Sergey Nazarov: Chainlink Founder and Entrepreneurial Mastermind

The story behind Sergey Nazarov and the Chainlink Oracle Network.

Man wearing a Sergey Nazarov t-shirt and he is very excited about it.
Created by Gabor Kovacs from DailyCoin

Sergey Nazarov, Chainlink’s calm and collected Founder, wrote the blockchain behemoth’s white paper in 2017 alongside Steve Ellis and Ari Juels. 

Little did they know, this humble document would eventually become the industry’s largest decentralized oracle network, making Nazarov one of the most important founders and CEOs of Web3.

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In this article, we’ll explore Sergey Nazarov’s life and examine the twists and turns that led to the creation of Chainlink (LINK)

Sergey Nazarov Before Crypto

Sergey Nazarov is the son of Russian immigrants who moved to New York in the 1990s. His parents were engineers, introducing Nazarov to computer science and engineering at an early age. A curious mind and avid learner, Nazarov quickly took their lessons to heart and dived into the labyrinthine world of computer engineering. 

Sergey Nazarov profile picture.
Source: LinkedIn

Nazarov proved himself a handy coder, securing third place in the 2006 Google Coding Jam. Despite being naturally gifted in the sciences, Nazarov didn’t opt for an engineering degree for his college education. In a surprising twist, he studied philosophy and management science and graduated with a bachelor’s degree from New York State University. 

After graduation, Sergey chose to remain in the academic environment and share his knowledge with the next generation of budding entrepreneurs. Employed as a teaching fellow at the New York University Stern School of Business, Nazarov combined his passion with his skill in delivering a technology entrepreneurship course alongside Professor Lenihan.

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While at Stern School of Business, he also interned at FirstMark Capital. As part of a seven-man team, Nazarov managed over $2 billion and invested over $90 million in Seed A, B, and C venture financings. 

Nazarov’s Illuminating Side Projects

On top of these academic workloads and responsibilities, Nazarov diligently built his first company, ExistLocal.Inc. ExistLocal was a peer-to-peer marketplace created to foster authentic local experiences. The company aimed to allow individuals to create amazing online presences that could attract and foster P2P online trading. 

However, Nazarov only spent two years working at ExistLocal before leaving and moving to QED Capital. At QED, Nazarov worked as a general partner and contributed to the company shifting its focus to crypto. He also contributed to building the first blockchain-based webmail called CryptaMail. CryptaMail would become Nazarov’s first-ever venture into the world of crypto and blockchain technology. 

2014 was a year of whirlwind change for the future founder of Chainlink, spurred by three significant milestones. 

First, he became the CEO and co-founder of CryptaMail, the solution he’d worked on while at QED Capital. 

Secondly,  Nazarov co-founded and became CEO of Secure Asset Exchange. Secure Asset Exchange was a hybrid smart contract application platform for real-time revenue sharing with multi-signature escrows. 

Finally, he bought the smartcontract.com domain and co-founded SmartContract, a network that connects smart contracts to external APIs, real-world data, and widely accepted bank payments.

By the end of 2014, Nazarov had served as CEO of three different blockchain companies. He left CryptaMail and Secure Asset Exchange during the year to focus on developing and expanding SmartContract, the most promising of the three startups. 

Using the knowledge and experience gained from building SmartContract, Nazarov wrote the Chainlink White Paper with Steve Ellis and Ari Juels, and the idea behind Chainlink was born. 

Chainlink is an Oracle solution. Its primary use case is to feed data from off-chain networks to on-chain contracts. Chainlink’s comparative advantage over other oracles is that it is decentralized. This means that the Oracle network isn’t susceptible to the failings of centralized systems.

Chainlink was an instant success, with the LINK token raising over $32 million during its Initial Coin Offering (ICO). But even that was merely a taste of what was to come.

Chainlink logo.
Source: Chainlink

During the 2021 crypto bull run, the Chainlink network surpassed $75 billion in Total Value Secured (TVS). The total value secured in this context measures how much money the protocols integrated with Chainlink have saved. 

