Blockchain, cryptocurrency, and web3 represent a lot of different things to different people. To some, they are exciting new technologies full of promise and opportunity. To others, they are frivolous platforms with no real utility or value. But despite those differing views, all those who love, hate, find amusement in, or simply ignore the entire sector can usually agree on one thing: the blockchain is confusing.
Blockchain technology is fundamentally rooted in cryptography — a highly technical and mathematical practice — and that becomes painfully obvious when trying to view and understand the blockchain. The tools (or explorers) to read the blockchain mostly show you the raw blockchain data, which are series of large hexadecimal numbers generated by complex mathematical functions that even engineers can struggle to understand.
It’s reminiscent of the early days of computing when users relied solely on complex command line interfaces like Unix Shell to navigate the very first computers. The blockchain is currently in a similar “command line era”, where usability is still an unsolved problem and a huge barrier to cryptocurrency adoption.
Fortunately, the computing industry would eventually create far more intuitive and convenient options for navigating computers from graphical interfaces to touch navigation to now even conversations powered by AI to make computers accessible to everyone. We believe that can happen for the blockchain too.
The Cymbal Human Readable Block Explorer
Cymbal is a team of builders from leading consumer technology companies like Meta, Microsoft, Hulu, Flipboard and Gif Your Game, and also responsible for some of the most popular NFT mints of this year including Letters Royale. We are honored to be backed by world class investors including Patron, GV, Acrew, First Round Capital, Eniac, Sixth Man Ventures, Solana Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, CAA Connect, UTA Ventures and more.
Our mission is to make the world’s blockchain data — all the billions of events and activities stored on Ethereum, Solana, and other chains — understandable by anyone. To do this, we are building the “human readable” blockchain explorer at Cymbal.xyz, which not only has comprehensive, up-to-date information on blockchain activity, but formats and presents this information in simple yet novel ways.
We started by analyzing and processing more than a hundred million data points on the Ethereum blockchain (Solana coming soon!). We put extra focus on bringing together comprehensive information on the millions of wallets or people participating in the blockchain — their holdings, transactions, social media accounts, and more — and made sure we understand their NFT holdings because that’s how most people are introduced to the blockchain. According to crypto investor Electric Capital, the first action most people perform in web3 is related to NFTs making NFTs the onramp for new crypto users.
We then made our aggregated data available to an AI system that can summarize and explain what’s happening on the blockchain, all in realtime. So as you’re exploring people and projects on Ethereum at Cymbal.xyz, we’ll both show you what’s happening in a visual interface, and also tell you what’s happening in conversational English.
Right now, let Cymbal AI tell you things like what’s the ranking of a wallet’s portfolio, or how many people bought NFTs today, or what’s the largest sale for a specific collection this week. Next up, Cymbal AI will be about to tell you who are the top purchasers of Ethereum today and what other ERC-20 tokens they are buying as we continue to add additional blockchain data. And the more you use Cymbal and our data, the more you ask us to explain the blockchain to you, the better our AI system will be at generating useful and intelligent insights to make web3 understandable.
Throughout history, if you make interesting products and technology simpler and more accessible, users and usage tends to follow. We believe the blockchain can and deserves to follow that trend.
The blockchain is revolutionary technology that could one day transform industries from gaming to finance to digital media. But there’s currently a barrier of confusion and complexity preventing the blockchain from realizing its full potential. A barrier of large hexadecimal numbers, mathematical functions, and cryptography that users need help understanding. A barrier that the lessons of computing and the command line has shown doesn’t have to be permanent. A barrier that AI may be the ideal solution for.
Let’s go break that barrier down.