Chainlink, which securely brings real-world data to the world of smart contracts, has come a long way since October 2018, when Decrypt first came across the decentralized oracle network provider at Berlin’s annual Web Summit.  

With smart contracts being a foundation of DeFi (decentralized finance), oracles that enable them to securely execute based on verifiable real-world events—such as a cryptocurrency reaching a certain value, or a measured lack of rainfall affecting an insurance payout—are crucial.

Chainlink started out by providing cryptocurrency price data, from a handful of sources, to DeFi protocols like lending platform Aave. But these days, it consists of a lot more. 

The ecosystem now boasts over 1,000 project integrations, with 700 oracle networks securing over $75 billion in value—up tenfold from 2020—and accessing over one billion data points. Chainlink also saw a threefold increase in hackathon participants, and a doubling in public usage of Chainlink Github software repositories—often cited as a metric of adoption. 

All that growth has helped LINK rise 52% over the past 12 months. During that time, AccuWeather and the Associated Press both partnered with Chainlink for data verification, and ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt joined as an advisor, just the latest signs of big tech and media taking note of Chainlink’s growing applications.

In an exclusive interview with Decrypt, Chainlink CEO Sergey Nazarov shared what’s coming next. Most notable for DeFi degens: staking is coming, something Chainlink had not confirmed elsewhere beyond a…

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