That same year, the Chainlink ecosystem grew exponentially, with thousands of DeFi applications, products, services, and NFTs relying on Nazarov’s Oracle network. Not limited to Ethereum alone, Chainlink oracles recently launched its Cross-Chain Interoperability Protocol (CCIP). This key innovation means dozens of other blockchain networks can leverage Chainlink oracles.

Chainlink’s relentless march continued throughout 2022. By the end of the year, Chainlink had surpassed $6.9 trillion in Transaction Value Enabled (TVE). This meant that Chainlink-based protocols had enabled transactions approximating that amount.

That same year, Nazarov announced that Chainlink was now the industry standard for decentralized oracles in the blockchain industry, claiming that Chainlink ran over 60% of all oracle computations on dApps (decentralized applications). 

Is Nazarov Satoshi Nakamoto?

Sergey Nazarov’s success with Chainlink has led many conspiracy theorists to think he’s Satoshi Nakamoto. As the mysterious figure who published the Bitcoin (BTC) Whitepaper, Nakamoto’s identity remains a burning question within the crypto ecosystem.

Since Satoshi ceased crypto communications and went off the grid in 2014, wild theories about his identity have entertained the internet. Some argue that Satoshi is Dorian Nakamoto, a reclusive engineer. Others believe that he is Nick Szabo, a cryptocurrency expert. And some are convinced that Satoshi is Craig Wright

All three ‘suspects’ have denied being Satoshi, and the question of the Bitcoin founder’s identity remains open. 

However, some people think that Satoshi is none other than the co-founder of Chainlink himself. What’s more, these speculators believe they have some rock-solid evidence. 

The first crucial evidence is that the SmartContract URL was registered six days before the Bitcoin White Paper was published. Today, that URL is owned by Nazarov through Chainlink. 

While SmartContract.com forwards users to the Chainlink website today, it didn’t always do that. The page’s original content centered on using blockchain tech to build smart contracts. 

Additionally, people who believe Nazarov is Satoshi point out that Nazarov shares the same initials as Satoshi, S.N. 

They also claim that Nazarov’s video with Ben Chan contains a smoking gun, proving Satoshi is Nazarov. In the video, Nazarov claims he’s been into crypto for at least a year. He would have been working on crypto just about when Satoshi published his white paper. 

That plot thickens further. Theorists cling to one final piece of ‘evidence.’ A recent discovery has shown that Satoshi Nakamoto once used a Russian proxy to hide his identity. While that ordinarily sounds like a non-issue, believers in this theory note that Nazarov also has ties to Russia. Additionally, Nazarov worked at a Russian firm, QED Capital, early in his career. 

On the Flipside

  • The evidence of Satoshi being Nazarov is mostly circumstantial and leaves much to be desired. Besides, Nazarov would have been twenty years old when the Bitcoin White Paper was written. While not impossible, he would have needed to be an Einstein-level prodigy. 

Why This Matters

If Chainlink continues to grow at its current trajectory, it will not only enjoy overwhelming dominance of the decentralized oracle market but also monopolize this market niche. Nazarov is the CEO leading that charge and may become an even more powerful voice in crypto. 

FAQs

Who is the CEO of Chainlink?

Sergey Nazarov is the founder and CEO of Chainlink Labs, the company behind the Chainlink decentralized oracle network.

Where was Chainlink founded?

Chainlink is headquartered in the Cayman Islands and was founded by tech-savvy entrepreneurs Sergey Nazarov, Steve Ellis, and Ari Juels.

Why is LINK so valuable?

LINK is the native cryptocurrency of the Chainlink decentralized oracle network, a platform used by most blockchain-based products and services to transmit off-chain data to on-chain environments.

Does Oracle own Chainlink?

No, Chainlink is an oracle, a platform responsible for bringing real-world data on-chain. It’s not to be confused with Oracle, a Big Tech cloud computing platform.

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Author
Finn Miller

Finn Miller is a New Zealand-based blockchain writer for DailyCoin who specializes in simplifying complex blockchain topics. He is experienced in crafting whitepapers, researching on-chain data, and advising emerging crypto projects, and uses his unconventional approach to learning and passion for knowledge to provide cornerstone educational content for readers of all levels. When not exploring the depths of DeFi, Finn can be found exploring his other passion, the great outdoors.