In short, the problems are:
- today, Etherscan and Ethplorer are two closed source APIs that are two single points of failure that many developers are building on top of (which also means those two sites negate some of the decentralized and trustlessness elements of interacting with the blockchain)
- running your own infrastructure to get token balances per wallet address AND historical transactions is a large undertaking which doesn’t add business value and is costly
- without any open source code, multiple teams are potentially building the same thing
After some back and forth with Eric Kryski from Bidali, the rough estimate is that this would cost $5K - $10K in monthly server costs. This is for the whole world and whole ecosystem — so this isn’t that bad — but that’s still a large recurring cost.
The bigger cost is a team of people with blockchain, devops, and security expertise to keep the system up and running on a continual basis. That probably looks like $30K - $40K in people and admin costs.
So all of a sudden we’re looking at $600K annual cost.
And yet, having this functionality available for the Ethereum ecosystem is potentially a huge game changer. It enables developers of Ethereum client apps to reliably get token balances and other queries, which can support the growth of many more production dapps. It also levels the playing field - if the cost of entry to run your own version of this is so high, we are saying that Ethereum development is only for massively funded teams.
Can we Gitcoin our way to funding an initial build out of this infrastructure? Between foundations and project grants and “pro” business subscriptions, can we sustain an annual infrastructure budget for things like this?