If you’re unfamiliar, smart contracts are agreements programmed to execute if and when certain conditions are met. To date, smart contracts have been used for everything from creating novel crypto-financial products to developing new crypto assets.
However, an issue that has persisted is that most smart contracts need to rely on some kind of external data source to properly execute their terms.
For example, smart contracts seeking to replicate bonds or insurance agreements may need access to APIs reporting on market prices or internet of things data.
Chainlink was created to address this issue by incentivizing data providers (called “oracles”) to act as a bridge between blockchain smart contracts and external data sources.
Every oracle within the Chainlink network is incentivized to provide accurate data since a reputation score is assigned to each. Further, when nodes follow the software’s rules and provide useful data, they are rewarded in Chainlink’s cryptocurrency, LINK.
Arriving amid a crowded field of projects in 2017, the Chainlink team has so far been able to deliver on its vision, expanding efforts beyond Ethereum (ETH) amid a surge in market activity.
As of 2020, Chainlink is seeking to support all blockchain-based smart contract networks.