Metronomes of Decentralization - Live Visualization - Martin Lukas Ostachowski
Metronomes of Decentralization is a visualization of Bitcoin and Ethereum transaction blocks as they are created on the blockchain.

Nov 23rd, 2018

Metronomes of Decentralization is a new visualization which explores the architecture of blockchains through the subject of clouds. It is a live and endless visualization of Ethereum and Bitcoin transaction blocks as they are created on the blockchain every 10-20 seconds (Ethereum) and 5-20 minutes (Bitcoin), respectively. The upper cloud depicts Ethereum transaction blocks, while the lower cloud visualizes Bitcoin transaction blocks.

The creation of transaction blocks collects and permanently confirms processes and transactions on the blockchain. Ethereum and Bitcoin are not only cryptocurrencies but also serve as technological platforms which define the speed of various underlying blockchains and decentralized applications, so-called dApps; they can therefore be seen as their metronomes.

The video below shows a time-lapse of 18 hours reduced to about 7 minutes. Given the slow speed Bitcoin transaction blocks are added, it takes the visualization about 3-4 days to fill a widescreen monitor as a cloud, while it only takes a few hours for Ethereum.

Metronomes of Decentralization (7:22 min preview of about 18h of visualization)

Two APIs (Application Program Interfaces) verify in short intervals if a new transaction block was created and added to the blockchain. An algorithm converts and visualizes the block hashes with each new transaction block to coloured, stacked bars. The newly created cloud column is subsequently added left to the respective cloud row, forcing the old transaction blocks to “move” to the right. The faster the transaction blocks are added, the faster the cloud appears to move. I found this visualization particularly interesting as it showcases the different speeds these two metronomes operate.

I showcased this visualization titled Metronomes of Decentralization for the first time during the blockchain conference #intersections VOL.9: Blockchain, des promesses aux applications organized by Printemps Numerique and held at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, QC on November 27th, 2018. I will post a separate article about this event shortly.