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July 9, 2022

On-Chain Data – The Ultimate Guide to Understanding and Accessing On-Chain Data

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If you’re familiar with Web3 development, you know that developers build dapps (decentralized applications), DeFi platforms, and other Web3 projects on top of blockchain networks like Ethereum. Blockchains are essentially digital public ledgers containing a complete record of a network’s transaction history. The keyword here is ”public”, reflecting the transparent nature of this technology. Moreover, this openness presents opportunities for Web3 developers to access ”on-chain data”. No matter what projects you might be looking to create, it’s essential to access on-chain data. As such, we’ll take this article to dive deeper into the intricacies of on-chain data and how you can acquire this information easily through Moralis

Gathering and logically structuring on-chain data is generally a complex task and requires an abundance of time. For this reason, developers can save resources by using platforms such as Moralis. Moralis is the most significant operating system for Web3 development. Also, along with an underlying backend infrastructure, Moralis provides phenomenal development tools, including various APIs. 

Moralis’ Web3 API, NFT API, Web3 authentication solution and more allow you to access on-chain data with ease, meaning you can avoid the hassles of setting up the infrastructure to do so yourself. Instead, you can focus on other, more essential parts of the development process to create the best UX (user experience) for your potential customers! 

If you’d like to learn more about Moralis, feel free to browse the Moralis blog and explore additional articles. For example, if you’re new to the industry, check out our guide on how to build on Web3, which dives into the intricacies of blockchain development for beginners! In addition, if you have ambitions to step up your Web3 development game, consider signing up with Moralis. What’s more, creating an account is entirely free and only takes a couple of seconds! 

What is a Blockchain? 

Before diving deeper into the intricacies of on-chain data, a good starting point is to briefly recap what a blockchain is. Also, it’s good to see how it works. Thus, before we get to the central part of this article, let’s try to answer the “what is a blockchain?” question.

The concept of a blockchain was first introduced as early as the nineties. However, the technology gained traction with Bitcoin’s launch in 2009. In short, a blockchain is a type of decentralized and digital ledger that records, synchronizes, and publicly shares transaction data. Furthermore, each blockchain network has individual devices or computers known as nodes that track and record data in their particular digital ledger. These nodes act as system validators, ensuring that the networks are secure. The validated data is stored and organized in blocks chained together to create a chain of blocks, hence the name. All blocks – and the data they contain – are generally publicly available and distributed across the nodes in the blockchain network.

These digital and distributed ledgers have many benefits compared to more traditional databases. For one, the decentralized nature of blockchains eliminates the need for third-party oversight. Blockchains are also safe and secure, which means it’s difficult or even impossible for hackers to access them. Lastly, blockchains are entirely immutable, suggesting that no one can tamper with the records. As such, no single user can alter the data, which adds another level of security for network users. 

If you’d like to learn more about blockchain technology and Web3 development, please feel free to check out Moralis Academy. If you’re new to the crypto realm, take a close look at the “Blockchain & Bitcoin 101” course, which covers the fundamentals of blockchain technology and Web3 development! 

What is On-Chain Data? 

On-chain data essentially refers to all the publicly available information regarding transactions that have occurred on a particular blockchain network. In other words, it’s the data from all blocks constituting a complete blockchain. With the transparency of these networks, this information is available to the public, and anyone can query on-chain data if needed. 

The transaction data is recorded in the digital ledger whenever transactions are validated and can never be altered. As such, the publicly available information is secure and accurate, which makes the data valuable when developing dapps and other Web3 projects. Different data types are generally available, ranging from wallet addresses, block timestamps, miner fees, transfer amounts, smart contract code, and much more.

On the opposite side, we have off-chain transactions, which can occur in a multitude of different ways. However, the clearest example is a settlement involving the exchange of private keys. Validators don’t need to confirm transactions like this as the exchange occurs in another setting. As such, these transactions are not recorded on a blockchain and, therefore, do not generate on-chain data. We’ll go further into off-chain data in the next section.

To summarize, on-chain data is essentially the publicly available information regarding transactions, blocks, and smart contracts on a blockchain network. Since a network facilitates these transactions, an immutable record of all transactions exists.  

What’s more, there is off-chain data (or traditional data) in addition to on-chain data. So, to make the concept of on-chain data more understandable, we’ll take the following section to delve deeper into the differences between on-chain and off-chain data. 

On-Chain vs Off-Chain Data

To fully understand on-chain data, comparing it to off-chain data is highly beneficial. Put simply, off-chain data is information not recorded on a blockchain network. As such, this more traditional data is kept in conventional databases and servers.

Traditional databases are based on a so-called “client-server architecture”. In this conventional system, users or clients can modify data stored centrally in servers. Control over these databases remains in the hands of the designated authority that verifies and confirms clients before providing them with access. However, the authority administering the database is vulnerable, and if compromised, the data can be changed or even deleted. 

