Semantic Blockchain: Semantic web on/with the blockchain

Finding all the ways to inject, insert, use, relate, apply, etc. Semantic web principles on blockchain based technologies. Author: Héctor Ugarte

Month: June, 2016

Semantification of the Blockchain – Semantic Blockchain

Three that many possibles ways to “semantify” a blockchain are:

  1. Map the existing content of the blockchain to RDF. For this, is needed different tools and semantic components. And/or
  2. Store RDF Data on the blockchain. This data can contain URI pointing to other data store inside the blockchain (non HTTP URIs, for example: Smart Contracts Addresses). And/or
  3. Create a new blockchain framework (altcoin or from scratch) based completely on Semantic web principles (Handling blockchain metadata with RDF format, enabling SPARQL queries natively, etc).



Semantic Blockchain: Bitcoin Explorer

Semantic Bitcoin Blockchain Explorer (SBBE)


One very initial good use case of BLONDiE (Blockchain Ontology with Dynamic Extensibility) is a Bitcoin Blockchain Explorer. More Precisely a Semantic Bitcoin Blockchain Explorer (SBBE).

A Blockchain Explorer is:

a program or web site that lets users search and navigate a block chain. Uses include:

  • checking address balances
  • tracking coin transfer histories
  • watching for transaction acceptance
  • monitoring the network hash rate and other statistics
    Block chain browsers typically provide:
  • a list of a chain’s recent blocks
  • transactions in a given block
  • links to the previous and next transaction involving each input and output
  • a list of all transactions involving a given address
  • current and historical address balances
  • a way to search for blocks, transactions, and addresses
  • some offer a way to broadcast a signed raw transaction


Many of the current blockchain explorers are built using relational databases schemas. Which offers many advantages, but using a Graph Based database with RDF triples could offer advantages like:

  • Datawarehousing
  • Excel and R
  • No data left behind
  • SPARQL is more consistent than SQL
  • Lower cost
  • Allows competitive tendering
  • Better performance for naturally grouped data
  • Better caching
  • SADI
  • RDF puts relations first

*For detailed information visit the source


I am not arguing that Graph Based are better than relational databases, I am just saying that they are different.

Anyway, a Semantic Bitcoin Blockchain explorer will offer an SPARQL endpoint. Where you could write SPARQL Queries and retrieve different information from the blockchain. Allowing us to “research” the Bitcoin blockchain.

Semantic Blockchain (SB) – Semantic Distributed Ledger (SDL)

This new idea that in some way applies Semantic web principles on blockchain and/or viceversa, is currently being under research by few computer scientist and researchers around the world. Some few proposed definitions (by me) of Semantic Blockchain are:

  1. Semantic Blockchain is the use of Semantic web standards on blockchain based systems. The standards promote common data formats and exchange protocols on the blockchain, making used of the Resource Description Framework (RDF).
  2. Semantic Blockchain is a distributed database that maintains a continuously-growing list of standardized data records, using generally Resource Description Framework (RDF), hardened against tampering and revision.
  3. Semantic Blockchain is the representation of data stored on the blockchain using Linked Data.


It is true that Semantic Web didn’t have the desired impact on the industry. It is widely used and popular on the academic world, but very misunderstood and underestimated on the business environment. But blockchain technologies can be a game changer for this not ideal currently reality. The inherent properties of the blockchain as: auditable, traceability, guaranteed continuity, super distributed Security, proof of uniqueness, ownership of data, etc should work as a boost for Semantic Web.

Similarly, current blockchain platforms as Ethereum are lacking of Semantic reasoning on its components, for example on the “Smart contracts”. Semantic web standards are out from many years and could be easily adapted to these new blockchain based platforms.

In fact, there is a big space of research to make in the field of “Semantic Blockchains” or “Semantic Distributed Ledgers”, and hopefully will not stay on the research field only, and will take a big jump to the industrial world. For that it results crucial to start developing applications that merge these 2 worlds.


Starting thoughts.