Chainlink was launched in June 2017 by co-founders Steve Ellis and Sergey Nazarov. Chainlink is a decentralized oracle network. DeFi protocols deal with a lot of money and need quick access to accurate data. Oracles are responsible for sourcing real-time data and feeding them to the DeFi protocols.
LINK is the primary utility token of the Chainlink network. It is a native ERC-677 token that is used to pay Chainlink's oracle network. LINK has an upper cap of 1 billion, which was distributed during ICO. All the tokens have been premined. Chainlink uses a variation of the proof-of-stake algorithm not for validating new blocks but for transaction verification.
Chainlink has one of the most impressive partnerships lists in the crypto space. They offer an expansive suite of products that range from data aggregations to random variable generators for NFTs.