New Google tool provides insights into Ethereum blockchain

4 Sep 2018

A portion of a data visualisation made using BigQuery data from the Ehereum blockchain, representing the first 50,000 transactions with at least two trading partners. Image: Google

Ethereum joins the Google fold as part of BigQuery, its powerful big-data analytics platform.

Tech giant Google has added Ethereum to its BigQuery data analytics platform, opening up opportunities for in-depth data analysis to take place. Ether is the second most popular cryptocurrency, after bitcoin.

The company said it will import the Ethereum blockchain into its BigQuery service on a daily basis, in a move that follows the pulling of bitcoin’s blockchain into the same service earlier this year.

Services that show data about Ethereum wallet addresses and transactions already exist, but the new Google plugin will allow much deeper data explorations. All queries are made using SQL, so a good knowledge of database programming tools is required. BigQuery also connects with the Parity Ethereum wallet client.

Harnessing the power of BigQuery for blockchain

BigQuery is a powerful tool and can answer a myriad of questions people may have about a dataset. In one example case, Google was able to reveal that the most transacted smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain was for the game CryptoKitties, which has been used more than 2.3m times.

Google said that conducting analysis on the Ethereum blockchain can allow for better business decisions. It will also help to indicate when Ethereum itself will need to be fixed.

The tech giant said: “A visualisation like this … is useful for making business decisions, such as prioritising improvements to 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?).”

Google has also developed a new interface to visualise smart contracts, and useful data maps can now be created using Ethereum blockchain data.

Are Ethereum tokens securities?

In June of this year, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US found that Ethereum is not a security. William Hinman, director of the corporation finance division at the SEC, said: “If the network on which the token or coin is to function is sufficiently decentralised – where purchasers would no longer reasonably expect a person or group to carry out essential managerial or entrepreneurial efforts – the assets may not represent an investment contract.

“Based on my understanding of the present state of ether, the Ethereum network and its decentralised structure, current offers and sales of ether are not securities transactions.”

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects