Scanning blockchain big data companies, is this a profitable business?
By Carol | Tina
Editing | Bi Tongtong Sources | PANews
Big data is on the rise. Under the dual blessing of the "blockchain" and "big data" concepts, more and more startups have entered this track, and the capital market is also more optimistic about this. According to PAData's earlier statistics, in the first half of this year, blockchain big data companies received a total of $ 41.4 million in financing, second only to DApps, integrated digital asset management, protocols, public chains and exchanges.
However, the well-known data analysis company Chainanalysis on the Bitcoin chain recently announced the dismissal of 39 employees in an effort to turn losses into profits. You should know that Chainanalysis also received nearly $ 10 million in purchase orders from US government agencies earlier this year, and according to Crunchbase statistics, this company received two rounds of B financing in February and April this year, with a total amount of $ 36 million.
Chainanalysis's layoffs seem to be pouring cold water on blockchain big data companies. If the top companies holding government orders are not profitable, what should other companies do? Is the blockchain big data track still valuable?
o1 Industry map of blockchain big data companies
Combining the division of the blockchain industry field and the current business scope of blockchain big data companies, PAData believes that the blockchain big data track can be roughly sorted into three sub-tracks:
The first is on-chain data tracking, which mainly includes blockchain browser and DApp data monitoring;
The second is transaction data monitoring, which mainly includes digital currency transaction data monitoring and derivative transaction data monitoring;
The third is the monitoring of mining data. The nature of mining data is also on-chain data. However, after a decade of development, the mining industry has formed a relatively complete segmented industry ecology. From mining machines, mining pools to staking, etc., its segmented data has also been Form a relatively independent system, mainly including computing power monitoring and node data tracking.
Although the data of the blockchain is always on the chain and can always be accessed, the rapid development of the blockchain big data track is still after the rise of the concept of big data in 2014. For example, CoinMarketCap, the most well-known digital currency transaction data monitoring website, was established in 2014. This website provides users with market data such as the currency price, liquidity, volatility of the digital currency, and the transaction volume and digital assets of the exchange.
After years of development, big data companies have emerged in various segments of the track. In addition to CoinMarketCap, there are also well-known data providers such as CoinGekco, Messari, and CoinMetrics in the digital currency transaction data field. Derivative transaction data companies that belong to the same category of transaction data monitoring are relatively few. Currently, most are used skew. In addition, MarketstackD provides EOS RAM resource transaction data, and FRINTRUN_ME provides Ethereum Gas transaction data.
In the field of on-chain data tracking, the more well-known browser projects are Ethereum browser Etherscan, integrated browser BitInfoCharts, on-chain asset tracking website Chainanalysis, on-chain large-value transaction monitoring website Chain.Info, and WhaleAlert. In addition, the well-known data providers in the DApp field include DappRadar, Dapp Review, LoanScan, etc., as well as tools for monitoring single DApp data, such as MKR Tools, Uniswap ROI By Token, etc.
In mining data monitoring, BTC.com and f2pool are relatively well-known providers of mining pool computing power and mining computing power. EOS Beijing, Staking Reward, and BITNODES are node data providers.
o2 To B or To C This is a question
Blockchain data is plentiful, and big data companies are emerging, but are users interested in this data? Will you really use this data?
"We often repeatedly discuss this issue internally, and we also ask ourselves," Why are the data users we are not interested in? "," Will users continue to look at it. "But from our observations, the current status is, Ordinary users do not care about the data on the chain, and it is difficult for him to understand the value of the data. "Yu Bibo, the product director of blockchain.info, a one-stop data service platform, said in an interview with PAData that blockchain data The value in itself is obvious, but there is currently no effective way for users to understand the data.
To C not only lacks user demand in this market, but even if there is demand, this demand is largely affected by the market.
BTC.com CEO Zhuang Zhong said in an interview with PAData, "At the peak of the bull market last year, the number of users was still considerable, but as the market continued to decline, the number of users has also dropped significantly." And according to the solemn Observe that the market ’s impact on C-end user activity is universal and obvious. "We have also compared other browsers in the industry. Everyone is in this trend. The number of users may drop to 1 / Around 3. "
Even though the domestic C-end market has not yet become a climate, it seems not feasible to skip the C-end and develop the B-end directly. "B-side requirements are often more customized. If you do n’t face the public at the beginning, but directly invest more manpower and time to develop this specific thing, you need a business model to continue to support it for better development. "Yu Bibo believes that this is a significant difference between domestic and foreign markets." We have also investigated many foreign big data companies. If they have done enough in-depth and professional, they will do some solutions as soon as they come up and sell them for money. , Foreign companies have the willingness to pay, but it is difficult to do so in China. "So he revealed that Chain.Info will continue to be open to the public for free. After having brand influence, with the improvement of data accuracy and breadth, Then consider the B-side business.
