Rantum’s Mental Model for Analyzing Blockchain Data

Rantum’s Mental Model for Analyzing Blockchain Data
This episode welcomes Rantum - The blockchain data wizard whose work can be seen across Art Blocks, Uniswap Grants, and writer at the Our Network newsletter.

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Background

Mint Season 6 episode 11 welcomes Rantum – The blockchain data wizard whose work can be seen across Art Blocks, Uniswap Grants, and writer at the Our Network newsletter. 

Our theme for the next half hour revolves around on-chain data; specifically, how creators can use on-chain data to build stronger communities. We outline various metrics you should consider tracking, Rantums mental model for analyzing dashboards, and so much more.

Time Stamps

  • 00:37 – Intro
  • 03:41 – On-chain Data Tool Set
  • 05:12 – Interoperability in Web3
  • 08:07 – Key Dashboards for Web3 Communities
  • 11:08 – How Many Communities Actively Use On-chain Data?
  • 13:22 – Rantum’s Analytics Structure
  • 16:04 – Using Data vs. Trusting Your Gut
  • 21:17 – Anonymous NFT Ownership and Zero-Knowledge Technology
  • 24:55 – Trends in the Web3 Creator Economy
  • 26:38 – Metrics Web3 Communities Should Measure
  • 29:14 – How Can Creators Become More Data-Informed?
  • 31:22 – Outro

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Rantum, welcome to mint podcast. Thank you for being on, special guests of season six, all things on chain data. How are you doing, man?

Rantum: I’m doing great. Very excited to be here. Thank you so much for having me.

I feel like an idiot. I’ll tell you why I feel like an idiot. Because when I was planning season six, I was like, okay, I want to do an on-chain data type of topic. And I should have looked at the wizards on dune. And then I came across the wizards of dune after I announced the season, and there you were in the top five created too many dashboards, you can count. So, I’m seriously stoked to have you on. I think a good place to start here.

Rantum: Say that you looked at that.

Intro

You got it. All right. A good place to start is, who are your Rantum? What does the world need to know about you? And I’m specifically interested, like, how did you get your start into crypto?

Rantum: All right, so let’s see, I’ve been working in crypto in data, crypto data analytics for about a year and a half now, get started early 2021, had been, you know, interested in crypto, held crypto assets before but hadn’t really been actively participating in it other than, you know, I mean, I had different tokens, you know, held them but not much more than that. Started getting interested more in NFTs actually, and that’s what kind of drew me in initially, with some top shot over their initial summer when they were first out before a crazy, before it got crazy. And then got into sort of like the art side of NFTs. Before I was working in crypto, I was working in E commerce, consulting with other many companies, working in marketing, with web marketing with data analytics in that area, and saw an opportunity to kind of transition some of those skills over to blockchain data. So started making some dashboards on doing analytics and kept making them and some of them have gotten me a lot of stars and moved me up those ranks and help some people to find me once in a while.

I also know you’re like a collector, I checked out your open sea profile is from what’s public. And you’ve got a ton of NFTs as well. So, I guess kind of seeing your interest from the top shot days, and then kind of seeing all these things that you’ve collected. And now being actually an active contributor, I consider your contributions as like, you’re like a participant in a Dao. And I think Daos and communities have different levels of participation. And being able to create dashboards is just like another one of those elements of participation that I would sort of argue is super important. I’m curious, though, of everything to kind of get involved in, why the data side of things? Because you seem to spend a lot of your energy on that side.

Rantum: Yeah, I mean, part of it was that I was already interested in that side of it. And then the other part is that once you start looking into this, there’s just endless amounts of data to keep looking at, I wasn’t used to looking at, to work with data from individual companies. And you know, it’s very siloed data, you could maybe get some metrics of what other companies were doing. But it really was an open data that anybody could use. And obviously, we have a very different case with blockchain data that anybody can go and access this data, anybody can use it. Very different case that we have here. And I found that really interesting. You know, you can look at all of these different things, both from whether, you know, whether it’s a collector perspective, we are looking at tokens, but we are also as a creator looking at all this information is such a different world that we lived in with siloed web two data.

On-chain Data Tool Set

So, when you look at the current, like tooling landscape for data applications, and you sort of think about the different tools that are available for people to sort of either understand their communities, to either build communities, to understand certain metrics, what does your tool stack look like right now, beyond dune?

