As the intrigue of blockchains settles to a quiet simmer, it’s time to ask: How far has the technology advanced? Hundreds of new coin species have been minted. Billions of dollars have been raised. And tales have been spun of an encroaching technological revolution.
So, what has it changed? Who is using cryptocurrencies, and how often? How many coins are there? How are they being used? How secure are they? Which networks are thriving and which have withered?
These are questions best asked of data. However, for a technology that promises to bring transparency to the business of moving money, blockchain networks are remarkably opaque. On blockchains like Ethereum and Bitcoin, the complete historical records of financial transactions are out there for anyone to see. But getting your hands on an up-to-date version of them is far from trivial. As is the task of running any kind of analysis.
Recently, a handful of new projects have set out to make it much easier to access and query blockchain data. And by doing so, they may shed light on how far cryptocurrency projects have come and how far they still have to go.