Smart contracts running on a blockchain are faced with the problem of retrieving external data from the real world in a secure and reliable way. Chainlink solves the oracle problem through independent oracle node operators which participate in over 1,000 unique decentralized oracle networks that secure billions of dollars of value within the expanding smart contract economy.
LinkRiver is a community-driven Chainlink node service provider that has played an essential role in supporting the Chainlink developer community through the official Chainlink Discord channel and during Chainlink hackathons. In 2021, the LinkRiver team won the beta round of the Chainlink Oracle Olympics and received a Chainlink Community Grant for the creation of nodelogs.link, a debugging platform for Chainlink node operators that went live in January 2022.
To learn more about what it takes to become one of the Chainlink Network’s high-performing node operators, Chainlink Today caught up with LinkRiver co-founder Rob Zimmermann to talk about the inspiration driving his team.
CT: How did the LinkRiver co-founders discover Chainlink?
LR: As long-standing participants in the Bitcoin and Ethereum ecosystems, Chainlink caught our attention as soon as the first information about the project was published. We quickly realized the importance of solving the oracle problem and Chainlink’s potential to drive the mass adoption of decentralized technologies.
CT: What inspired you to become a Chainlink node operator?
LR: As members of the Chainlink community since 2017, we decided to start our own node operations business while tracking the inaugural SmartCon in 2020. The idea of actively securing Chainlink as the industry-standard oracle network enabling the mass adoption of decentralized technologies was our biggest dream, which fortunately came true and is now lived by everyone on our team every day.
From the beginning, LinkRiver’s vision has been to provide free, high-quality education on decentralized technologies and to reach the highest possible number of people from a variety of different backgrounds. Our focus is on strengthening the Chainlink Network by developing ecosystem tools and offering services that facilitate node operations by abstracting complex processes and lowering the barrier to entry for new node service providers while improving the performance of existing ones.
CT: How did you turn your dream into reality?
LR: During the Spring 2021 Chainlink Virtual Hackathon, we helped various teams build custom Chainlink solutions for their projects. Shortly thereafter, we won the first-ever Chainlink Oracle Olympics, which led to us being onboarded into Chainlink’s decentralized oracle networks. Since then, LinkRiver has helped secure Chainlink Data Feeds, Proof of Reserve, and Automation across a variety of blockchain networks.
My co-founder Roger and I were invited to join the first cohort of Chainlink Labs’ Developer Expert Program, which aims to help aspiring developers learn how to write smart contracts and integrate Chainlink products. In September 2021, we hosted a panel at SmartCon #1, during which we offered advice on how to become a successful Chainlink node operator and answered frequently asked questions from the node operator community.
CT: How does the LinkRiver team work together?
LR: Our team combines many years of academic and industry experience in areas of computer science, including DevOps engineering, software development, and AI engineering/data science, as well as business, finance, and education. This blend of academic training and practical skills benefits our day-to-day business, as our team members work continuously on different projects while staying in close contact to complement each other across departments.
We are an international team that, due to the nature of our core business, works globally distributed in order to ensure the highest possible availability. This requires a certain degree of flexibility, but also brings with it a lot of cultural and professional exchange. Having witnessed web3’s development for many years, our team is using that experience to help shape web3’s future evolution.
CT: What do you love most about Chainlink?
LR: The combination of first-class academic research and practical industry application in the field of revolutionary technologies makes Chainlink the most promising project of our time. Chainlink’s solutions have been researched by scientists for many years, built by developers, and ultimately implemented by node operators, each of which is among the best in the world in their field.
This is reflected in the daily work, which is characterized by highly professional processes and efficient communication. Knowing that you are participating in something that lays the foundation for creating more transparency and fairness in potentially almost every area of life motivates you to do your best every day to strengthen the underlying network.
Besides working with Chainlink Labs and other node operators, we love the Chainlink community, without which the ecosystem would not be where it is today and which helps distinguish Chainlink from other projects in the crypto space and beyond.