Except that domestic B-end companies have no willingness to pay, solemnly believe that at present, there are still fewer users who have clear needs regardless of individuals or companies. "More users have not realized that on-chain data is used for various industry analysis or some kind of The analysis you want to do is particularly helpful. "
In order to cope with the lack of user demand, both companies have taken some measures. Chain.Info hopes to attract users 'continuous attention based on market transaction signals that users are interested in, such as data on exchanges' large transfers. BTC.com may prefer to consider opening the data warehouse directly to some professional users, providing professional users with more, professional, and complex query functions.
o3 Actual revenue is still small or even ready to make no money for a long time
In the traditional big data industry, some people make money, some go public, some lose money, and some people put themselves in prison. However, the fate of many companies competing in the blockchain big data service track has one thing in common, that is, they rarely make money, and even if they make money, they can only make very little money, and even many companies do well. Long-term unprofitable preparation.
"To be honest, the actual revenue of the data business is still very small, whether it is to B or to C." Zhuang Zhong revealed in the interview. It is precisely because the profitability is not optimistic that all blockchain big data service companies are in a dilemma, that is, currently doing blockchain big data services is a "difficult work".
This dilemma is even more pronounced on more basic blockchain browser projects.
"Browser is an infrastructure project, that is, it has to be there, but no one seems to be willing to really invest that much to do such a thing." Zhuang Zhong further added, "and if you want to make browsing If the device is more meaningful, it will necessarily cover a more complete currency, from equipment to human resources, from development to maintenance, this investment is a linear increase. "
If you do n’t make money, there are people who are willing to invest in huge costs. Why?
Yu Bibo, a former product manager at Internet giant Alibaba, believes that "the value of big data is beyond doubt. Giants like Ali and Tencent are using data to do many commercial and valuable things." By analogy, he believes that the value of blockchain data itself is also obvious, and it can also create great value in the future.
But for blockchain big data service companies, it is still early days, and there are still many things to do and needs to be done. After all, you don't necessarily get cake when you see it.
For Chain.Info, Yu Bibo expressed the hope that based on data mining on the Bitcoin chain, gradually expand other cryptocurrencies in the Bitcoin ecosystem, such as BCH, BSV, USDT, LTC, etc., and then consider mining Ethereum and For some other public chains, "We hoped to make the blockchain network's blockchain data mining very deep and thorough in the early stage. Now it has included the basic on-chain indicators and exchange deposits and withdrawals. In the future, we hope to use these foundations to integrate The full link of every transaction on the Bitcoin network is presented visually. "
For the earlier establishment of BTC.com, the front has been extended to Ethereum in October last year. The Ethereum browser launched can meet users' data query needs for Ethereum Tokens and contracts. This year, solemnly stated that BTC.com The main goal of the company is, "On the one hand, we strive to do some architectural optimization, and on the other hand, we can cover more currencies and increase the development speed of new currencies while reducing costs as much as possible."
o4 Structured and standardized processing of data will become the focus of competition
If you observe the profit ideas of big data companies, they can be summarized as "data-tools-services". Among them, access to data is the first barrier to competition. Even in many areas, the availability of data determines the life or death of the business, such as areas that rely on meteorological data, civil aviation data and other data to obtain higher barriers.
But in the blockchain industry, due to the characteristics of the technology itself, there is basically no threshold for big data companies to obtain data, that is, everyone can access the data on the chain. Therefore, data is not the focus of competition. How to deal with data is the focus of competition. That is, who can provide more accurate and valuable tools is the key to winning the big data of the blockchain.
As far as the current blockchain data is concerned, the data of the same dimension usually cannot be cross-matched on two or more different data providers, which means that the quality of the current big data on the blockchain is still not high.
"The data of many browsers may be different, and this difference may be better on BTC currencies, but it may be a bit larger on Ethereum. We did encounter it during the development of the Ethereum browser. It's such a problem. "Solemnly admits that the data on Ethereum is more abundant and the data processing is more difficult. So different data companies will have differences when they structure and standardize this data.
Yu Bibo introduced Chain.Info to rely on algorithms to grasp the accuracy of the data. "The accuracy of the data is mainly two aspects, one is the accuracy of the transaction amount, and the other is the accuracy of the address label. For the former, we mainly use mathematics The method of derivation is used to improve our identification algorithm. For the latter, we also have a set of machine learning algorithms, and further cooperate with the real deposit and withdrawal and account opening. At present, the accuracy of our identification transactions should be above 99.9%, and the coverage rate is already at Industry-leading level. "
The structured and standardized processing of blockchain data depends on a deep understanding of the industry. This is not only an important factor for internal competition among blockchain big data companies, but also a defense against vendors of traditional cloud services and big data services from entering the block. Barriers in the field of big data analysis.
Solemnly believes that from the perspective of cost, especially the underlying hardware cost, these traditional cloud service and big data service vendors have incomparable advantages. "For example, the BigQuery service provided by Google since the previous year, this is a This kind of digital currency data database, in fact I sometimes go up and use it and do some checking. "So he thinks that blockchain big data companies urgently need to find a clearer business model, otherwise they will face external survival threats. .
However, Yu Bibo believes that although the homegrown blockchain big data company has no advantage in cost, it has an advantage in understanding the particularity of the blockchain data structure. "We have an understanding of the entire blockchain data as well as the exchange and There is a deeper understanding of relevant behaviors and patterns, so in the long-term competition, I believe we can definitely obtain an absolute advantage. "