GooChain aims to be the google of the blockchain

Tuesday 11 November 2014

 Accessing the Public Ledger Known as “The Blockchain”

The bitcoin blockchain (or blockchain technology as a whole) has always been touted as a completely transparent public ledger that anyone can view. However, searching through the blockchain has not always been the cleanest and most straightforward process. Blockchain.info, for example, may have a nice looking and functional block explorer, however you would still need to know precisely what you were looking for in order to get any useful results. You also wouldn't be able to something as simple as filter through specific dates or search via a given range of BTC. For some this may not be a problem, but if the bitcoin blockchain is supposed to act as a transparent ledger, then searching through the blockchain should at least be simpler and broader, allowing for more types of input from the user.

Goo Chain logo

GooChain is a service that intends to fulfill the role of a “search engine” of sorts for the blockchain. You would still be able to search for very specific transactions much like you would with traditional block explorers, though you'd also be able to make searches with a varying amount of precision and based on different types parameters. Current block explorers rely on you already knowing a bitcoin address you want, transaction ID, block hash, and/or block number. Most users probably would know at least the address they would like to investigate, and in some cases a transaction ID. But what if you didn't know any of this information? What if you wanted to search for a “message” written on the blockchain? What if you wanted to look for a specific transaction from a given address based on a number of BTC? What if you wanted to search for a given transaction based on a certain date from a known address? Currently there may not be such a demand to search the blockchain in these ways, however as adoption grows and blockchain technology becomes more well known and used, one may never know when features such as these will be useful. Currently GooChain does not have all of its intended features released yet, however it has been advancing along nicely.

The Future of GooChain

GooChain has a list of features that are planned to be implemented in the near future, which include searching through the blockchain based on an HD wallet xpub input, specified amount of BTC, the starting characters of a bitcoin address, and written messages in the blockchain. There are also plans to add more sorting/filtering options for search results, implement a graphing feature for each address (address amount over time), showing a list of blocks when searching through a given time frame, and being able to list BTC amounts in fiat. An API is also set to be released at some point to be used by third party apps and wallets as an easy way for them to search through the blockchain. Other upcoming changes to GooChain would include faster search times (which are critical as the blockchain grows), as well as a tweaked user interface to increase its ease of use.

The Man Behind GooChain

GooChain is the product of Antoine Ferron, a French 30 year old engineer who is very interested in cryptography and computing in general. He entered the bitcoin space as a hobby miner, but then quickly became more involved. He became a shareholder in a bitcoin mining firm and a contributer to BTC Chip, a “bitcoin smartcard hardware wallet”. He began working on GooChain as a side project in his spare time, but it is quickly becoming a dedicated firm which he runs. He partnered up with freelance developer and bitcoin enthusiast@MarsuTwitt to help develop GooChain.

Conclusion

On the surface, GooChain may appear to be a slightly more sophisticated block explorer. However it has potential to allow people to really see the blockchain as a transparent and easy-to-read ledger. A search engine such as this could enable various other blockchain-related applications that may not exist yet. It's uncertain how useful a service like GooChain will be at the moment, but it's the hope of Antoine Ferron that people will one day need to find something on the blockchain and decide “I'll just GooChain it”. 

Daniel Mestre


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