Rantum: So, dunes do is my number one and is still. I use that pretty much daily. And I well, definitely had to work with the open sea, API, quite a bit. I mean, you know. 

It’s painful.

Rantum: It’s interesting, because, you know, we do have this, all of this public data, but then we know, we still have a lot of siloed data, and that, you know, open sea data, at least is available via API, but really, that all sorts of different marketplaces out there. And if you’re trying to look at that off chain data, in NFT, specific you’d be looking at listings. Could be hitting listings are the big thing that you’re looking for NFTs and they can be all over the place with different marketplaces popping up. So, you know, trying to come to kind of wrangle that data in you know, different cloud databases for them, although, it seems there our new tools coming or new options coming or features coming to dune that make that easier to access right in their platform.

Interoperability in Web3

Got it. Okay. So, I want to talk to you about, like a lot of this conversation on where like data meets the creator economy in web three, and how creators should sort of be thinking about data. And I think a big trend that we’re sort of seeing recently is this concept of community interoperability, building identity, credentialing, all these sorts of keywords that I guess we didn’t really see a couple of years back, especially when NFTs weren’t at the sort of like premieres type of spotlight in crypto as they are today. How do you sort of understand the concept of community interoperability audience, interoperability in web three? What does that really mean? you can also take it from a point of view of either user being the platform, and they don’t really need to rely on sort of like creating value on platforms like they are the platform in crypto, right? It can also be taken from the point of view of understanding like you can take your audience, wherever you go, sort of in platforms are building around this interoperable, this open transparent ledger that possesses all this information. You know, what I mean? How do you see it?

Rantum: Yeah, I mean, so I guess I do see, I see that audiences can move around, you will see that, you know, for artists, you will see them produce on many different platforms. But there are artists are following them around. You know, when I’m looking at artists, specifically, if I look at someone like Kody, one of my favorite artists, he might produce on nifty gateway, on his own contract, super rare. And it’s different. It may be different audiences at some degree, but it’s really, it’s the same base audience that’s kind of following him from platform to platform, and it’s less, you know, there’s some importance on the platform, but less importance on the specific platform to bring, to go find that community rather than just bringing that community with him to that, to these other platforms, and even enabling people to maybe use what they’ve already collected in the past to get access. And I think that’s something that we’re really seeing, too, that you can, you can use what the audiences have already collected, what they’ve done in the past, actions that you could see on the blockchain and allow more when you move forward with another collection, it doesn’t even have to be on that same platform.

Key Dashboards for Web3 Communities

Yeah, that makes sense. As an analyst, and someone who spends a lot of time creating dashboards, either for your own interests, or for sort of to help communities. What are some of the first few sorts of dashboards you create, to help the community understand who their users are?

Rantum: So I tried to give tools that, I really tried to make data more accessible in general, I mean, that’s one of things that I like to do with these, with my dashboards is build them as tools that others can use, be able to plug contracts and plug contract addresses in or plug different wallet addresses, and be able to build something that people can then look into more, when trying to give insight to an audience for NFTs specifically, looking at what other collections they might hold, what else they have in their wallet. And trying to look at that from a collection wide standpoint, you know, get ideas of what is this collector base interested in, what other things are trying to find the overlap? You know, that’s definitely something that I look at.

Got it. Okay. And when you sort of create these dashboards for communities, what tends to be like the most common metrics that you sort of look at and that you measure across either community like to measure like community’s health, to measure community’s engagement, and things around that nature?

Rantum: Yeah, I mean, I think that’s one we’re still developing a lot, you know, trying to understand how much engagement is there because it’s really different for different communities, you know, how much you want someone to be active, at least on chain. You know, we wouldn’t think that some issues in the NFT world where a lot of a lot of revenue is coming from royalties. And that requires people to be selling, you know, and if people aren’t selling, that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the collection. So, you know, still trying to get some of that, you know, where is the engagement? How do you gauge engagement? But I think that looking at, I mean, obviously, looking at the trends over time, price trends, also, how many holders there may be of a particular token or NFT collection? You know, if you see that falling off over time, that’s, you know, generally people are getting less interested. I mean, there are cases where you can see that people are, the existing community members, may be becoming more excited about the project, but usually see that, you can easily pick that out a little bit better. And that’s ultimately knowing who those holders are, are they new to the ecosystem or they existing holders?

How Many Communities Actively Use On-chain Data?