The decentralization characteristic of blockchain networks ensures complete transparency and security for the data. Accordingly, it’s impossible to alter the data once a block has formed, which provides the immutability of the records. Moreover, unlike on-chain data, off-chain data lacks transparency. Generally, this means you can’t access this information since it’s kept private rather than public. 

On the other side of the spectrum are blockchains and on-chain data. As mentioned in a previous section, blockchains are public digital ledgers consisting of several decentralized nodes. All these nodes participate in administering the database and the on-chain data. Essentially, each node can enter new data into the database; however, for additions to be made, a majority of the nodes generally need to reach a consensus. As such, this is the consensus mechanism that makes blockchain networks secure.

Why Work with On-Chain Data?

Whether you’re, for example, looking to build an NFT marketplace or Web3 wallet, it’s beneficial to access real-time on-chain data. In fact, on-chain data is beneficial for all projects within Web3. If we take an NFT marketplace as an example, you need to query information regarding users’ NFTs to determine what assets they hold. The same goes for a Web3 wallet, where you need to display users’ token balances. However, these are only two examples of when on-chain data comes in handy.

No matter what type of Web3 project you might be looking to create, you’ll soon find the demand for on-chain information. Moreover, you additionally want this information quickly and in real-time as on-chain data continuously changes. 

However – from a traditional perspective – it has been quite bothersome to access on-chain data. The data has always been available; however, logically structuring and gathering the information is what has been the problem. It generally requires access to nodes and even running your own RPC nodes, which is quite problematic and time-consuming. If interested, you can read more about the limitations of RPC nodes here at Moralis. 

As it’s both time and resource-intensive to build an infrastructure surrounding a node, developers have turned to node providers. As such, they have been able to avoid reinventing the wheel when it comes to setting up and running their own nodes. Moreover, developers have also been in need of a fast and accessible way to query this information from blockchain networks, which is where Moralis enters the picture. 

With the Moralis operating system, you can acquire relevant and up-to-date on-chain data quickly and easily. As such, we’ll take the following section to dive deeper into Moralis and how you as a developer can use the platform to get a hold of on-chain information!

Acquire On-Chain Data Easily with Moralis

The easiest and quickest way to access on-chain data during your development endeavors is through the utilization of the Moralis operating system. Among the tools the platform provides, you’ll find APIs and the Moralis SDK that allows you as a developer to query all sorts of data with only single snippets of code. 

If you’d like to learn more about the various APIs of Moralis, please take a closer look at the articles regarding the Ethereum NFT API and the Ethereum dapp API. Reading up on these articles will help you in your Web3 development endeavors on the Ethereum network. 

Through Moralis’ tools and infrastructure, you can query all sorts of information from various networks simultaneously. This is possible because Moralis’ tools, such as the Web3 API and NFT API, are cross-chain compatible. The cross-chain compatibility makes it possible to develop dapps for multiple networks simultaneously. Furthermore, using only single snippets of code from Moralis makes it possible to authenticate users, acquire NFT balances, ERC-20 tokens, and much more. In addition, you can set up your own Web3 webhooks to make these processes even more efficient and seamless. 

So, when developing dapps or other exciting Web3 projects, it’s possible to utilize Moralis to make the acquisition of on-chain data more accessible. If you’d like to learn more about what is possible with Moralis, we recommend checking out the official documentation. From there, you can learn how to easily fetch on-chain data using Moralis’ SDK and APIs! 

In addition, if you have further interest in Moralis and the platform’s tools, we recommend checking out the Moralis Metaverse SDK. With this tool, you’ll be able to create sophisticated projects such as an AR metaverse NFT, build a metaverse game, or create your own metaverse

How to Acquire Blockchain Data – Summary

In this article, we dove deeper into the ins and outs of on-chain data. As such, if you followed along, you now hopefully have a better understanding of on-chain data. What’s more, you might also know how to acquire this information through the Moralis operating system easily. However, let’s summarize what we have learned.  

Whenever transactions validate on a blockchain network, the event is recorded and stored in a digital ledger – a blockchain. This information is publicly available and is generally referred to as on-chain data. On-chain data come in many forms. These include wallet addresses, transaction amounts, NFT balances, token balances, code for smart contracts, etc.

This information is publicly available and can be highly valuable in your development endeavors. As such, if you’re, for example, looking to create a Web3 Twitter clone or want to build a medieval metaverse game, you’ll most likely find on-chain data to be a valuable asset. However, from a conventional perspective, it has been quite a cumbersome task to query this information. Fortunately for you, this is no longer the case, as you have Moralis. 

With Moralis, you can now easily query all sorts of on-chain information with single snippets of code. As such, as a platform member, you’ll be able to save valuable time and resources in all future development processes. This ensures that you can focus on what’s really important and provide your users with the best experience possible! Furthermore, please take a closer look at Moralis’ web3uikit and learn how to create a great dapp UI for all future projects. 

If you want to create Web3 projects of any kind, sign up with Moralis. Creating an account only takes a couple of seconds and is entirely free, so you’ve got nothing to lose! 

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