Following its decision to make the Bitcoin dataset publicly available for analysis on it’s infrastructure server earlier this year, Google Cloud has announced the availability of the Ethereum blockchain data for exploration with BigQuery.
BigQuery is a RESTful web service that enables interactive analysis of massively large datasets.
Ethereum was largely built off the back of Bitcoin’s blockchain, where its creator, Vitalik Buterin, substantially extended its set of proficiency by including a virtual machine that can execute arbitrary code stored on the blockchain as smart contracts.
In form and structure, Ethereum practically mirrors Bitcoin, as it primarily serves to record immutable transactions. However, while both are essentially OLTP databases, providing little in the way of OLAP (analytics) functionality, the Ethereum dataset is notably distinct from the Bitcoin dataset.
According to Google, one of such disparities between both cryptocurrencies is the composition and mechanism of value transfer. While Ether value transfers are precise and direct, its predecessor-Bitcoin, has a more difficult value transfer mechanism.
Google also notes that with Ethereum, an aggregate of coordinated smart contracts could be used to build a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO). The Ethereum blockchain peer-to-peer software has an API for a subset of random-access functions such as checking wallet balances, but it still doesn’t include API endpoints for accessing data stored on-chain and for viewing the blockchain data in aggregate.
Google also believes the Ethereum architecture could be due for an upgrade. Expanding on this point the blogpost reads in part:
“BigQuery has strong OLAP capabilities to support this type of analysis, ad-hoc and in general, without requiring additional API implementation.”
The tech giant said it has built a software system on Google Cloud that synchronizes the Ethereum blockchain to computers running Par A visualization.
This system along with the underpinning database query are useful for making business decisions, such as improving the “Ethereum architecture itself (is the system running close to capacity and due for an upgrade?) to balance sheet adjustments (how quickly can a wallet be rebalanced?)”
The blogpost goes on to highlight the routine of Google Cloud, which will perform a daily extraction of data from the Ethereum blockchain ledger, including the “results of smart contract transactions, such as token transfers.” It will also de-normalize and store date-partitioned data to BigQuery for easy and cost-effective exploration.
Going forward, Google maintains that it hopes to welcome more contributors and blockchains to its platform.