How many communities do you actually see using on chain Data actively? Like, the day-to-day process of building a community, trying to create unique experiences? Or is it very much like the top 1% of communities actually use data, despite all the dashboards that are out there?

Rantum: Good question. For community building, I don’t know that they’re being utilized all that much yet. I think that we’re at a point where there’s, you know, there’s so much opportunity that people are running ahead, right now to try to get somewhere before, you know, before all the competitors do, and that the small, some of the small data differences aren’t quite coming into play yet, I think they’ll become a lot more interesting as people start really taking the time to dig into them. I think there’s a ton there for artists, for creators, especially when you start looking at what people are doing. Otherwise, I know, you’ve talked about it on your podcast, how you’ve used it, use data, and with your own tool to find what your audience was interested in. And I think that’s such a smart thing that many people are not doing yet.

Interesting. Why don’t you think many people are doing that yet? Like what’s missing here?

Rantum: Good question. I think some of it may be, Oh, well, I mean, sort of, was the first point, you know, that I think people are running to stake their claim to different areas, but, you know, areas within this ecosystem, but you know, I think the other side is, it’s still thought of as maybe more difficult than it needs to be, I think there’s this idea that blockchain data must be really difficult to decipher. And, you know, it’s much easier to just use these, you know, look at open sea history or something for NFTs or to, you know, occasionally, you know, go scan, very easy to read things. And, you know, the truth is, I think a lot of these dashboards, a lot of these tools have made it very accessible, and people should start taking more time to look into this.

Rantum’s Analytics Structure

You know, for me, I see the biggest setback with creators and communities trying to use data is trying to understand what action they can take, by understanding and looking at that data. And my next question to you is, do you yourself have a mental model? It’s one thing to create a dashboard. It’s another thing to understand what to do with that information. Do you have a mental model yourself as to how you analyze information, whether it be a pie chart, whether it be a bar graph, whether it be a light, whatever the media may be? Do you have a specific structure as to how you approach things?

Rantum: Yeah, I think one of the reasons that my NFT dashboard specifically have become so popular is because I am active as an NFT trader, and I look at them much, trying to use it for my own purposes. And I think by looking at what some of the other dashboards were out there, when I first started creating them, they weren’t, it seemed like they weren’t getting into some of the details that traders would need. And it’s much more about kind of volumes and total transaction numbers, but that doesn’t really mean a lot to, when you’re making an individual sale, I think a lot of these like a lot of metrics out there are giving you total volume numbers and I don’t know that that means a lot, especially when you’re not looking at, it just some of the more detailed metrics that are happening looking at things like how many, I mean, how many sales is that really? How many, what’s the collection size? And how much what’s the liquidity in a particular project? I mean, you know, I think a lot of times these big numbers, whether it’s Eth, or dollar, or you know, whatever other numbers are used kind of as a, you know, this big shock number, and it doesn’t always mean a whole lot, you know, for praises is definitely something that you can look at more, NFTs that’s used often. And I think there’s even more than that, you know, when we see that there’s little volume over at all. And he just said that don’t use volume, but trying to see volume or turnover over time inventory turnover, how fast is a collection moving? Trying to get a better idea and some of the details of a particular collection?

Using Data vs. Trusting Your Gut

Sure. I think also another element to that is like, going back to the question of, there’s a lot of data out there, but why communities? Maybe not why, but maybe the argument is like a lot of communities maybe aren’t tapping into that data on a regular basis. I want to pick your brain, another tangent of that is like, how do you find the balance between using data to make a decision versus sort of following your gut? What does that balance, that trade off look like?

Rantum: Yeah, man, I wish I had a very good answer for that, because I think it is really hard right now. You know, somewhat, there is so much data, and I think you can use it to inform decisions. It doesn’t, you know, I don’t rely 100% on data. You know, I don’t think that’s even possible. So, you know, trying to weigh those other, I don’t know, because those metrics that can’t be measured as well. And is definitely tougher in this industry, especially when, you know, I think you probably know, how much sentiment plays a factor NFTs and crypto in general. You know, I think, you know, I do actually try to keep an idea of that, you know, what is the center, what is the market sentiment overall, and try to keep an idea, you know, my falling into something when I’m making a decision, am I trying to confirm something that I’m hearing out there or my final, you know, trying to look at this objectively?

