Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have seen a surge in popularity in recent months due to unprecedented economic stimulus measures, with some smaller cryptocurrencies seeing massive gains.
The bitcoin price, after quickly rebounding from a coronavirus-induced crash in March, has been treading water at just under $10,000 per bitcoin since May and has been on a slight downward trend over the last year.
However, other cryptocurrencies have soared, including chainlink’s link token—now up a staggering 1,000% on May last year.
Chainlink, an ethereum-powered cryptocurrency that trades under the name link, has been boosted by a surge of interest in decentralized finance (DeFi)—the idea that blockchain entrepreneurs can use bitcoin and crypto technology to recreate traditional financial instruments such as loans and insurance.
The chainlink price this week hit an all-time high of $6.49 per link token, according to data from bitcoin and crypto exchange Coinbase, adding 60% over the last month and taking it to touching distance of the top ten most valuable cryptocurrencies. Chainlink, designed to bridge payment services and blockchains such as bitcoin and ethereum, was created in 2015 and offered its link tokens to investors in a 2017 initial coin offering (ICO) at $0.11 per token, raising $32 million.
“We’re seeing this spike as the chainlink network is getting scaled usage powering DeFi, connecting on-chain DeFi smart contracts to off-chain data feeds like commodities and crypto price data,” Vance Spencer, co-founder of chainlink investor Framework Ventures, said via email.
“Firms outside of crypto are also starting to realize the power of enterprise smart contracts powered by robust oracle networks and the decision of the Chinese government to integrate chainlink oracles into their national blockchain services network is a legitimately huge deal.”
China’s Blockchain Service Network was launched on July 5 by China’s State Information Center, China Mobile, China Unionpay, and Red Date Technologies with the aim of making blockchain development easier and uses chainlink’s “oracles” to transfer data from blockchains to real-world data or a non-blockchain databases.
“Chainlink’s adoption has created incredible community momentum,” Spencer said, pointing to the likes of technology and banking giants Google, SWIFT, Docusign, and Oracle creating partnerships and pilot programs with chainlink.
“The link rally is being driven by a multitude of factors, the most important of which is its sheer potential to unlock all the promise that smart contract platforms have so far failed to deliver on,” Spencer said, adding chainlink’s technology could mean “we’re essentially witnessing the ‘Uberization’ of data,” referring to ride-hailing app Uber’s disruption of the traditional taxi market.
“Holders of the link token will eventually have the ability to participate in the crowdsourcing process, and will earn money for doing so. For a certain class of investors, the right to provide data for smart contracts is a potentially incredible opportunity to develop steady passive income streams based on the data economy.”
As the link price has climbed over recent months, other bitcoin and cryptocurrency investors have bought in, somewhat driven by fear of missing out.
“Very real possibility that chainlink will be bigger than bitcoin one day,” crypto analyst Timothy Peterson of Cane Island Alternative Advisors said via Twitter this week. “The applications are enormous. I moved all my excess dollars out of Chase and into link.”
Vance is confident the link price will continue to climb and has predicted link, currently worth a total of $2.2 billion, will eventually eclipse ethereum’s $26 billion market capitalization.
“We believe that the winner of the smart contract platform war will eventually be worth several factors greater than ethereum’s current market cap,” Vance said.
“If that is the case, then it is only natural that the security layer of that winner, chainlink, will also grow significantly in value. We also expect interest in chainlink to further increase once staking is introduced, as people will scramble to essentially buy the right to become a data provider for the smart contract universe.”
Some other cryptocurrencies that use so-called proof-of-stake instead of bitcoin’s proof-of-work model have seen their price rocket in recent months.
Tezos, which styles itself as a “self-amending cryptographic ledger” and uses the proof-of-stake consensus model, has seen the price of its XTZ token double since the beginning of 2020.
Tezos holders, if their funds are stored in certain wallets, can “stake” their XTZ and receive additional tokens as a reward for creating and verifying new blocks in the chain.