Unlocking Chainlink: The Decentralized Blockchain Oracle Network

Chainlink, the decentralized blockchain oracle network
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By Holly Moore

Chainlink, a decentralized blockchain oracle network, is a third-party service that connects smart contracts to the outside world by providing reliable, tamper-proof inputs and outputs for complex smart contracts on any blockchain.

To recap, smart contracts are digital agreements that have the power to move money, documents, information, and more between people.  Inherent in blockchain technology, transactions are safe, fast, and decentralized (not controlled by banks or government).  

Stored on a blockchain, smart contracts are peer-to-peer (do not pass through any third party) and execute automatically once the terms, which are specifically written into lines of code, are met.

To securely retrieve data from the outside world, smart contracts require an additional piece of infrastructure known as an oracle. This is the layer that queries, verifies, and authenticates external data sources, usually via trusted APIs, and then relays that information.

The data that controls smart contracts needs to meet the highest possible standards because it will directly control billions and eventually trillions of dollars in value.  But what if you could leverage the same decentralized computation guarantees used to secure the blockchain to safely retrieve and validate the data smart contracts require? 

Enter Chainlink, a decentralized oracle network that provides smart contracts with a tamper-proof, highly available connection to all of the world’s highest quality data feeds. 

With Chainlink, a smart contract can access data pertaining to financial markets, cryptocurrency prices, weather, sports results, medical data, shipping data, IoT sensor readings, and any other real-world validated data needed to enable more robust and useful blockchain-based applications. 

Build Hybrid Smart Contracts with Chainlink

Chainlink gives blockchain developers an easy-to-use framework for writing hybrid smart contracts that connect to external resources by combining on-chain and off-chain computation.

To get up-to-speed on the basics of smart contract development, Chainlink provides a helpful tutorial and various step-by-step guides.  They explain what a smart contract is, how to write a smart contract using Solidity (the most popular language for writing smart contracts on Ethereum), and the important role oracles play as a bridge between the real-world and on-chain smart contracts. It also demonstrates how to use oracles for price feeds or data sources aggregated from many independent Chainlink node operators to obtain accurate real-time asset prices in smart contracts. It also works to integrate verifiable randomness, the request and receipt of data from any external API, and the deployment of a contract to the blockchain or Kovan Ethereum testnet.

Milestones & Integration

On September 4th, 2017, Chainlink published its first white paper describing the role of Decentralized Oracle Networks (DONs) in the blockchain ecosystem.  Then in April 2021, “Chainlink 2.0: Next Steps in the Evolution of Decentralized Oracle Networks” was released.  It addresses the evolutionary vision of Chainlink along with its expanded role in focusing on advances in seven key areas: hybrid smart contracts, abstracting away complexity, scaling, confidentiality, order-fairness for transactions, trust-minimization, and incentive-based (crypto-economic) security.  Chainlink presents preliminary and forward-thinking innovations that will increase the capabilities of their larger network.

Chainlink’s Community Development Programs

Chainlink provides forward-thinking smart contract enthusiasts from around the world opportunities

to advance next-generation smart contracts to help unlock the power of decentralized applications with real-world data, events, and systems.  Through the Chainlink Community Advocate program, advocates gain access to top blockchain industry leaders and Chainlink team members, influence Chainlink community initiatives, receive support to

grow local meetup communities, and advance leadership, knowledge and professional

goals.  

Another way to get involved is through Chainlink’s five grant programs.  Chainlink deploys substantial resources toward the creation of critical developer tooling, the addition of high-quality data, and the launching of key services around the Chainlink Network. 

Join the Chainlink Community

Smart Contract Summit #1 is the premier blockchain conference of the year.  From August 5-7, 2021, SmartCon will bring together 200+ industry-leading speakers and thousands of attendees from across the globe to explore the latest innovations in smart contracts.  This three-day conference includes keynote speeches, panel discussions, live demos, and developer workshops covering innovations of hybrid smart contracts, how advances in cross-chain communication are changing DeFi, new use cases for off-chain data and computation, scaling security, decentralized gaming, NFTs, and much more.  Researchers and engineers from Chainlink Labs will also provide insights into the progress of Chainlink 2.0.  Get tickets here.

Chainlink Snapshot

Ticker: LINK

Market Cap Rank: #15

Launch Date: June 2017

Market Cap: $7,275,746,483

Circulating Supply: 438,509,553

Total Supply: 1,000,000,000

Chainlink on CoinCap: https://coincap.io/assets/chainlink

Chainlink on Coingecko: https://www.coingecko.com/en/coins/chainlink

Chainlink Website: https://chain.link/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/chainlink

Telegram: https://t.me/chainlinkofficial

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/chainlinkofficial

Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/Chainlink/

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