Another thing I want to know about you, Rantum is like, what is a day in your sort of life look like? Because I see you’ve created so many dashboards, you’re obviously living on dune, you study data consistently. When you sort of create these dashboards and you’re like, you’re waking up in the morning, like, it’s the first thing that you’re doing sort of like building a dashboard, or trying to find something new to create? 

Rantum: I think I get what you’re asking there. I mean, I looked at a lot of my dashboards, I tried to build dashboards that mean something to me, when I do look at them in the morning trying to get an idea of what’s been going on, you know, both in crypto and prices, token prices, you know, as you know, there’s often surprises when you wake up, so like to know what’s going on a bit and build those dashboards. You know, there’s a lot of maintenance in dashboards and whether it’s because of you know, whether it’s a dune, whether it’s dune updates or upgrades, upgrades still require some work. But also, open sea changes, different NFT marketplaces coming up. And as much as there’s, as much as I’d like to rely on, on chain data, there’s still a lot of manual data that needs to be put into dune right now. A lot of collection names need to be put in there. So, you know, update a lot of those things on my own. So, I also work, do some work for art block right now. So, make a few internal dashboards for them, less collector, focused and more internal for them when they’re trying to reconcile royalties and things like that. So those are always fun getting little different and find those but, you know, I like trying to build these dashboards that can be used over and over again, and no matter what, there’s always maintenance that needs to happen. And then, you know, when thing, when new protocols, everyone new collections come out, definitely try to dig into that a little bit more and see what’s going on.

Anonymous NFT Ownership and Zero-Knowledge Technology

Right. I also want to talk to you about, like, new technology that’s emerging in the ecosystem. I remember if Vitalik recently proposed, like a stealth address for anonymous NFT ownership. I’m curious if you have any thoughts around sort of that area, and also like with the introduction of like, zero knowledge technology, how that would influence future usage and analysis of on chain data?

Rantum: Yeah, I thought about that, you know, and then one of things that has attracted me, like I said, it is interesting is the openness of data. But I also think that there is some need for some privacy. I know that there’s times where I don’t necessarily want anybody that’s paying me to see every single transaction that I’ve done. You know, it’s a little hard once the wallets public and you know, I think that there will become, there will be, solutions will become more easy to access and not having to go through OFAC. Yeah, things against their terms anyway. But you know, so I think that summons will change. And I do wonder how much it changes once people, once kind of the blockchain park gets pushed a little bit more to the back end, I think right now people have a pretty good understanding of what it means to have your wallet public and people that are in it, it’s a pretty small number of people, it takes a lot of steps. And you almost have to interact with some of the underlying tech. And it makes you a little bit more aware of this. So, I do wonder what happens when this becomes pushed kind of to the, where people can’t see it, when you’re just opening an app on your phone, and it’s running on the blockchain. You don’t think about this. I do wonder how people, what people will expect for data privacy at that point? You know, so I think that will, we’ll see some shifts here, we may get to a point where we’re seeing more, you know, we’ll see a lot of maybe, you know, the second layer two type of activity rolled up, that you can’t see quite as well, can’t see individually as well, as you can some of the big transactions on the Ethereum network.

So, what happens when that happens? Like what what do you do, as someone who spend so much time on doing, someone who analyzes data and uses these tools as a way to kind of find your contribution in the space? 

Rantum: You know, I think, I think one thing to keep in mind is, if we can, if we do have good privacy solutions, that there’s still going to be standardized. And it won’t be quite as much as you know, build a website, and now you’ve got to go figure out all your analytics, and all your data is going to look different, it’s still going to be, going to be standardized. And, you know, maybe it won’t be public, but it’s still there for companies, that companies, creators, whatever that are ready to, use that data. It’s a little bit more, you know, probably a little more. And I wouldn’t say it’s web two, because I think you’re getting user data, but you’re not getting at that point, you wouldn’t be you wouldn’t know the individual person. So, it provides a lot more privacy for individuals, but I think there’s still a lot of data that you can work with publicly and be able to take steps to improve your audience.

Trends in the Web3 Creator Economy

Yeah. The next thing I want to talk to you about is, I guess like the current state of where we are in the creator economy, you obviously spent a lot of time collecting stuff yourself. You spent a lot of time analyzing communities. What are some interesting trends, insights, notable things that have sort of sparked your curiosity or attention that you’ve discovered by being on chain data analyst?

