How to Get Chainlink (LINK): a Beginner’s Guide

Published: January 10, 2024 | Last Updated: December 7, 2023

Markos Koemtzopoulos

Markos Koemtzopoulos is the founder and main writer of ElementalCrypto. He has been a lecturer at the University of Nicosia on cryptocurrencies and DeFi and has taught two courses on crypto and blockchain technology.


Wondering how you get Chainlink crypto? In this beginner’s guide, I will show how to buy Chainlink’s LINK token. I will show you where to find LINK and provide you with detailed instructions on how to buy it. We’ll also take a look at how to store LINK once you get your hands on it such as staking it. To end, I will give a brief explanation of what Chainlink does as well as point you to some useful resources if you want to understand what you are investing in better. 

Chainlink’s native token is called LINK. This is an ERC-20 token which means it lives on the Ethereum exchange. 

Crypto exchanges

If you don’t have any LINK the easiest way to buy it is on a crypto exchange. LINK is available on almost all of the centralized exchanges.

Here are the top exchanges in terms of trading volume for LINK/USD:

  • Coinbase
  • Kraken
  • Bitstamp
  • Bitfinex
  • Gemini
  • Gate.io
  • Coinlist Pro
  • Crypto.com

If you want to use Euros then these are the most liquid exchanges

  • Kraken
  • Coinbase
  • Binance

You can buy Chainlink crypto on almost any exchange but for some, you will need to buy USDT first and then convert that into LINK. 

Cryptocurrency Brokers

Chainlink’s LINK token is also available to purchase on brokers such as Robinhood and eToro.

The benefit of using a broker is that you can manage both crypto and non-crypto assets such as stocks in one place. The drawback is that they have a narrower selection of cryptocurrencies to choose from.

See Is Robinhood Bad for Crypto for more details. 

Decentralized exchanges

Apart from centralized exchanges, you can also find LINK on decentralized exchanges:

  • Uniswap
  • Pancake swap
  • SushiSwap
  • Trader Joe
  • SpookySwap
  • SpiritSwap
  • Bancor Network

If you are new to crypto I recommend you choose a centralized exchange. To use a decentralized exchange (DEX) you need to understand how they work and how to use a wallet. To really get to grips with how DEXs work read my tutorial about Uniswap.

In this guide, I will show you how to buy LINK on Kraken.

I like Kraken as it has extra security settings and has a reputation for being secure. However, if you are investing a sizable amount of crypto I will show you how to move your LINK off exchanges and onto a cryptocurrency wallet for further security. 

Heads up: All of the major exchanges including Coinbase, Binance, and Kraken in the US are getting attacked by the SEC at the time of writing so it is safer to store your Chainlink tokens elsewhere once you buy them.

Step 1: Set up your account. 

First, you need to set up an account with a crypto exchange. You can set up your account either using the app or by visiting Kraken.com

I recommend you use the app to sign up because at some point you will need to photograph your ID. 

Kraken has two apps: Kraken and Kraken Pro.

Kraken Pro has cheaper fees but is more complex to use. If this is your first time use the Kraken app.

Your fees will be around the 1-2% mark vs 0.26% that you would get on Kraken Pro. 

You will need to go through a KYC (know-your-customer) process, submit an email address, and upload your ID.

If you live outside the US you will also need to provide proof of address such as a utility bill.

The verification process is instant but can take up to 48 hours. 

Step 2. Deposit money

If you don’t have any cryptocurrencies then you need fiat money such as US dollars, euros, pounds sterling, yen, and so on to buy them.

You can deposit cash to Kraken either via a credit card or debit card or you can make a bank transfer. If you live in the US then you can use ACH which takes up to two business days. This is the cheapest way.

To deposit fiat click on the exchange icon in the center of the menu.

kraken app navigation

Next, select “Deposit cash or crypto”

deposit cash kraken

Select the fiat currency that you wish to deposit and then choose from the deposit options that are supported.

In my case, it says ACH transfers are not supported because I am based in Europe.

In the next screen, you will see Kraken’s bank account details. Use those details to log into your bank account and make a bank transfer.

For those of you based outside the United States, you will see other deposit options as well when you click on your local currency.

For example, in Europe, there is an instant cash deposit option available via PayPal for a hefty 3.4% fee. 

 To make credit and debit card purchases click on Buy Crypto With Cash.

Click on the exchange icon in the middle of the bottom menu and select Buy crypto with cash

Search for LINK in the search bar

buy chainlink kraken
Type LINK in the search bar

Next, it will ask you what order type you would like to set up. There are 3  options to choose from

  • Buy now will execute your order at whatever the current market price is. This is the simplest option
  • Recurring is for those who want to buy at regular intervals. 
  • Custom is for those who want to set a limit order. This means your order won’t go through unless the price of Chainlink drops below a certain price which you will be asked to specify in the next screen. 

The easiest option is to buy now. Click on that and enter the amount of LINK you want to purchase in euros, dollars, etc. You also have the option to specify the amount of LINK you want by clicking on the LINK icon. 

Select your payment option where it says “Pay with”.

If your deposit has come through you can use that or you can add a card. Card payments will incur heftier fees. 

