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Transactional Behaviors On Filecoin

The Filecoin Network provides decentralized cloud services, and it records payments and transactions on the Filecoin blockchain. By examining Filecoin’s Actors that execute transactions on Filecoin, we can learn how different on-chain communities perform transactions. In this article, we will take a close look at the users of different Actors while establishing transactional relationships among them.



What information can be derived from transactions on Filecoin?


Transactions are encapsulated in blocks, and each transaction includes information. This information consists of the sending and receiving addresses, the transferred value, as well as other transaction overhead costs, such as gas fees. In order to have a transaction in the block, a message sender has to invoke an Actor, which refers to a software design pattern for managing states on Filecoin.


There are 11 types of Actors on Filecoin to accommodate different purposes of sending messages on-chain. For instance, AccountActor is responsible for user accounts to send and receive $FIL, while StorageMinerActor is responsible to deal with storage mining operations and collect proofs. By analyzing the funds among the Actors, one can conclude how funds are utilized in various on-chain activities, and examine which have been the most active.


Figure 1: Transaction Attributes On Filecoin


Mapping the transactional relations among 11 Filecoin Actors can be intricate. For the purpose of this article, we will take the transactions between AccountActor and StorageMinerActor, the two prime actors for moving funds on Filecoin, as examples to illustrate users’ transactional behaviors.



The transactional behavior of AccountActor users


AccountActor can be regarded as the main channel to receive and send $FIL tokens. The main users of AccountActor can be $FIL holders, data storage clients, or crypto exchanges. The $FIL holders refer to the group of users who have had $FIL in their accounts but have not made any storage deals yet, while data storage clients are users with both $FIL and storage deals. The exchanges are separated to track how funds flow into and out of exchange addresses.


As seen in figure 2, the transaction volume of AccountActor generally hovered around 200 M- $FIL per month since February 2021, but during some months, the value surged significantly and peaked at around 1 billion. This can be credited to high transactions between $FIL holders (as seen in figure 2) for aggregating or dispersing their funds.


Figure 2: Transaction Volume In AccountActor


In addition, the transactions made between $FIL holders and clients are relatively small, signifying the interaction between those two groups is insignificant in the context of AccountActor. AccountActor also works as a marketplace to trade $FIL tokens. The amount of transactions between $FIL holders to exchanges has gradually increased since Mar 2022, showing the trading market is becoming more and more active.


Figure 3: Token Flows Among AccountActor Users



The transactional behavior of StorageMinerActor users


StorageMinerActor is specifically for storage providers to commit initial pledges and receive block rewards. As seen in Figure 3, the transaction volume in StorageMinerActor fluctuates with the ProveCommit Capacity, and the months with high transaction volume are also accompanied by a large amount of ProveCommit Capacity. This shows SPs are moving funds to their StorageMinerActor accounts to commit initial pledges, as required in the process of onboarding storage capacity.


Figure 4:Transaction Volume In StorageMinerActor


It can be observed in figure 4 that $FIL holders contribute the most to the transaction in StorageMinerActor as compared to that of Client and Exchange addresses, showing most SPs prefer to use funds from their $FIL holdings as the main source to commit initial pledges.


Figure 5: Token Flows Among StorageMinerActor Users



Summary


Filecoin users are mainly composed of SPs, clients, and $FIL holders, and they can transact with each other as well as consume Filecoin blockchain services. This is done via 11 different Actors. Actors like StorageMinerActor are exclusively for SPs to commit initial pledges while other Actors like AccountActor are open to all Filecoin participants for sending and receiving $FIL. In this analysis, we found most users on Filecoin have leveraged Filecoin as a transaction ledger, with a large portion of token transactions happening in AccountActor (which is irrelevant to storage services). In addition, as the sector onboarding on Filecoin has slowed down, the transaction volume in StorageMinerActor has also decreased since May 2022.


As the network develops, other transaction types are emerging on the network for the purpose of storing deals, submitting proofs, and more! The total data storage on Filecoin has exceeded 250 PiB, suggesting that a vibrant storage marketplace is gradually taking place. More data storage deals will increase the transaction with StorageMarketActor, which is responsible for managing storage and retrieval deals. The upcoming FVM will bring programmable actors (smart contracts) to the Filecoin blockchain, which will inspire more business opportunities and ways of interacting with Filecoin. We will continue monitoring various transaction activities along with the maturity and development of Filecoin’s Web3 data economy.


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