Blockchain technology is applied in many industries and is continuously gaining support and trust of users. Many start-ups and businesses strive to develop unique web platforms or mobile apps with a wide range of blockchain uses. As the blockchain and crypto markets flourish, developers have many opportunities and projects to develop, such as trading bots, payment applications or business settlement solutions. In this article, we will explore how APIs are used for blockchain and how apps can benefit from API integration.
What is Blockchain API?
Application Programming Interface (API) integration is used to communicate with blockchain nodes or client networks. By doing this it receives the data and displays it to the user. The API can be used to create transactions, manage accounts, crypto trading, analytics, and provide security. Top Blockchain APIs are considered secure, easy to use and reliable in the long run. Distributing data securely may happen with blockchain technology, but it is safer and more convenient. Choosing one is not an easy feat, as the variety of APIs is really impressive.
Key Factors Before Choosing a Blockchain API
Developers or development teams have preferences when it comes to choosing a programming language, architecture pattern, framework or library. The same goes for the top blockchain API integration, but it’s worth checking a few things first.
- technology used. For a developer, it is important to use open-source code when choosing a technology for a blockchain API. Open-source code can be tested by others, and mistakes can eventually be avoided.
- compatibility. Make sure the API you choose has the functionality to support certain coins. It is mainly considered for cryptocurrency apps, but still.
- performance. The more transactions or processes you need to run at the same time, the more careful your choice should be. Some blockchain APIs perform a few transactions per second, and others run thousands. Microservices are worth considering when building an app with Blockchain APIs as it allows handling high loads and remains responsive and very fast in processing users’ 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 Categories
WebSockets and REST APIs for Blockchain
There are two types of blockchain protocols that transmit data or exchange information. Let us first learn how WebSocket works. The WebSocket API is a technology that allows the opening of a two-way interactive communication session between the user’s browser and the server. Essentially, it is a stateful protocol used to establish 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 to use than the Representational State Transfer (REST) API, which is a traditional way of transmitting messages. Usually, both APIs can be installed, but it depends on the web application requirements.
For fast and highly efficient communication sessions, use WebSockets because they do not require the HTTP request/response overhead for every message sent and received. REST APIs for blockchains are better suited for topical communication in typical GET request scenarios to call RESTful APIs.
Payment Processing API
To link a business’s checkout function to a payment system, developers integrate payment processing APIs. Payment API integrations are particularly useful in cryptocurrency exchanges. After paying the subscription fee, you can use the service with gateway functionality. Popular ones are CoinGate, ALFAcoins, SpicePay, Square, Stripe and Helcim. Consider the following factors when choosing this API:
- Value (depends on transaction volume, card-current or card-not-present, etc.)
- Safety (Not suitable for some high-risk tasks.)
- Account stability (some payment APIs may go through stability issues, so do research and check reviews first).
Typically, they are combined with payment processing APIs and used to store digital assets. The main application is to buy, sell, send, receive and store digital assets. The most common blockchain API in this category is probably Coinbase, as it is easy to implement in existing applications. Other examples are the CromaWallet API and the Blockchain API. Ultimate allows developers to create wallets to load and redeem funds.
Blockchain Data API
We need a blockchain data API to follow market trends and get real-time data about “top cryptocurrencies”. Some developers prefer to build data APIs on their own, developing tools such as portfolio monitoring, statistics aggregation, and even trading bots. However, many such services are provided free of charge or with a free trial period, such as Nomics, CoinAPI, CoinMarketCap, or Binance API. It is necessary to integrate the Blockchain Data API in order to consult data on operations and transactions within the blockchain in JSON format.
Simple Query API
In order to build decentralized applications, we need to query the data on the blockchain. In simple words, Query API allows to pull data by requesting the data displayed in your branch dashboard without having access to the dashboard. The simplest example of a blockchain explorer is the Blockchain Info API, a plaintext-based API that retrieves data from the blockchain for free. The more resources you want to get data from, the more expensive it becomes. For example, the Denial API has asynchronous calls and information is collected and filtered from about 500 sources.
There is also a modern approach that provides a lot of third party APIs in one place. This simplifies the search for developers but there may be some issues with security. An example would be Rakuten RapidAPI, a platform with 8,000+ third-party APIs. There are others with 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 vital when developing solutions for a rapidly changing market. They are useful for supporting a cooperative environment, controlling chain and acting as a type of quality control in various industries. The top applications of Blockchain API are in crypto exchange and trading. Nevertheless, they make the work of developers quite easy. Also, API documentation can be checked and reviewed by others, which is essential for project security. Many essential APIs come for free and are easy to integrate into web applications, but exploring and comparing a wide range of APIs shouldn’t be overlooked.