Nolan Bauerle is research director of CoinDesk.
For further information and details, visit the Crypto-Economics Explorer of CoinDesk.
Starting today, CoinDesk will use GitHub to help manage crowdsourcing potential methodological changes and data sources for our Crypto-Economics Explorer (CEX), our comprehensive data tool designed to measure and compare cryptographic resources.
After launching the beta version of our tool in November, the clearest critical comment we've heard has been related to our methodology to calculate developer interest in a blockchain. More precisely, we listened to the feedback on the decision to only count the activity on a GitHub code repository towards the "developer's score" of each blockchain.
The criticism was that the methodology behind the CEX was insufficient to measure the interest of developers for each project.
For example, the bitcoin reference implementation is Bitcoin Core (which is the repository of the CEX tracks). While it works well for bitcoins, ethereum is implemented through several clients, which include the largest repository (Geth, which we track), but also the independently developed, interoperable, but equally important Parity client (whose repository is not currently monitored in the CEX), as well as customers like cpp-ethereum and others.
Counting the single bitcoin client, critics have said that the CEX has painted a more accurate picture of developers' interest in bitcoin, but counting only one client per ethereum, the explorer has lost some of the interests of developers on that blockchain.
Our logic for the conservative approach was that we wanted to get the beta version of our tool from scratch with a minimum common denominator – the developer's interest in the core protocols implemented in their main client. The comparison between highly heterogeneous blockchain is a challenge and we wanted to have a solid base before further expanding data points and methodology.
The plan from there was, and is, to grow the list of code repositories that we monitor. Our ambition is to trace GitHub's activities beyond the basic protocol and client implementations to the associated projects derived from that blockchain, including wallet, dapps and layer 2 solutions as status and sidechain channels.
After launching and listening to the criticism, we decided to implement our complete vision and expand the repositories and activities on GitHub that we monitored. When we started, however, we quickly understood the complexity of this task. What we wanted to do meant keeping track of thousands of projects and repositories. What we needed was a solution that could adapt to the complexity and size of the industry and that could capture the interest and activity of developers in a "head to toe" blockchain.
Our solution now is to go directly to the developer communities, allowing programmers to enhance various blockchains to make their contribution to our methodology in an environment that is more suitable given their work.
That is, Data has now published the methodology and data sources for the interest of the CEX developer GitHub Yes.
In our new repository there are several master files to get the effort launched: one for the currently tracked repositories, another for the weights we provide to each data point and finally another for the methodology on how to integrate the associated projects in the future.
The goal is to use the GitHub workflow tools to help us scale this important metric. Now anyone can make a pull request for CoinDesk Data to follow a repository, to change the weights given to a given data point or to help inform any broader methodological change.
The hope is that this forum will help us to strengthen the methodology, to stimulate the debate and to expand our coverage in every corner of GitHub related to our sector. We look forward to your continuous feedback.
Image through CoinDesk CEX