Operation Vs Transaction, the Blocktivity big debate.steemCreated with Sketch.

in #blocktivity5 years ago (edited)



First of all, let's take a look closer at these two terms. Everyone is familiar with a transaction (Tx) on a blockchain but not so much with an operation (Op).

Blockchains have evolved and you can now do a variety of operations using this technology. An operation could be a transfer of a coin but also other actions allowed by the blockchain as updating or creating an asset, voting, posting a blog or comment, claim vesting shares, ...

As Blocktivity is focused on the activity produced by people and bots on the blockchain, counting transactions would be missing a lot of important actions on the blockchain.
As we discover the potential of blockchain technology, these operations will diversify and blockchains only allowing simple transfer will be things of the past. That's why Blocktivity considers the overall activity counting the operations and not the transaction made on the blockchain.

Several operations can be grouped in 1 single Tx!

From day 1, Blocktivity mission is to give a feel of the utilisation of the blockchain. How many persons and bots use these blockchains. How many real blockchain-level actions are taken.
Lots of blockchains out there have a lot of volume on the exchanges but have very poor real utilisation. Some other are more discreet but are vastly utilised. The first mission of Blocktivity was to show this information.

Let's take an example; you want to know how much products a store is selling, you sit down next to the front door and start counting ... but counting what? The client (account created on a blockchain), the clients' bags (Transactions) or the number of items in the bags (operations)?

Some blockchain doesn't use operations, it is then easy because 1 Tx = 1 Op.
Some other use these operations and group them into transactions, I count them.

Some people say it is not fair but I believe it is. If a chain doesn't have operations but have the same amount of "activity" of another chain with operations enabled, it will simply have a lot of Txs, the same amount the other chain has with Ops.

Just like the example of the store. Client A buys 10 items and carries them in 10 bags and Client B buys 10 items and carries them in 1 bag. I count 10 for each client, not 10 and 1.

FYI, even the oldest chain (Bitcoin) is grouping its Ops in Txs. There is around 2.5 transfers in each Tx. Should I count 1 when 3 transfers are done but are grouped in 1 Tx?

Operations can be faked !!!

Yes, and so does Txs. On a blockchain with high fee, it does cost a lot, on a blockchain without fee it is free.

What I've seen so far is punctual testing of the capacity of a blockchain spamming Ops or Txs and get higher in the rankings. It usually doesn't stay for long and in my view is a good way to demonstrate that your blockchain is able to deal with massive usage. At the end of the day, blockchains need to be able to deal with worldwide traffic.

In the new version, we can also imagine a red comment next to the blockchain known for spamming Ops to game the Blocktivity results. That should discourage community members to abuse it.

One operation is not equal to another!

Also right, there are operations that some people will characterise by meaningful such as transfers, account creation or voting. And other operation that won't fit the meaningful catégory like asset creation, blogging or simply consulting data from the blockchain.

I wouldn't adventure myself to declare what is meaningful or not.

Blocktivity is not about high precision but about overall usage. It gives you the answer to the question "is there people using this technology?".

If some of the operations of a specific blockchain are not considered as important as operations from another one, the difference it makes doesn't really matter when you consider the whole picture.

I invite everyone to check the EOS operations from this Tx and see by themselves that there is nothing in these EOS Tx that wouldn't qualify as honest activity on a blockchain :

You can see by yourselves any other Tx in details by clicking on them here :


Beware that not all explorers give all the details about operations.

What is happening now with EOS and soon with WAX.

I have updated the data from EOS and Blocktivity will be able to display the operations just like I've done with other chains.

There has been a strong reaction to this news. The reason is EOS is producing 10x more operations than the other top blockchains. There is a big disparity between EOS and the rest.

I can understand the problem, the main opinion against Op is that with that high difference Blocktivity will lose its reputation and will be discarded. I feel like it's the opposite. Blocktivity has always counted Ops because it is the best measure it can access so far. It is not perfect but it is what best fit the ideology for now. Keeping this idea alive is the only thing Blocktivity can do in order to remain objective and impartial.

I will also add the WAX operations to the count as soon as I can get my hand on them. (Current Blocktivity version doesn't allow me to do it so I depend on their team)

What about real money transfer? about Tx? about account creation? And about active accounts?

If you have followed the news from Twitter or Steemit you know that Blocktivity is on its way to being revamped and open source.

In the new version, Blocktivity will scan the blocks and extract a lot more information. This big quantity of data will find it sway into the main matrix where you will be able to apply filters to the data.

You will be able to only see Txs, Ops, both, add account creation, transfers, ...
You will find in the GitHub repo all the growing information about it.

