Ashok shared his thoughts on cross-platform blockchain analytics, and challenges Chainbeat team faced while building Google Analytics for the dApps world.
Hello! What’s your background, and what are you working on?
Hello! My name is Ashok Pitchamani, and I am the Co-founder and CEO of Chainbeat.
I have been a crypto space insider, only for the last couple of years. But I have been following Bitcoin and the decentralization possibilities on the outside since 2013. The Bitcoin conversations with Balaji Srinivasan (Videos 1, 2, 3) kept me educated, Vitalik’s “Decentralize everything with Ethereum” interview helped me realize the practical possibilities, and it was around the time Chris Dixon wrote his brilliant essay on “Why Decentralization Matters “, that I actually got into working on blockchain applications.
It was during the user testing of our first Ethereum DApp, that we realized there is a lack of analytics tools that provide insights on how users are interacting with smart contracts. We missed having a Google Analytics equivalent in the DApp world. Of course, we had individual transaction-level information provided by block explorers, but what we needed was actual usage metrics. So we ended up writing a tool with a set of predefined user metrics that we cared about. We called this tool Analyther - “Analytics for Ethereum”. Over time Analyther evolved into Chainbeat. Our goal at Chainbeat is to provide blockchain data insights that can help understand usage and behavioral metrics for DApps and protocols that are building web 3.0.
At Chainbeat, we are a close-knit team of 7 creatives. We have been working together over the last 8+ years across various startups/projects in the Enterprise, SaaS, and AI spaces. We truly enjoy building products that solve major customer problems.
What’s Chainbeat backstory?
When we started working on Chainbeat, the blockchain environment was similar to what the internet was like 20 years ago. As you probably know in the early days of the internet, information was very disorganized, until search engines like Google came along indexing information and turning the web into more usable and understandable formats. Along with the search engines came a plethora of tools for Internet-based businesses that allowed them to track and measure all customer activities across their web, desktop, or mobile apps. All these analytics tools helped the Internet-based businesses understand customer behavior better and helped them to easily adapt to satisfy customer needs. Eventually, these businesses became market leaders overthrowing traditional brick and mortar competition.
We believe that as the Blockchain infrastructure matures, decentralized apps will be the next generation apps challenging their centralized counterparts. The growth of the De-Fi ecosystem is just an indicator of things to come in the future. For DApps to succeed, it needs tools that can provide contextual usage data to help understand user behavior and help set goals and create an informed hypothesis on how to reach these goals. Hence the reason we built Chainbeat.
We have positioned Chainbeat as a cross-platform analytics engine as we think web 3.0 will be built across many blockchain platforms and provide data insights that will benefit everyone involved in these platforms with a new way of looking at things.
What went into building the Chainbeat?
Every blockchain platform is its own ecosystem — with its own set of rules, developer tools, apps, etc. In order to get simple activity metrics, we have to use an ecosystem specific tool. In many cases, there may not be any such tools, and the only way to get this information is to connect directly with the blockchain, which is hard and time-consuming.
Our first goal at Chainbeat is to eliminate this step by providing a simple and easy to use interface whereby just plugging-in the smart contract address (and the corresponding blockchain) will give the most accurate, up-to-date metrics on activities that reflect the current usage statistics of the smart contract.
To do this, our infrastructure should be able to handle a high volume of data. So we went about architecting our system to be robust and scalable.
Our second goal is to empower everyone to do more with actionable and functional data. Block Explorers provide transactional level information without any context. Chainbeat will bridge this gap by providing high-level contextual information that directly translates how, why, and when decentralized apps and protocols gets used.
To achieve this goal, we designed Chainbeat with the ability to:
- Collect accurate data that is important and pertinent
- Provide tools to identify key trends by looking at historical data and observing over time in the future
- Ability to dig deeper to understand the patterns
- Set goals and create an informed hypothesis on how to achieve those goals
Our third goal is to provide real-time data insights that can help users make fast decisions to help grow their business.
To achieve this goal, Chainbeat has custom reports and real-time alerts that allow the user to act in time and engage with their user base immediately. There is also a Slack integration that can help alert the user and provides the ability to take action seamlessly without leaving your existing workflow.
What’s your business model?
Our business model is SaaS, with $ revenues. We offer a freemium starter plan with options to upgrade to paid plans with richer feature sets.
What’s your position on the regulatory landscape today?
We set out to build Chainbeat to be an enabler in developing the next paradigm of technologies - a decentralized web 3.0 and an open finance 2.0. We believe blockchain technology has immense positive potential that can decentralize and streamline financial transactions on a global scale. Unfortunately, regulatory agencies are still playing catchup, and many are figuring out and trying to find out the role of blockchain in the future of international commerce.
From Chainbeat’s perspective, we are not directly impacted by regulations as we are a blockchain data company that provides insights on existing data. But the reality is the more DApps there are, the better for our business. As believers in blockchain technology, we think that having a unified regulatory framework that provides clarity and encourages innovation will be crucial in the growth of these exciting technologies.
What are your goals for the future?
One of our main goals is to be the first cross-blockchain analytics and insights platform for web 3.0. We believe that the next generation DApps will be built across various blockchains, and we would like to be the analytics engine to help provide insights for these DApps to understand and grow.
Here is our tentative roadmap for the next 18 months. This will evolve over time but provides general insight on where we are headed.
The other important goal is to provide an advanced analytics layer on top of our contract analytics. We launched the MVP product in May 2019 and received great feedback from our early users. Based on the feedback received, we have added new tools and advances to provide a launchpad for new insights.
- Add support for wallets (launched June 2019)
- Download analytics data locally (launched Sep 2019)
- Public Dashboards (launched Oct 2019)
We will be launching new tools on an ongoing basis based on user input.
What are your future thoughts for the DeFi market?
We are very optimistic and excited about the possibilities in the DeFi space. We think that the innovations happening in DeFi will inevitably lead to new ideas for building web 3.0 as both consumers and businesses start to understand and appreciate the benefits of increased user control, lower transaction costs, and other extra benefits of decentralization.
DeFi has been the enabler for the building blocks of smart contracts and interoperable crypto assets in the financial space. We think that DeFi is a fascinating ground for innovation and new ideas. The real question is, how it is going to transition from a relatively small enthusiast market to more of a mainstream audience? Will the DeFi products follow the existing regulatory system, or will they create their own? Only time will tell.
Our public dashboards feature was especially inspired by the DeFi ecosystem for users to explore, share, compare, and benchmark the various DeFi projects in the ecosystem.
Where can we go to learn more?
You can email us at [email protected] if you have any additional questions or need more information.