Ethereum Blockchain Big Data, Courtesy of Google

Needed: Blockchain big data insights

Technology giant Google now offers blockchain big data insights into the Ethereum network using their BigQuery with Cloud infrastructure as the foundation.

The blockchain is a distributed database. Decentralization and immutable records have made the technology popular. The database records all transactions with cryptographic security, therefore no one can tamper with records. The Ethereum project has introduced smart contracts. These are programs that enable the automatic transfer of assets based on certain conditions. This has made many new business models possible.

While blockchain technology is promising, a rich ecosystem is still work-in-progress. Take the example of the On-line Transaction Processing Database that’s suitable for operation-centric queries. OLTPs are undoubtedly very important from the operational perspective. However, blockchain’s wider adoption is possible only when large businesses accept it.

But enterprises need much more from the database, they need insights which allow them to make sense of the data so they can act meaningfully. This requires analytics, which OLTP doesn’t support. Businesses need ‘On-line Analytical Processing‘ (OLAP) systems instead. With today’s world of massive unstructured data, enterprises need Big Data. Businesses can realize blockchain’s promise only when they get analytics support.

Now, you can browse blockchain data using block explorers. Most prominent blockchain networks offer this; however, you can only view transaction data with it. You can’t get aggregate information. As for Ethereum, the platform offers you APIs to view data. You can view wallet balances, but these API endpoints don’t allow you to view all data. You also can’t get aggregate data using these API endpoints because these aren’t analytics solutions.

This is where Google can make a difference with their BigQuery.

blockchain big data
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Google is bringing analytics to the blockchain. Image credit: Luis Villa del Campo / Flickr

Blockchain big data, thanks to Google

Google’s BigQuery is an enterprise-grade Big Data/Analytics solution, and it operates on a Petabyte-scale. It uses the robust Google Cloud infrastructure, meaning it’s reliable, scalable, and performant. Google boasts that the entire Ethereum blockchain dataset is now available for analytics.

Note that Google had earlier made the Bitcoin blockchain dataset available through BigQuery. However, Bitcoin has owner accounts only, whereas Ethereum also has smart contract accounts. Users can get entirely different sets of analytics like smart contract transactions aggregate, from Ethereum.

Computers equipped with Parity, an Ethereum client, will hold the Ethereum dataset on the Google Cloud. The cloud platform will keep them in sync with the Ethereum network. The solution will store data in partitions for efficiency. BigQuery is able to generate analytics from smart contract function calls, transaction times, etc.

Google’s BigQuery has already analyzed popular smart contract event logs such as the digital collectible game CryptoKitties. It has done transaction volumes analytics, and smart contract functionality analytics are also covered. BigQuery’s powerful OLAP capabilities allow users to get insights from the Ethereum blockchain in rich visual representations. The Ethereum community can make important decisions based on this blockchain big data. They can determine whether the analytics will indicate the network is running at full capacity or not, allowing the community to then make decisions about an upgrade.

BigQuery also allows users to use their Python library, therefore they can access the public data science platform Kaggle. As you would expect from Google, there is excellent documentation available on the project. The project team has also shared their GitHub repository, where you can view their open-source code. Google continues to offer user-friendly solutions that appeal just as strongly to enterprise level companies.

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Anujit Kumar is a staff writer for BlockTelegraph. He covers market action and the latest in applications and technical development.

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