The Node Infrastructure Quadrant
Picking the right providers for Web 3’s growth.
The promise of blockchain technology, beyond speculation, is that it enables applications and use-cases that would be difficult or impossible to build in the current dominant Web 2.0 environment. But what is holding back this “real world” adoption blockchains? What do software developers need to start incorporating blockchains into their applications at scale? Our answer to this critical question is that at minimum they require a seamless development environment to assist with this transition from Web 2.0 and be able to take advantage of all the benefits of Web 3.0.
A new generation of node infrastructure, data and tool providers will be as important for the mass adoption of blockchain as commercial ISPs were for the early internet and cloud providers are for the existence of todays’ web. The complexity of managing blockchain infrastructure needs to be abstracted away for developers. Doing so allows them to focus on building the next generation of killer apps.
Here we will look at four different categories of infrastructure and tool providers that are laying the foundations for mass Web 3 adoption:
- Dedicated nodes services;
- Shared nodes services;
- Read-only standardized API services;
- and Native API services.
While these categories offer various tradeoffs that suit different profiles of developers, we have built DataHub with comprehensiveness and ease of use in mind. It was important for us to provide comprehensive data across multiple networks, while allowing developers to get started quickly with low overhead and low blockchain-native knowledge required. We believe that the Enriched API approach will unlock the most unique use cases native to Web 3 and convince developers of the advantages of the underlying technology. Let’s explore how it fares against other types of services.
Dedicated Nodes Service
With this type of service, users manage their own infrastructure and can spin-up nodes easily via a dashboard. Developers have the advantage of having no requests limit and high uptime guarantees for their read & write requests. The company takes care of node maintenance and support, while optimizing the automation of the node deployment process, such as network syncing and updates management.
While this offering provides more configuration flexibility to developers, it also requires more operational responsibilities and knowledge of how a given blockchain and its nodes work. The endpoints and features available are restricted to what is possible when running your own node, leading to a limited interaction with a network. It is appropriate for developers who are already comfortable with building on blockchain technology, who are specifically looking for a node provider instead of Web 3 data.
Shared Nodes Service
With this type of service, users access a network via a shared node infrastructure with the use of an API. Developers don’t have to know what’s going on under the hood, they simply make their read & write requests via the API and can communicate with the network easily. The company can increase its available throughput by adding more nodes to the infrastructure, without the knowledge of its users, ensuring a seamless experience.
While this offering gives less configuration flexibility to developers, it offers a lower barrier to entry for teams which have a limited understanding of blockchain infrastructure and protocol mechanics. Usually, the endpoints and features available are restricted to what is possible when running your own node, leading to a limited interaction with a network. It is appropriate for developers who want to limit their DevOps budget and that want to focus on building applications instead of managing their own nodes.
Read-only Standardized API Service
With this type of service, users access network data via a custom API that is standardized, which is pulling information from its supported blockchain into a proprietary database. Developers don’t need to understand the intricacies of blockchain DevOps as they never interact with nodes, but are limited to read-only requests. This means that they cannot post transactions or create accounts on their selected blockchain. The company operates nodes in order to feed the raw network data into its database, focusing on providing close to real-time data for its users and to standardize its format for simple consumption.
While this offering represents an easy way to poll blockchain data, it locks-in the user into a custom API and limits the potential functionality of their application since they cannot submit transactions to the blockchain. Though, this solution does offer high scalability by not interacting with a node directly and offers more freedom in terms of how the data is presented. This service is usually adequate for teams that only need to consume blockchain data such as block explorers, data providers, and institutions.
Enriched API Service | DataHub
While this type of service also offers network access via shared node infrastructure, users benefit from a full suite of APIs providing unique blockchain data. Users can not only send read and write requests but also access custom endpoints that are not available at the node level. The company maintains a highly available node infrastructure and specializes in blockchain data indexing to build exclusive tools and data sets.
This offering provides a high level of simplicity while unlocking unique features and data from supported networks. It allows developers to create powerful applications at a fraction of the cost, with the potential to capitalize on blockchain-native use cases. It is appropriate for both Web 3 developers looking to simplify their development experience, and for Web 2 developers looking to start building applications on blockchain protocols without having to become protocol experts themselves. We believe that this category of node providers has the highest chance of creating Web 3’s killer apps.
If you are looking to start building on Web 3 today, including on networks such as Cosmos, Tezos, Celo, Coda, AVA, Filecoin, and more, visit us today at https://datahub.figment.network/ to sign-up!