Rantum: Let’s see. So, in real life events, I think are really big for blockchain communities. I think that those, that’s somebody that’s really helped, I’ve helped a lot of communities that I’ve seen, grow more and even grow together a little bit further than you could online I think, you know, these online communities are great for bringing people together. But also, people want to get together in real life. And I’ve seen that in many different communities that mentioned that I do some work for our blocks, they do. They do event of they’re doing a big event in Marfa, Texas, but they’ve done some other events. More with bright moments as another company, I’ve worked with a gallery down in, based in Venice Beach, but they’ve, been going around to New York, or Berlin, London, next month in Mexico City coming up, art block as well. And I see that that brings a lot more people out. And you see people from different cities and different kind of coming out from the crypto communities that are there. And I think that’s, I mean, I got into a lot of this when we were all standing inside and you know, like many of us, and you know, I definitely appreciate getting together with people.

Metrics Web3 Communities Should Measure

Right. Interesting. That’s another like, okay, now it’s about to spark a side tangent. All right, what metrics do you look at to sort of measure community togetherness, and how different wallet addresses are interacting within one another amongst one another? Right? And I guess I asked that question, because when you’re looking at on chain data, or when you’re looking to understand how your community is performing primary sales, secondary sales, total volume look like these things can only say so much. But if you’re trying to build longevity, right, you want to see how your community sort of interacting amongst themselves, right? Are there any metrics or anything that you’ve sort of seen or worked on that indicate kind of like the strengthening of a community?

Rantum: You know, I don’t think I have, it’s a good question. I think those are some good metrics to start measuring. You know, I think right now we’re, when we’re looking at these, we’re looking at things like vote, you know, people are participating in votes. And governance. You can see that on chain, I wouldn’t say that that’s a, you know, great indicator of people coming together. Although I do think that participation in votes is a sign of at least people paying attention as it usually doesn’t take all that much to sign the transaction and do that. I think that is, that’s something I’ve worked on, actually, with the uniswap team, we’ve looked at a lot of issues around the governance there and how much participation there is because there are cases. I mean, they had an issue where there was nearly an improvement proposal passed, that was not there, very favorable to the community. And that was one where there just weren’t very, very many people voting at a certain point. So, I think that is something that is important. And it’s nice to see, I think we’re still coming up with more, we need to come up with more ways to gauge how communities are evolving over time. I do. I think we’re probably; it seems like we kind of need to have off chain data linked with on chain in some way. I mean, when we’re looking at, when we’ve got most of the activity for these communities happening in discord and more Twitter, you gotta start looking at those, when you’re looking at community activity that more than just on chain activity.

How Can Creators Become More Data-Informed?

Got it. Okay, the last question that I have for you, before we wrap up is, in the beginning, we talked about how communities they’re using data, but maybe not as frequent as they should, right? And for it could be for many different reasons. My question to you is, how can one become a more data informed creator, more data informed founder, more data informed community builder? What do you think about that?

Rantum: So, I think every creator, every artist should have some kind of dashboard of their own. When I’m thinking about an NFT artists. You know, I’m thinking about artists that are all over the place on different platforms. I think that having a dashboard for, can give so much insight both to the creator and to the audience, you can see, when we’re talking about all these different blockchain assets, you can see where they all are, where they’re trading. And, yeah, it may not all be about trading, but it’s nice to know where they are and what people are doing with them. And, you know, I think when you certainly get that, as a creator, you can start understanding who the people are, who are they, what else are they doing on chain? What other collections might they have? What other tokens do they have? Are they new wallets? Are they, you know, is there a long history there? And, you know, I think it’s even worth just reaching out directly to some of them. I think, in many cases, when you see that, you know, if someone has a lot of assets that you’ve put out, you know, definitely worth reaching out and seeing what brought them to you. And you can find more of that. I think right now, you know, like you said, there’s a little bit of a problem, what do you do with some of this data? And I think we are, you know, we’re at the point that it’s a little bit of you got to get creative with it. Figure out what to go do with it. But I think really understanding it kind of digging into it and understanding it will kind of spark ideas if you’re in that mindset anyway.

Outro

That’s super interesting.  Rantum, before I let you go, where can we find you? Where can we find your work? I know you’re also a contributor to our network, as well. I saw that in your bio. Yeah, show it away, where can we learn more and stay in touch?

Rantum: Yeah, I’m Rantum bits on Twitter. And you can find me also Rantum dot XYZ is my site. And yeah, reach out, if you have any questions about data analytics.

Amazing. Till next time. Thank you so much. 

Rantum: Thank you. 

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