The datasets are the latest addition to Google Cloud’s BigQuery public dataset program, which makes various datasets available to Google Cloud users along with tools for analyzing them. The datasets range widely in type, from data about online book collections to weather data.
Google added the first blockchain-related dataset to BigQuery in February 2018, when it announced that the transaction history of Bitcoin had become available. It added Ethereum transaction data the following August.
Now, transaction data for six other cryptocurrencies — Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Zcash and (interestingly) Dogecoin — have also become part of BigQuery.
Google said that the datasets will be automatically updated every 24 hours, enabling users to analyze nearly up-to-date transaction records.
Google BigQuery vs. Other Public Crypto Datasets
If you’re into data analytics and blockchain technology, you probably know that Google Cloud is by no means the first platform to make cryptocurrency transaction data easily accessible. Various other websites, such as Coin Metrics and Brave New Coin, provide this or similar data, usually for free.
So why would you choose to use Google’s BigQuery datasets instead of others? One key reason is that Google offers the data in a common format, making it easier to compare transaction histories for different cryptocurrencies. And Google Cloud also provides various tools that make it easy to analyze and visualize information drawn from the datasets. (Indeed, attracting more users to Google Cloud’s data analytics offerings is presumably Google’s main reason for providing access to BigQuery datasets.)
Can Google Help Keep Cryptocurrency Honest?
Having access to multiple cryptocurrency datasets in a common format may seem vital only for hardcore data scientists. However, there’s a potentially significant benefit for crypto communities as a whole to reap from Google’s datasets. By analyzing transaction data for different cryptocurrencies and comparing the results, it’s possible to identify anomalies that could signal problems in the way a blockchain is operating, or even fraudulent activity.
Google’s announcement of the new crypto datasets points this out and walks through some basic examples of how one could use the data to audit cryptocurrency operations.
Google also said that making cryptocurrency transaction data available in a standardized format could help analysts compare crypto information with data from conventional financial systems.
Will these features radically reduce the risk of cryptocurrency fraud or rapidly accelerate the integration of crypto within traditional finance? Probably not. But they’re a small step in both of these directions. They also, incidentally, give Google Cloud a new selling point in the crypto front, which is important because, in many respects, Google has lagged behind the two other big public clouds — Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure — in rolling out blockchain solutions.