Click on Continue and review the amount and fees.

link purchase review kraken

If you are happy, tick the disclaimer that you won’t be able to make withdrawals for 72 hours. This is done to comply with anti-money laundering requirements. Next swipe to confirm and you are all set up.

When you check your portfolio tab you will see the amount of LINK that you own.

After you buy Chainlink you have two options. The first is to leave it on the exchange. 

Option 1: Leave it on the exchange

The good thing about leaving it on the exchange is that you don’t need to worry about managing multiple apps. It’s also idiot-proof because if you lose your account login details you can always recover them by reaching out to support.

If you go for this option make sure to set up two-factor authentication (2FA) to prevent unauthorized access.

You will find this option under settings. To use 2FA you need to download Google’s authenticator app. This generates temporary codes that last for a minute that you use to log in in addition to your password.

Depending on which exchange you use you may have different security settings. For example, you may be able to restrict withdrawals for a certain time limit. This way if anyone hacks into your account their transfer won’t execute before the allotted time when they try to steal your funds by which time you will have been notified.

Coinbase offers a cool feature called a vault that locks your digital assets for 48 hours before a transfer can be made. Kraken also has a similar freeze setting.

For more on which crypto exchange to use and their security features check out 20 crucial factors to look for in a cryptocurrency exchange

If you have invested a sizable amount in LINK, say more than $5,000 worth then I would recommend you move it off the exchange and into a wallet. 

When you store your crypto assets on an exchange you do not have access to the private keys of the address where your LINK is stored.

Remember, as an ERC-20 coin, LINK lives on the Ethereum blockchain. This means there is a public address on the Ethereum network with an entry that shows how much LINK it owns. To move the LINK from that address you need the private keys.

An exchange manages the whole process in the back end for you and never shares the private keys with you. This is great because it removes complexity. But it also means you could lose your LINK if the exchange gets hacked or goes bankrupt. Both of those happen quite frequently in the world of crypto, even with large crypto exchanges. 

If you want to own your private keys you need to move your LINK to an Ethereum wallet. In addition, wallets won’t ask for any personal information.

When you set up a wallet for the first time the wallet app will generate a 12-25 word mnemonic phrase. Using cryptography anyone can easily convert this seed phrase to multiple public address-private key combinations. This means that anyone who has access to this seed phrase has access to your private keys.

The seed phrase is the main benefit and drawback of using a Chainlink wallet. Only you have access to the seed phrase but if you lose it no one can recover it for you.

There are two types of wallets: 

1. Software wallets

A Software wallet is a digital wallet that allows you to manage crypto on the go. Your private keys are locally encrypted on your device and only available to you. You can connect the wallet to DeFi applications and manage your portfolio through a desktop or mobile app. Some popular wallets are 

The problem with software wallets is that they are connected online and you are more prone to being scammed.

Hardware wallets

The best option is to use a cold storage wallet such as a Trezor or Ledger device that is not connected to the internet.

trezor hardware wallet
A Trezor hardware wallet

You can read about both of these options below

Chainlink is a decentralized oracle network that allows smart contracts to access real-world data.

An Oracle is just technical terminology for a computerized system that connects external data from the outside world to blockchain networks.

The Chainlink network is decentralized because it does not rely on any single oracle. Instead, it uses multiple off-chain data providers and takes a median number across all of them. The most popular data source is price feeds but Oracle service offers an abundance of other data such as weather data, sports events outcomes, and much more. See Chainlink’s uses for more.

Chainlink was founded in 2017 by Sergey Nazarov and Steve Ellis. See What is Chainlink for a more detailed explanation.

FAQs

Is Chainlink a good investment?

Chainlink is a key building block for the whole of DeFi. Chainlink node operators have enabled more than $9 trillion in transaction value. With a total market cap of $8.6 billion, Chainlink is consistently in the top 20 cryptocurrencies by market cap. The total supply of chainlink tokens is fixed at 1Bn. Whether it is a good investment or not depends on the market price. LINK reached an all-time high of just under $50 and is currently trending upwards at $15 at the time of writing.

Is Chainlink only on Ethereum?

Yes, Chainlink's LINK token is an ERC-20 token which means that it is only available on Ethereum. However, you can find wrapped versions of the token on other blockchains.

Can you cash out Chainlink?

Yes to cash out Chainlink click on the sell button of your exchange. Cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase, Kraken, and Gemini will allow you to convert LINK directly to dollars. Binance.us does not allow you to cash out in USD in the US. Bear in mind that most exchanges won't allow you to cash out within 72 hours of buying LINK to comply with anti-money laundering regulations.

Up Next

How to Mine Chainlink

This article will walk you through all there is to know about mining Chainlink. The first thing you need to know is that you can’t mine on Chainlink. Unlike Bitcoin, Chainlink doesn’t use a Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism. This means you can’t set up an ASIC miner or GPU to solve a cryptographic puzzle and earn a reward. Read more.

where does chainlink get its data

In this post, I will walk you through where Chainlink gets its data from. I will describe how Chainlink connects to external data sources and give you some examples of how their decentralized Oracle service actually works. Read more.

Markos Koemtzopoulos is the founder and main writer of ElementalCrypto. He has been a lecturer at the University of Nicosia on cryptocurrencies and DeFi and has taught two courses on crypto and blockchain technology.