ChainLink is a community-driven and open source approach to securely connecting smart contracts to external data, bank to bank payments, APIs and many other key off-chain services, marking a key step towards creating useful smart contracts.
When a Fintech, Insurtech, IoT or Web product wants to add smart contracts to their existing application, ChainLink aims to be the easiest path to integrating with the chosen smart contract. If a product is built with a smart contract first approach, as a fully decentralized application, it usually needs external data, off-chain services and additional payment methods to reach its full potential.
As developers begin to implement their chosen smart contract, they may encounter a connectivity problem; the smart contract is unable to connect with key external resources like off-chain data and APIs. This lack of external connectivity is due to the method by which consensus is reached around a blockchain transaction data, and can therefore be a problem for most smart contract networks.
ChainLinkâ€™s approach to connecting smart contracts with existing payment and governance infrastructure is something that is already in progress. SWIFT, the payments standard, is one of its current customers, potentially allowing smart contracts to pay directly from any of the SWIFT networkâ€™s 11,000 banks. In addition, the company was recently recognized by Gartner as a 2017 Blockchain Applications Cool Vendor.
In the near future ChainLink intends to release its LINK token, which will be used to pay ChainLink Node Operators for participating in a ChainLink Network, allowing the creation of fully decentralized oracle networks. Information on the LINK Tokenâ€™s pre-sale and the associated public crowdsale will be forthcoming.