Despite the many alternative flavors of NoSQL databases that have caught the attention of developers over the years, relational databases remain the de facto standard for storing and retrieving digital information. Every technology worker from the back-office IT personnel to the modern Web developer has been trained to use, manage, and query relational databases. SQL, the language used to interact with relational databases, is the lingua franca of data management. Yet, while blockchains can be thought of as decentralized databases, they are not geared for the same storage and query tasks as relational databases, making them too slow, too expensive, and decidedly foreign for the average developer to interact with. This creates a paradoxical and undesirable situation in which developers of decentralized technologies choose the path of least resistance for their data storage needs: traditional, centralized, relational databases.
Enter Tableland, a multi-chain relational database network that brings SQL to smart contracts. Using this foundation, Tableland is developing Basin — a product for DePIN (Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Network) projects. With a focus on user-friendly tools and cryptographic data formats, Basin is designed to make data secure and usable for generations to come. Provenance tracking ensures a transparent data lineage, while Filecoin guarantees decentralized data accessibility and permanence. With Basin, Tableland is solving a critical pain point for DePIN projects by creating a more secure, efficient, and transparent decentralized infrastructure.
Tableland launched their community in Q2 of 2022 with 3000 utilitarian NFTs with their metadata stored in relational tables in Tableland itself, showcasing a tangible use case for the product. The NFTs sold out in under 5 minutes. Since then, they’ve launched on Arbitrum, Polygon, Optimism, and other L2 chains.
As crypto continues to grow and quickly evolve, developers will lean toward tools and technologies that make them more productive. Tried and true, widely adopted patterns such as relational tables and SQL will continue to play an important foundational role, even as applications become decentralized. With growing momentum behind DePIN projects, Tableland can position itself as a foundational building block for a world where crypto-economic incentives are used to coordinate physical infrastructure. We are excited to be backing the entire Tableland team on their mission.