The application is very easy to use. First download and run the version for your desired platform, then follow this guide. The current version supports the Bitcoin blockchain, Ethereum support is coming soon.
When you first start the application you see the initial screen, this is where you choose:
- What you want to see - this can be an individual address or transaction, or you can let the app choose something to show you.
- How you want to see it - you can choose 3D Mode on any platform and VR Mode with Google Cardboard for Android and iOS.
- You can also specify an auto-grow depth to allow the graph to grow automatically. The graph will grow until all branches from the start point have reached the specified depth. Choosing a depth of 3 is good. Choosing a depth of 4 can lead to slow performance, depending on your device.
Once you’ve chosen what to see and how to see it, press the
Let's Go button on the initial screen. You are taken into the Bitcoin network “world view”. The controls available depend on the version you are using (these are also summarised on the initial screen).
On all platforms, the little white dot in the centre of the screen is your crosshair. The crosshair shows what you are looking at. An item (a Bitcoin transaction or address) turns white when it is looked at, and the crosshair will expand into a circle if you can interact with that item.
|Windows, Linux, MacOS PCs in 3D mode||Use mouse or trackpad and keys WASD to fly around. Use keys QE to float up and down. Look at items and left click to see more links. See also the full list of keyboard controls.|
|iOS, Android in 3D mode||Your device acts as a “magic window” into the Bitcoin world view. Move the device around to look around the world. Look at items and single tap the screen to see more links from that item.
Look at empty space and tap the screen to float in that direction, repeating the process to float faster. Look at empty space and double tap the screen to stop floating.
|iOS, Android in VR mode with Google Cardboard||Look around the world at items and single tap the cardboard button to see more links from that item.
Look at empty space and tap the cardboard button to float in that direction, repeating the process to float faster. Look at empty space and double tap the cardboard button to stop floating.
World View Screen
Bitcoin transactions are shown as blue spheres and Bitcoin addresses are shown as red cubes. The lines joining addresses to transactions are referred to as links in this application.
In your typical personal banking account a transaction moves money from one account to one other account. It is a one-to-one relationship. With Bitcoin, transactions can be from one or many addresses to one or many addresses. A typical Bitcoin transaction is shown in the diagram and consists of:
Inputs that move Bitcoin from an address into a transaction. These are shown as blue arrows going into the transaction. They have a value associated with them.
Outputs that move Bitcoin from a transaction into an address. These are shown as blue arrows going out of the transaction. They also have a value associated with them.
Expanding Addresses and Transactions
Move the crosshair (the little white dot) until it is over the address or transaction you want to know more about. The item will turn white, and the crosshair dot will expand into a circle if the item can be interacted with. Then click or tap to see more links associated with that item.
Some addresses have many hundreds of transactions and some transactions involve many hundreds of addresses. Instead of trying to display all of these links at once, the system starts by showing only the first few links. Then you can display more links by looking at the address or transaction and tapping the screen or clicking the mouse.
The screenshot shows an example of a transaction that has many links, and the system is displaying 1 link out of a possible 143.
Addresses and transactions change to a darker colour after all their links are displayed.
You can keep adding more and more items and following their links basically until your hardware starts to struggle. On standalone builds (Windows, MacOS, Linux) you can press P on the keyboard to toggle the physics calculations on and off. Physics is switched back on automatically if you display more nodes.
On Windows, MacOS, Linux the following keyboard controls are available:
|M||Toggle mouse inversion|
|G||Toggle auto-grow of graph|
|P||Toggle physics (improves performance). Physics is switched back on automatically if more items are added to the view.|
|Esc||Toggle mouse being used by the app (frees mouse to use on your desktop)|
|WASD||Fly forward, left, back, right|
|QE||Float up and down|