In this report, we analyze the blockchain to understand the new wallets contributing to the rise in node count since the first of the year. Our blockchain explorer will be qtum.info which added a staking rewards calculator this week, which works by entering either an address or entering an amount being staked. Your correspondent is quite impressed by this new Explorer, which has a light background and the ability to quickly show all the transactions for an address back to the “born on” date.
TL;DR: In late January about 2,000 staking wallets with 500 coins each launched, that may be related to the video streaming platform of 50,000 nodes announced for China.
I am an independent researcher, occasional blogger, social moderator, and appreciate the technical guidance from the Qtum Team and discussions in the Community. If you have any comments or corrections for this article, please reach out on the social medias. This blog assumes some basic understanding of Qtum Proof of Stake and block rewards mechanics, and new community members can find out more about these topics by reading my past blogs linked in the References below.
Network Weight (do try this at home)
Regular visitors to the blog know I calculate an alternate version of network weight by screen scraping Explorer block reward addresses, identifying big wallets with stable balances, and using the total balance and percent of block rewards won by these big wallets to calculate the network weight. For the past two weeks, that exercise gives a network weight of 33.4 million.
With the new Explorer, you can play the network weight game at home with these steps. Navigate your favorite browser to the new Explorer Biggest Miners page:
Scrape over the data and save to a text file. Then exactly one week later, grab the data again. For those big wallets with approximately the same balance between the two scrapes (accounting for the block rewards added), calculate the total Balance and the Blocks Mined in the week.
The network weight (roll your own version) = Total Balance / (Blocks Mined in the Week / 4200 blocks per week). If you make the calculation for this week, you should be close to the more painstaking network weight number I calculated above (unless someone is adding nodes 😊 ).
The Nodemap had a refresh this week and updated to show over 7,000 nodes on the network. The big story here is the growth of Qtum nodes in China, and I would be remiss to not mention what is called the “flippening” in other contexts: the current node count for Qtum in China is over 4,400, more than double the China node count for bitcoin or Ethereum. Next stop will be Qtum surpassing the global node count for bitcoin, give it two months.
Last year the node count lead was switching back and forth between Republic of Korea and USA before Korea pulled away. The big staking cities then were Mountain View, California (home of the Google Cloud) and Seoul, as you can see in this screen shot from October 21, 2017:
At the end of 2017, the network weight was around 20 million and the node count was around 1,200. But the pace of node deployment and network weight increase has accelerated a bit since then.
Currently, there are 11 cities in China with 100 or more nodes, including Nanjing posing for this screen shot selfie today with a cool 1,000 nodes. Nanjing is the capital of Jiangsu province with a metro population of 30 million, but it feels like you couldn’t walk around the block without bumping into a Qtum node, and that may be what is happening. These new nodes are interesting so your correspondent is going to make a SWAG about their purpose: terminals/kiosks located in convenience stores allowing people to make cash payments for video streaming services without using a bank or credit card. But this is a complete guess and if actual facts turn out to be different, these sentences will be magically edited away.
The table below shows the change in nodes from mid-February to this weekend. There is growth in every country, Korean nodes have just reached four figures today, and tremendous growth in Chinese nodes which currently account for 63% of the total nodes.
The pie chart below shows the node location percentages.
This week we go back to the Excel spreadsheet analysis to look at seven days-worth of block reward winners. Here is how this works: scrape the addresses of block reward winners from the Explorer, sort for unique addresses in Excel, use a macro recorder program to paste each address back into the Explorer and scrape the wallet balance and number of transactions.
The number of transactions for a staking address is interesting because it gives a very good clue about the age of a wallet since each block reward pays out in 10 transactions. If you see a staking wallet address with 50 to 5,000 transactions, that wallet has been around for a while. But if you see a wallet winning a block reward with less than 10 transactions it is having its very first block reward experience (the first time is the best time!).
Let’s do some more analysis on the block reward winners. There is an interesting number of newbie wallets with 500 QTUM, and a few with 400 QTUM. People favor round numbers and past research has shown clusters of wallets at 365, 500, 1000, 2000 and 10000 QTUM. But now there are many new wallets with this 500 QTUM size.
The example above shows one of these wallets, funded with 500 QTUM on January 30, 2018. You can see the incoming transaction with 84,854 QTUM, and change returned of 84,354 QTUM. And you can assume that the next transaction will be sending 500 QTUM to another new wallet with this 84,354 output, continuing to fund another 168 wallets.
While I’m sure the stakers appreciate the 168 juicy transaction fees, I have just one word for the person making these transactions: “sendmanywithdupes,” which can fund many addresses with a single transaction fee. For this analysis I saw numerous examples of sendmanywithdupes transactions, including a prominent series last year sending 365 QTUM to multiple addresses, subsequently used for mining. Note that splitting QTUM into separate addresses for mining has no change in the probability of winning a block reward, because the wallet software guarantees the probability of winning a block reward is exactly the same for a single wallet address with 27,375 coins and a wallet (or wallets) with 365 coins each in 75 addresses (totaling 27,375 coins).
Where is the growth in China coming from? One possibility is the Chinese video streaming company that announced they would deploy 50,000 nodes in a commercial network. We can molest the blockchain and see if we can discover any patterns or details about the new nodes. We capture block reward winning wallets for March 24 through March 30, and for wallets with less than 600 QTUM do a further filter for those wallets that had their funding transaction after January 1, 2018:
This histogram chart shows the number of block reward winning wallets with sizes of 500 QTUM that were funded (created) on the various days listed. Because block rewards are proportional to wallet weight (with some random variation) we can work the block reward calculations backward, and answer this question: what wallet size is required to win 129 block rewards in a week if the network weight is 33.4 million? [reference 1] The answer is about 1 million coins. If you deploy 1 million coins in wallets of 500 QTUM, you would have 2,000 wallets, which is certainly in the range of the increase for China, and perhaps even a little low. In any case, the probability math says if you have a single wallet with 1 million coins, or 2,000 wallets with 500 coins each, on average each would win 129 block rewards in a week.
I hope you have enjoyed this discussion of blockchain operations and learned something. April 1st is Easter Sunday, and if you observe Easter I hope you had a Happy Easter.
Since today is Easter, we finish the blog in the Vatican City State, home of Catholic Christianity, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. In the Sistine Chapel, the Renaissance artistic genius Michelangelo spent 10 years of his life (1502–1512) personally painting the ceiling and walls. The iconic image of genesis shows The Creation of Adam (so Adam must be “block 1” for humanity?) and gives the name for genesis blocks for cryptocurrencies.
Stay safe online, I’ll see you on the social medias,