What Is Dune Analytics and How Does It Work?

Dune makes it easy for crypto users to turn blockchain data into actionable charts and metrics.

Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:12 p.m. UTC

Crypto operates at a fast clip. A new protocol doesn’t hang around for a big-time data company to integrate its API into its feed, meaning there’s demand for a data provider that can produce insights about current market trends on the fly.

Dune Analytics, a site that lets anyone publish and access crypto dashboards driven by blockchain data, has filled that gap. The 3-year-old company, which in February 2022 raised $69,420,000 in a Series B funding round, lets you query blockchain data for free.

Like most crypto protocols, the source of Dune’s power is its community. Popular dashboards created by its users track anything and everything, with queries as diverse as trending yield farms on Ethereum and the non-fungible token (NFT) collections bought by top OpenSea traders.

Of course, specialist data sites like Nansen also publish similar insights, but the advantage of Dune is that it’s free. It’s also very easy to spin up one of their dashboards and publish your own datasets or view the work produced by others at no additional cost.

Dune is particularly useful when you want to find the answer to a niche question that has fallen through the cracks of other data services. One popular dashboard, for instance, queries Ethereum Name System domain names with five letters, then sorts them by expiry dates.

Another sifts through blockchain data produced by MakerDAO, the protocol that powers the decentralized U.S. dollar stablecoin, DAI, to trace the flow of the money.

How do you use Dune Analytics?

To view blockchain data, head to dune.xyz.

You can view popular dashboards through the “discover” button or hunt for specific data in the search bar. Data could be presented as lists or visualized into bar charts and graphs. Most queries are sorted into dashboards – groups of queries presented on a single screen.

There are limitations to the data you can find. As of April 2022, Dune supports Ethereum, Polygon, BNB Chain, Optimism and Gnosis Chain. It also supports any smart contract created on those blockchains.

To view a dashboard, simply click on it. Dune doesn’t store the blockchain’s state data itself – it just displays the data produced by the Structured Query Language (SQL) query the last time that someone requested data.

All queries are refreshed whenever you view them. However, refreshing can take a while – you’ll be added to a queue. As a result, your data might be a couple of minutes or hours out of date.

You can also create queries by hitting “new query” and entering SQL code. Remember that Dune data is only as reliable as the coder who created the query.

Dune Analytics offers a paid service, too. As of April 2022, it costs $390 a month. The premium version lets you skip the query queue and run parallel queries, meaning that your analytics can be processed faster than they are for non-paid users, keep dashboards and queries private, and export your data to comma-separated values (CSV) files.

Who created Dune Analytics?

Dune Analytics was created in March 2019 by two founders from Oslo, Norway: Fredrik Haga and Mats Olsen.

Haga’s background is suitably esoteric for a tech unicorn: He’s an economics graduate from elite universities in Australia and the U.S., and loves hip hop and freestyle skiing. Olsen studied in Norway, and after graduation stuck to software engineering and data science.

The pair built smart contracts together at a Norwegian media company, but quit once they realized the corporation was too large to take a serious bet on crypto. “Over a beer that summer Mats told me ‘I quit my job yesterday.’ It then took me about half a second to realize I would have to do the same,” wrote Haga in a blog post. Shortly after, they created Dune.

The company set out to work on Ethereum data first of all, but it was a small shop, and for months they only had a handful of paying customers. The duo struggled to get funding for months until Binance took a chance on them, and invited them into their accelerator.

A seed round of $2 million came over a year later in August 2020. When “DeFi Summer,” the few months that followed the yield farming craze, was in full swing in 2020, Dune Analytics became popular with those eking out crazy percentage yields on experimental finance protocols.

Since then, Dune has grown and grown. Now it counts top crypto companies and protocols, such as Argent, Uniswap, Compound, Messari and ConsenSys, among its many customers.

Dune plans to use its $69 million Series B to keep on growing, and “educate, reward and empower a new generation of on-chain analysts.”

This article was originally published on Apr 18, 2022 at 3:30 p.m. UTC


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Robert Stevens

Robert Stevens is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in The Guardian, the Associated Press, the New York Times and Decrypt.

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