stake.link is a delegated liquid staking protocol built specifically for Chainlink staking. The protocol enables anyone to deposit LINK and start receiving rewards from Chainlink node operators.
Chainlink staking is a cryptoeconomic security mechanism for the decentralized oracle network. LINK token holders and node operators deposit their LINK as collateral in smart contracts to secure the network by backing certain performance guarantees around oracle services. Delegated staking is a form of staking whereby a node operator allows all or a portion of its stake allotment to be filled by LINK community members. Delegated staking serves to reduce the capital intensity required for node operators to function within the Chainlink network. In addition, stake.link provides a solution for the locking of staked LINK tokens (currently lock period is 9-12 months). First, the protocol employs a 5% liquidity buffer that allows users to withdraw their staked LINK at any time, assuming there is sufficient liquidity. Second, the protocol issues a rebasing stLINK token in return for staking LINK that represents the staked amount. stLINK can be thought of as similar to Lido's stETH and used across DeFi to earn additional yield.
Node operators must be incentivized to offer their LINK staking capacity to the stake.link platform. The protocol achieves this in the form of a delegation fee for all rewards received through stake.link. Community stakers are incentivized to deposit LINK to secure the network in exchange for receiving staking rewards (minus delegation and core contributor fees). The fees currently include a 20% delegation fee and a 3% core contributor fee.
stake.link was built by LinkPool, a Chainlink node service provider. The protocol is currently mainly powered by participating node operators (Node Operator Council) during its early stage with no governance system yet in place. The protocol expects to expand over time to adopt a formal governance process led by the stake.link DAO.