So everybody will be happy then? Well, we are on the Internet, there will be always angry people but 99% of the Blocktivity visitors will be satisfied. They will be able to display the matrix that reflects the most their believes, snapshot it and share it on social networks.


An open source project doesn't mean lots of people working on the same project. It only means it allows it.
So far I'm still the only one working on it so it will take some time.

I'm planning to build Blocktivity 2.0 with Node.JS, Sails and MongoDB (if I don't change my mind). I've built Blocktivity 1.0 with Apache, PHP and MySQL. It is all new to me and I need to learn all that stuff before even writing the first line of code.

If anyone wants to help at this stage of the project, a simple hour of their time on Skype, sharing their experience and guiding me with Node/Sails/MongoDB would really help to accelerate the development.

With all that said, I would love to be able to provide the new version right now and avoid the turmoil but I just can't. A decision had to be taken and for now, Ops will remain the standard on Blocktivity.

Have a great trip into the wonderful world of decentralised technologies.

Twitter : https://twitter.com/Blocktivity1
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The Github Repo : https://github.com/blocktivity-info/blocktivity

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With appreciation, Blocktivity



Ops is the only way to get an apples-to-apples comparison of blockchain activity. I completely agree with and support your decision. The only pushback you will get is from POW maximalists that don't want to see the ugly truth about how obsolete, slow and wasteful the tech is. You may want to consider having both tx and op columns in v2, but I would still rank by op

Thanks man, it feels good to have some support. So far, I've had tons of critics and 0 solutions proposal.

i bet those critics are from the POW camp.... they attack me on facebook. The truth hurts

Keep up the good work. I hope you'll add NEO in soon. I has lots of dapps & few gaining high usage. Thank You!

If you know someone with a Blockexplorer or a dev able to give me the number of Operations they have, I'll add it ;)

what is really happeing to NEO ... Do they need JESUS? it seems dead!!!

Thanks I appreciate your effort and your candid openness about the challenges with block chain activity.

That said I would like to add a few thoughts. So yes different transactions have different values. Liking or up voting a social article on Steemit has relatively little value. Buying something online or paying a contractor does have a big value. We can build a block chain that counts computational cycles, but that might not be of "real" value. In evaluating these chains, it is useful to look at a number of factors. Many chains, including BTC, have a huge amount or "wash trading" (coins going back and forth between two account to make it look busy). Counting the number of unique address, addresses with funds or address active in the last 30 days also provide insight. Even Facebook and Twitter have huge problems with large numbers of bot created accounts so it is not surprising that blockchains do. Generally, it is my understanding that 80% of all reported crypto trading volume activity -on all exchanges- is fake. Some exchanges are worse than others. Even BitShares suffers some from this, of the 1 million plus accounts, only 50,000 ish have a BTS balance (ie money in them). Many of the transactions are bot generated. I was looking the other day and CryptoBridge has a bot that changes prices via blockchained orders, just to make the website appear blinky. (Other exchanges do this as well, but be aware those orders appearing and going away are there to manipulate you- I mean make the site look busy.)

Crypto has a problem of garbage in garbage out. Everyone is trying to make the project successful via a fake it till you make it route. If we don't have honesty in the numbers, we cann't give people the information they need to build successful technology. I don't know if it is going to take a long downturn in Crypto to get some of the dishonest actors out, but once we do that, maybe we can build the technology that we need.

All that said, not to complain. I do have a potential unique suggestion to offer privately...

Please, join the Telegram channel and find me as @EsetafnTT.

But bear in mind that if your solution is possible and interresting, it will be added to Blocktivity 2.0. Right now, the current version doesn't allow to do much more than what you can see.

Great article, keep up the excellent work with blocktivity 2.0 👌

Some questions from someone using your systems for a while:
How do you get the op counts ? Specially for EOS.

I think it is misleading to look at tx on some blockchains and op on other. On Bitcoin it makes sense to only look at tx because you don't have so many differentes operations in them (since the scripting is limited and no one write complicate smart contracts). But EOS is a smart contract platform like Ethereum, so either you count operations the same way on both or this is not a comparison.
I am currently doing a PhD and need to make benchmark on different protocols. You cover some of them (btc, eth, eos) and your data should serve me as reference.

Il y a du pain sur la planche... Mais je sais que tu aimes relever les défis !!! Alors bonne chance....😉

Merci "croquette" ;p

J'ai pris cher sur cette décision ...

Counting operations is the best measurements of blockchain activity as of today. It's make it easy to compare. DPoS chain's deal with operations while PoW deal with trx which are also operations. Great work @blocktivity

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Have a nice day and sincerely yours,

I think that this change is really necessary if you want to keep the data objective.
You made a wise decisión.
I would love to help but I am not a technical person that could help with the code.

Kind regards!

I enjoyed this. Thank you.

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