My blogroll went stale and fell behind the cupboard a long while ago. I do like the multi purpose of it- as a signal to others of who influences you (so they can expand their own) but also as a bit of recognition for them.
It hardly seems worth it to create new data structures when it is exactly what the outline format of OPML does. That’s what its built for.
I have zero inside information but seriously doubt the WordPress Links structure is going to vanish. There’s nothing about it that impacts other functions. There is a thing where sometimes a feature is deprecated or no longer supported and people quickly panic to find a replacement. If it is well designed, it can work for a long time. Heck, I am still using Aperture to manage my photos. The RSS Feed parser that runs Feed2JS, http://magpierss.sourceforge.net/ continues to work after it’s last update in 2004.
Links can certainly work well, it’s a manual entry process to create them, but at least you can export OPML autogenerated from them https://en.support.wordpress.com/blogroll/import-export-links/ You should consider creating category or at least deleting the default ones that come with a new install.
A better approach IMHO is to use Inoreader as the manager of links, it serves the dual role of being the tool to read links, but it’s maybe the only one I know of that offers a link to a dynamically generated OPML.
If only more people kept up at blogging it might be worth rolling again.