community: Participate in the Chainlink community through forums, social media, and other platforms. Engaging with other stakeholders can provide valuable insights and updates.

By following these steps, you'll be well-prepared to participate in Chainlink staking once it becomes available to a wider audience, enabling you to potentially generate additional returns on your LINK investments while contributing to the network's integrity and performance.


Please note that Plisio also offers you:

Create Crypto Invoices in 2 Clicks and Accept Crypto Donations

12 integrations

6 libraries for the most popular programming languages

19 cryptocurrencies and 12 blockchains

Ready to Get Started?

Create an account and start accepting payments – no contracts or KYC required. Or, contact us to design a custom package for your business.

Make first step

Always know what you pay

Integrated per-transaction pricing with no hidden fees

Start your integration

Set up Plisio swiftly in just 10 minutes.