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Filecoin Network Analytics: Data-Driven Governance in Web3

Introduction


Filecoin, as one of the most vibrant Web 3.0 data economies, has just reached 15.63 EiB in storage capacity and 60.83 PiB in storage deals.


Figure 1


Like any Complex Adaptive System with a community-driven governance framework, Filecoin relies on an accurate, comprehensive, and open-source data analytics infrastructure to support collective decision-making in real-time. (FIPs, ecosystem discussions, development strategies, etc.)


Figure 2


Starboard has committed to developing reliable data solutions that help people better understand and participate in the network. Looking back, we've organized and collected some thoughts/tips on data-driven governance in Web 3.0. In this blog post, we will use Filecoin as a concrete example to share some of our insights! In particular, we'll discuss:


  • Principles & Methods: Key Aspects of Web 3.0 Governance

  • Data Solutions: Filecoin Network Health Dashboard

  • Open-sourcing Insights: Democratized Network Intelligence on ObservableHQ

  • Closing Remarks: Resources & Upcoming Things to Watch


Principles & Methods: Key Aspects of Web 3.0 Governance


Every Web3 network is an economy––some may be more sophisticated than others, but they all involve decision making from individuals and organizations. Each economy has different preferences, goals, and horizons. The key challenge in governing a network/economy as such is to understand how we can balance trade-offs of different decisions: At which point do we need to make a policy change? Who are they benefitting, and at what expense?


The other aspect to consider is that while everything is public on the blockchain, public information may not be properly diffused in a complex economy. How can we understand how the network is doing, and by what metrics? What are some population statistics? And what should be a network/ecosystem-wide strategy at different points in time?


One last thing to note is that governance doesn't have to be all emotional and political. The key is to have accurate and robust data analytics, projection, and more; so that the community can make more informed decisions for their shared goals.


Using Filecoin as an example, there is something unique about Filecoin that makes it standout in the Web3 space:

  1. Similar to Web2 data solutions, Filecoin consists of a globally-distributed network of storage servers and clients. Therefore, the governance team needs to constantly track operational intelligence like number of servers & storage space available, Storage Uptime for the committed sectors, and the top 10 clients making most deals, etc.

  2. Unlike Web2 solutions, Filecoin is the world’s data center. It is a decentralized socio-technological infrastructure (layer-1 protocol) upon which data can be stored and computed over. There are many features, characteristics, and future possibilities that are unique to Web3. Therefore, the team also needs to track operational intel specific to blockchain analytics, including metrics like network BaseFee, block rewards, Proof of SpaceTime, circulating supply breakdown, etc.

Figure 3 (Credits to: https://filecoin.io/blog/posts/introducing-the-filecoin-virtual-machine/)


Filecoin is a unique two-sided marketplace powered by a blockchain and we follow the following steps to build up an analytics pipeline for Filecoin.

  • Understand Filecoin's protocol structure and build expertise in parsing, storing, and analyzing state-synchronized data

  • Map on-chain data to corresponding protocol features and design specifications

  • Translate the know-how into actionable signals/patterns/charts that support real-time decision making for relevant stakeholders in the ecosystem

  • Build a comprehensive data analytics platform that provides intelligence across all fidelity levels (from aggregated to micro signals, from global patterns to individual account profiling)

Data Solutions: Filecoin Network Health Dashboard


We've developed several data solutions based on the principles outlined above. Among those, we're very proud to introduce the Filecoin Network Health Dashboard, a comprehensive intelligence platform that supports decision making by answering questions like:


Storage Capacity & Service

  • How much storage capacity is onboarded daily? What is the split between 32 GiB sectors and 64 GiB sectors? By which method is the capacity onboarded?

  • How reliable is storage on Filecoin? Are there any abnormal terminations? How fast do Storage Providers repair their broken storage?

Figure 4


Token Flow & Circulating Supply

  • Is the current token supply inflationary or deflationary?

  • How many FIL tokens are burned as network transaction fees?

Figure 5


Storage Demand & Deals

  • How many storage deals have been added to the system in the past week/month/quarter?

