Bitcoin 101

LINK - What it is and how it works

Cloudbet continues to lead through innovation, adding LINK to its stable of currencies available. This is the sixth new coin launched in as many months. Here we take a closer look at the digital token used to pay for services on Chainlink's decentralised oracle network.

Since its launch in 2013, a pioneering spirit has been, and remains, central to Cloudbet’s ethos and approach to raising the game and delivering the best experience possible to our players.

In its constant bid to advance through innovation, Cloudbet now adds LINK to the list of cryptocurrencies available on the site. This follows hot on the heels of recent launches of PAXG, DAI and PAX

Cloudbet users can now play with bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH), bitcoin cash (BCH), Pax Gold (PAXG), USDT (Tether), USD Coin (USDC) - and now PAX.

This amplifies Cloudbet’s position not only as the leading bitcoin casino and sports betting operator, but also the leading crypto casino and sports betting operator.

LINK is the digital token used to pay for services on Chainlink, a decentralised oracle network, initially launched on top of Ethereum, that provides reliable, tamper-proof, real-world data such as price feeds, suitable for complex smart contracts on any blockchain.

LINK is an ERC20 token with additional functionality, allowing it to be processed and received by smart contracts in a single transaction and to handle token transfers that contain data. It is used as a payment token to pay Chainlink node operators for providing oracle services and a work token to be staked by node operators as collateral to deliver those oracle services.

Smart contracts are agreements programmed to execute when and if certain conditions become met. A persistent issue with smart contracts was that they often needed to rely on external data sources to execute. Indeed, Ethereum smart contracts that pioneered this field can only manage data on the blockchain. Chainlink addresses this issue by incentivising a network of multiple oracle nodes to provide a secure, decentralised bridge between external data sources and smart contracts. It eliminates the danger of manipulation, falsification, or compromise from a central point of failure.

Users can therefore utilize the oracle network to access data from multiple off-chain providers, web APIs, enterprise systems, cloud services, IoT devices, payment systems, and other protocols; before integrating that back into a blockchain.

LINK was issued following the Chainlink whitepaper in 2017 by SmartContract ChainLink Limited SEZC, co-founded by Steve Eliis and Sergey Nazarov. It is valuable in ensuring the successful execution of the increasing number of smart contracts relying on Chainlink and is limited in supply to 1 billion LINK tokens.

According to CoinCodex, LINK is currently ranked sixth amongst the top cryptocurrencies and has a market capitalisation of $6 billion.

How safe is LINK?

Chainlink is built on the security of the Ethereum blockchain network, one of the largest in the world, using a smart contract audited by Quantstamp and SigmaPrime, with its token security audited by Callisto Network. It is, therefore, compatible with Ethereum wallet infrastructure, benefiting from extensive hardware wallet support.

Chainlink is a decentralised network consisting of purchasers and providers of secure real-world data. Purchasers request their desired data via smart contracts, and providers bid to deliver that data.

It works by connecting its on-chain series of smart contracts on Ethereum, demanding data feeds, to an off-chain network of oracle nodes that can connect real-world data to blockchains to execute the programmable agreements.

On-chain component

On-chain, the process starts with a Chainlink smart contract that broadcasts a Requesting Contract containing a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to define the parameters of the data request. The protocol registers this event and creates a corresponding Chainlink SLA Contract to collect this off-chain data. The SLA Contract generates three sub-contracts: a Chainlink Reputation Contract, a Chainlink Order-Matching Contract and a Chainlink Aggregating Contract.

The Reputation Contract tracks oracle performance and reputation metrics. The Order-Matching Contract delivers requests to nodes, receives their bids, and selects the number and type of nodes to fulfil the request. The Aggregating Contract collects the data from selected oracles, validates it for accuracy, and aggregates the results of the query into a single weighted value, sending that back to the smart contract that requested it and feeding metrics back into the Reputation Contract.

Off-chain component

Off-chain, a decentralised network of oracle nodes connect their API via the Chainlink core implementation, to independently monitor the Ethereum blockchain for these requests, bidding to service them using the Order-Matching Contract. If matched, nodes return the data to the Aggregating Contract.

Token utility

The LINK token forms a vital part of this process. Requesting Contract holders use LINK to pay oracle nodes for their work in providing data. Oracles set prices according to current market demand.

Oracle nodes also stake LINK tokens to demonstrate their commitment to the network, which can then be forfeited if they provide low-quality data. Staked tokens feed into the Reputation Contract system, among other criteria, for uniquely identifiable nodes to convey their reliability to users and keep them honest. This ensures they only get paid if everything goes smoothly once selected. Nodes with a larger stake are therefore more often chosen to fulfil requests.

Use cases

Chainlink has developed several use cases in areas of both the traditional and crypto native worlds, becoming the most trusted decentralised oracle network in the space. These include:

  • Providing an easy means of blockchain adoption for traditional enterprises and hybrid platforms, integrating with their current systems, and building a bridge between legacy and crypto markets.
  • Providing critical market data needed to issue, settle and secure defi applications.
  • Secure tamper-resistant, reliable and high-quality data feeds, furthering the growth of decentralised applications in derivatives, trading, exchanges, AMMs, lending and borrowing, insurance, stablecoins, asset management, supply chain, utilities, and any other smart contract-based services that require real-world data.
  • Connecting gambling and prediction market smart contract protocols to real-world events.
  • Providing blockchain-based games with a leading source of on-chain randomness, used to mint NFTs, distribute random rewards, and power unpredictable gameplay scenarios.
  • Delivering blockchain agnostic decentralised oracle services across the crypto ecosystem in the future.

Partnerships

In the traditional market, Chainlink demonstrated a proof of concept to deliver automated bond coupon payments for SWIFT. Google has also used Chainlink services to provide data from its BigQuery enterprise cloud warehouse to decentralized applications.

Within the crypto ecosystem, Chainlink has partnered with Polkadot’s interoperability protocol, Sythentix’s derivatives liquidity, Aave’s lending and borrowing, Nexus Mutual’s insurance, Ether Legends blockchain-based games, Factom’s decentralized data storage system, and more, becoming a core component of defi networks.

Future implications

Chainlink has bucked the trend of many projects that were introduced in 2017, delivering a decentralised solution to a real problem in blockchain technology, quickly becoming relied upon across the defi market.

Initially built on the Ethereum network, Chainlink has plans to integrate with blockchains like Bitcoin (via sidechains), other smart contract networks, and interoperable cross-chain platforms like Polkadot. Development is already underway on Matic Network, expanding the use and utility of LINK across the crypto ecosystem.

Chainlink can also build on traction from partnerships with the likes of SWIFT and Google in the traditional market to go further in connecting additional legacy applications, such as PayPal, with Ethereum and other blockchains. Such integration could create a secure, decentralised bridge between existing financial services and the rapidly emerging defi space, further increasing its value proposition.

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