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Department of Informatics Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies

Blockchain Data Observatory (BDO)

BDLT has developed an extensive research record around blockchains. We stand that DLT-based systems are paramount examples of complex socio-economic-technical systems. The large-scale properties they evince (consensus at the technical level, trust at the social level, wealth and power accumulation at the economic level) are non-trivial properties that can only be understood by comprehending the link between micro-level behavior of the multiple, heterogeneous agents that compose them; their continuous interactions and the rules they must abide. To achieve these goals, BDO projects perform large-scale data analysis, minimalistic modeling aimed at uncovering mechanisms behind regularities observed. As such, we are among the leading research groups for interdisciplinary approaches to the study of Blockchain and DLT-based systems.
BDO will be strengthened by our position as a neutral observer and is therefore potentially disruptive in the space. We plan to have a large-scale facility that keeps synchronized an increasing range of blockchain-based platforms, starting with the most widespread ones. We plan to allow for continuous observation and dynamically measure large-scale properties of these systems (e.g., global indicators, abnormal activities, centralization indicators, etc.). BDO will also record information about the overlay P2P networks and second layer solutions (e.g., off-chain payments) and delegation dynamics (when relevant, e.g., in specific consensus protocols). However, the number and nature of platforms continue to diversify and accelerate. Thus, BDO will standardize compatible information into large-scale databases to be able to extend the realm of our analyses to new platforms with a low marginal cost.
Adopting a complex system’s approach to a comprehensive analysis of crypto platforms will provide an exhaustive comparison between such systems, highlighting pros and cons of design choices and giving insight on which steps to take to further improve functionality.
Currently, extensive datasets from multiple public blockchains, such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Ethereum, have been collected by the BDO, consolidating them into standardized and versatile databases which will constitute the foundation of the Observatory activity. This consolidation process is not limited to the accumulation of blockchain data: it includes the collection of auxiliary datasets for user identification --- such as ground truths on pseudonyms of black markets, crypto exchanges, associations, etc.--- and the translation of raw blockchain data to standardized formats such as (temporal) transaction networks and address cluster networks.