  • What's the real-time storage fee? What is the penalty fee for losing a client's storage deals?

Figure 6


Network Usage & Gas

  • What is the current network BaseFee for using the Filecoin blockchain?

  • How busy is the network? What's the current equilibrium gas fee?

  • What are the constituents of Network Fees?

Figure 7


A Case Study


In the past few months, there have been various initiatives in the Filecoin ecosystem focused on driving Filecoin Plus adoption and the network's utility. An interesting question would be on how we can quantify the impact of driving FIL+ adoption from the macro to actor level across different fidelities.


Suppose a business analyst is asked to do a deep dive into recent network activities––they can start building a customized BI analysis by firstly looking into the New Deals Committed (Figure 8) and Daily Active Deals Chart (Figure 9) in the Market & Deals section, which tells us that:

  • For the past three months, all new deals committed into the network are attributed to Filecoin Plus

  • In terms of the proportion of Active Deals, Filecoin Plus deals has hit 42.67 PiB, taking over 70% of all storage deals

Figure 8


Figure 9


Next, with heavier traffic from deal onboarding activities, one would expect an increase in network fees as corroborated by the below charts, (Figures 10 & 11) starting in March.


Figure 10


Figure 11


Furthermore, if the analyst wants to take a deeper dive into the breakdown of network activities, one can cross-reference the daily sector onboarding breakdown by method chart (Figure 12) and observe that storage capacity commitment has also bounced back in the past month.


Figure 12


At this point, our analyst has made some decent observations about the network's state:

  • There's a recent spike in network traffic (resulted in an increase in network fee)

  • Meanwhile, Filecoin Plus storage deals hit on average >800 TiB/day growth, taking over the majority of deals in the network

  • Meanwhile, sector onboarding & daily storage onboarding also hits ATH in the last quarter.

If the analyst wants to get more nuanced analysis, they can further dig into things like:

  • (BaseFee Attribution) Grab the gas usage time series (Figure 13) for PublishStorageDeals and ProveCommitSector /ProveCommitAggregate, average out the data, and then do some signal processing to better attribute the BaseFee spike

  • (Actor Profiling) Identify the clients who’s made most deals recently (Figure 14) and identify their transaction patterns on the protocol (Figure 15).

Figure 13


Figure 14


Figure 15


Open-sourcing Insights: Democratized Network Intelligence on ObservableHQ


As discussed previously, the governance of Filecoin is driven by the community. Anyone interested in the project should feel more than welcome to join the ecosystem and participate without any gatekeepers. The democratic and open nature of the project implies that all data intelligence should be made not only publicly available but also easy to digest, analyze and work with.


On par with the democratic governance principle, Starboard publishes the data analytics on Observable. (a D3-based, collaborative platform for data science) Empowered by Observable, we’re continuously building a scalable and well-structured data notebook collection, allowing users to customize Filecoin-related data and do their analysis. In increasing order of granularity, we’re developing:


Datafield Notebooks

  • Work as standalone, embeddable data APIs. Users can fork the datafield notebooks to build their own charts, analysis or data articles. Curious data scientists can even apply their signal transformations or use the data to train ML models.

Figure 16


Integrated Charts

  • Integrated charts are visualizations created upon the datafield notebooks. The charts themselves also serve as modules. Enthusiastic Web 3.0 users can build their own dashboard or embed the charts into their applications.

Figure 17


Data Articles

Data articles are similar to business intelligence reports. These are topic-oriented and organized charts/analyses with a clear storyline. Users who want to dive into different topics (e.g. Filecoin Circulating Supply) can just open their browser and review the self-updating data articles in real-time.


At the time of the writing, we’re working relentlessly to iterate over the network health dashboard and expand on our Observable collections. Moreover, we plan to launch additional data solutions to support the data analytics in the ecosystem! Stay tuned and let us know if you have any suggestions!


Closing Remarks: Resources & Key Things to Watch


There’re so many fascinating technologies and developments in the Filecoin ecosystem, and data-driven analytics is only a tip of the iceberg. Below, we append a non-exhaustive list of references for people interested in Filecoin.









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