Blockchain technology has been applied in many industries and has steadily gained the support and trust of users. Many startups and businesses try to develop unique web platforms or mobile applications with broad blockchain uses. With the booming blockchain and crypto market, developers have many opportunities and projects to develop, such as trading bots, payment applications, or business settlement solutions. In this article, we’ll figure out how APIs can be used in blockchain and how API integration can benefit applications.
What is a blockchain API?
Application Programming Interface (API) integration is used to communicate with the blockchain node or client network. By doing so, it gets the data and displays it to the user. APIs can be used to trade, manage accounts, encrypt transactions, perform analytics, and provide security. Top blockchain APIs are considered safe, easy to use, and reliable in the long run. Distributing data securely may come with blockchain technology, but it is more secure and convenient. Choosing one is not easy, as the variety of APIs is truly impressive.
Key Factors Before Choosing a Blockchain API
Developers or development teams have preferences when it comes to choosing a programming language, architectural pattern, framework, or library. The same goes for top-level blockchain API integrations, but it’s advisable to check a few things first.
- technology used. It is essential for developers to use open-source code when choosing blockchain API technology. Open source code can be tested by others, ultimately avoiding bugs.
- compatibility. Make sure the API you choose has features that support certain coins. It’s mostly used in cryptocurrency applications, but still.
- Performance. The more transactions or processes you need to run concurrently, the more careful your choices should be. Some blockchain APIs execute a few transactions per second, while others run thousands. When building applications with blockchain APIs, microservices are worth considering as they allow them to handle high loads and continue to be responsive and very fast when handling user requests.
Blockchain has APIs for wallet services, payment processing, blockchain exploration, and text queries. They provide WebSocket as well as market data API.
Top Blockchain APIs by Category
WebSockets and REST APIs for Blockchains
There are two types of blockchain protocols that can transfer data or exchange information. Let’s first understand how WebSockets work. The WebSocket API is a technology that allows the opening of a two-way interactive communication session between a user’s browser and a server. Essentially, it is a stateful protocol for establishing continuous client-server communication. The WebSocket API allows developers to receive real-time notifications about the latest transactions and blocks. It is faster and easier than the Representational State Transfer (REST) API, which is a traditional way of transferring messages. Typically, both APIs may be built at the same time, but this depends on the requirements of the web application.
For faster, more efficient communication sessions, use WebSockets, as they do not require the HTTP request/response overhead of sending and receiving each message. REST APIs for blockchain is better suited for occasional communication in typical GET request scenarios to call RESTful APIs.
Payment Processing API
To connect the business’ checkout functionality to the payment system, the developers integrated a payment processing API. Payment API integration is especially useful in cryptocurrency transactions. After paying the subscription fee, you can use the service with a gateway function. Among the popular ones are CoinGate, ALFAcoins, SpicePay, Square, Stripe, and Helcim. Consider the following factors when choosing this API:
- Price (depending on transaction volume, with or without a card, etc.)
- Security (Some are not suitable for high-risk operations.)
- Account stability (some payment APIs may have stability issues, so research and review comments first).
Often, they are combined with payment processing APIs to store digital assets. The main application is to buy, sell, send, receive and store digital assets. Probably the most common blockchain API in this category is Coinbase, as it is easy to implement into existing applications. Other examples are CromaWallet API and Blockchain API. The last one allows developers to create wallets for loading and redeeming funds.
Blockchain Data API
We need a blockchain data API to track market trends and get real-time data on “top cryptocurrencies”. Some developers prefer to create data APIs themselves, developing tools such as portfolio monitoring, statistical aggregation, and even trading bots. However, many of these services are available for free or have a free trial period, such as Nomics, CoinAPI, CoinMarketCap, or Binance API. Integrating blockchain data APIs is critical for querying operational and transactional data within the blockchain in JSON format.
Simple query API
To build a decentralized application, we need to query data on the blockchain. Simply put, the Query API allows extracting data by requesting the data displayed in the branch dashboard without accessing the dashboard itself. The simplest example of a blockchain explorer is the Blockchain Info API, a plaintext-based API that retrieves data from Blockchain.info for free. The more resources you want to get data from, the more expensive it will be. For example, the Daneel API can be called infinitely and collect and filter information from about 500 sources.
There is also a modern way to provide many third-party APIs in one place. It simplifies searching for developers but may have some security issues. An example is Rakuten RapidAPI, a platform with over 8,000 third-party APIs. There are other similar options, so to choose one you can look at APILayer, Celigo, Zapier, or Integrately. Most of them have a 14-day free trial.
Blockchain APIs are critical when developing solutions for rapidly changing markets. They are useful for supporting a collaborative environment, controlling chains, and as a type of quality control for different industries. The primary application of blockchain APIs is encrypted exchanges and transactions. However, they significantly simplify the developer’s work. Additionally, API documentation can be checked at any time and viewed by others, which is critical to project security. Many required APIs are freely available and easy to integrate into Web applications, but research and comparison of various APIs should not be overlooked.