Chainlink, a provider of price feeds and other data to blockchains, is reducing the network’s barriers to entry for early-stage projects and reducing costs for existing participants ahead of the introduction of staking of its native token at the end of this year, the company said at this week’s SmartCon developer event held in New York
The smart contract oracle network that powers much of decentralized finance (DeFi) is offering a “Build” program where up-and-coming teams donate 3% to 5% of their native tokens to the network in return for access to Chainlink data. And for those already initiated, the “Scale” program aims to reduce on-chain transaction costs associated with smart contract oracles to near zero.
Chainlink has been a key factor in the roller-coaster growth of DeFi, which reached over $250 billion in total locked value (TVL) late last year, but currently languishes at around $55 billion thanks to harsh bear market conditions. Yet, some crypto market watchers have observed a disconnect between Chainlink’s role as a cornerstone of DeFi (its oracles have played a part in over $6 trillion of transactions so far this year, according to Chainlink co-founder Sergey Nazarov), and the market cap of its native token LINK.
The Chainlink community hopes any disparity can be addressed by its new programs, as well as the introduction of LINK staking and rewards. Chainlink staking is slated to get underway in December, according to Nazarov.
Regarding the ongoing crypto winter and DeFi’s resilience within it, Nazarov said TVL is down because of the drop in value of underlying assets, but usage remains high.
“The economic activity in DeFi is still at a very high level,” Nazarov said in an interview. “It's actually the same as it was before and in a certain way crypto might even be more attractive because the scarier the world gets, the more attractive crypto is.”