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Exploring Transactions in solana.events

Learn how transactions are structured on Solana, and how to analyze Solana projects using the solana.events table. We’ll first look at transactions for a specific project, Marinade Finance, and then we’ll see how to find transactions for any project on Solana. We’ll also show you how to begin analyzing these transactions in Flipside’s solana.events table.
We recommend you create a query in Flipside’s app and follow along!
Note: this article is written for readers who are new to crypto data analysis or readers who have some experience but want to learn more about data on Solana.
Technical Note: As of this writing Feb 18 2022, Marinade Finance uses two different transaction structures for staking deposits, depending on the amount of mSOL available in their liquidity pools. This article is written using only one of these formats, but the same general analysis strategy applies. The first transaction format is shown here, the second here. The difference is in the Inner Instructions of the Deposit instruction.)

Case Study: Marinade Finance

To motivate our learning let’s start with a practical case study: let’s pretend you’ve been asked to visualize staking deposit transactions on Marinade Finance over time.
How will you find Marinade transaction data in Flipside’s Solana tables? And specifically staking deposit transactions?

Finding Transactions: Participate & Analyze!

Let’s learn a strategy you can use to find transactions related to any project on Solana with data from the solana.events table.
The first step is to participate in the project to generate a transaction. You’ll then analyze that transaction using Flipside’s data and a blockchain explorer like Solscan.
Participate
In the context of our case study we visited Marinade’s app, we connected our Phantom wallet, and we staked SOL to receive mSOL — this generated a staking transaction.
Analyze
To analyze our transaction we looked up our wallet address on Solscan and found our transaction’s signature, and then we used that signature to look up our transaction in Flipside’s data!
If you participated in Flipside’s first Solana Scavenger hunt you probably found your Marinade staking transaction in Flipside’s data using a query like this:
SELECT *
FROM solana.transactions
where date_trunc('day', block_timestamp) = '2022-01-21 00:00:00.000'
-- on Solana we *always* add a small date range for query efficiency!
and tx_id = 'ngF3HJPi3g7WwkEXU7L4d8gRuggtLTq9cJ31tLXvhxqyet73oX23iaZiqL3cMv9o573xa4gjKqotrksB7N6unf1'
The query above finds a specific transaction in the solana.transactions table, but in this article we’re going to show you how to find Marinade staking transactions using the solana.events table which contains more detail.
Let’s find our transaction in the solana.events table:
select *
from solana.events
where date_trunc('day', block_timestamp) = '2022-01-21 00:00:00.000'
-- on Solana we *always* add a small date range for query efficiency!
and tx_id = 'ngF3HJPi3g7WwkEXU7L4d8gRuggtLTq9cJ31tLXvhxqyet73oX23iaZiqL3cMv9o573xa4gjKqotrksB7N6unf1'
Take a look at the results — you’ll see much of the same information as in solana.transactions (BLOCK_ID, BLOCK_TIMESTAMP, etc.).
Notice that solana.transactions had columns like TX_FROM_ADDRESS and TX_TO_ADDRESS, but we don’t see these columns in the solana.events table... instead the solana.events table has this information stored in columns called INSTRUCTION and INNER_INSTRUCTION, and the information is stored inside JSON data structures like these:
An example value in the INSTRUCTION column of solana.events:
{
"accounts": [
"8szGkuLTAux9XMgZ2vtY39jVSowEcpBfFfD8hXSEqdGC",
"mSoLzYCxHdYgdzU16g5QSh3i5K3z3KZK7ytfqcJm7So",
"UefNb6z6yvArqe4cJHTXCqStRsKmWhGxnZzuHbikP5Q",
"7GgPYjS5Dza89wV6FpZ23kUJRG5vbQ1GM25ezspYFSoE",
"EyaSjUtSgo9aRD1f8LWXwdvkpDTmXAW54yoSHZRF14WL",
"Du3Ysj1wKbxPKkuPPnvzQLQh8oMSVifs3jGZjJWXFmHN",
"2GfVuJm5Hbtf5rr6FeUuNXqpPYzJAq8P9HQg6XsrurxV",
"9dNe8PGfFU8s8eDQE2uXWG33pxASV2ESHPVnqwcCnYes",
"3JLPCS1qM2zRw3Dp6V4hZnYHd4toMNPkNesXdX9tg6KM",
"11111111111111111111111111111111",
"TokenkegQfeZyiNwAJbNbGKPFXCWuBvf9Ss623VQ5DA"
],
"data": "WuE7HjnsyebMnwtCrYDY9d",
"programId": "MarBmsSgKXdrN1egZf5sqe1TMai9K1rChYNDJgjq7aD"
}
An example value in the INNER_INSTRUCTION column of solana.events:
{
"index": 0,
"instructions": [
{
"parsed": {
"info": {
"amount": "116672",
"authority": "EyaSjUtSgo9aRD1f8LWXwdvkpDTmXAW54yoSHZRF14WL",
"destination": "9dNe8PGfFU8s8eDQE2uXWG33pxASV2ESHPVnqwcCnYes",
"source": "7GgPYjS5Dza89wV6FpZ23kUJRG5vbQ1GM25ezspYFSoE"
},
"type": "transfer"
},
"program": "spl-token",
"programId": "TokenkegQfeZyiNwAJbNbGKPFXCWuBvf9Ss623VQ5DA"
},
{
"parsed": {
"info": {
"destination": "UefNb6z6yvArqe4cJHTXCqStRsKmWhGxnZzuHbikP5Q",
"lamports": 120000,
"source": "2GfVuJm5Hbtf5rr6FeUuNXqpPYzJAq8P9HQg6XsrurxV"
},
"type": "transfer"
},
"program": "system",
"programId": "11111111111111111111111111111111"
}
]
}
To begin to understand this JSON data we need to learn more about how transactions are organized on Solana.
Solana Transactions Are Organized into Programs & Instructions
Transactions on Solana are organized into programs (similar to smart contracts on Ethereum). These programs execute sets of ‘instructions’. You can think of each program’s instructions as telling Solana to “do this, then do this, then do this, etc...”
Here’s a conceptual outline of how a hypothetical transaction could invoke multiple programs, each with its own set of instructions:
Conceptual Outline of a Solana Transaction
transaction
  • program 1
    • instruction 1
      • inner instruction 1 [note: instructions can contain ‘inner instructions’]
      • inner instruction 2
      • inner instruction 3
  • program 2
    • instruction 1 [note: often instructions do not have ‘inner instructions’]
  • program 3
    • instruction 1
      • inner instruction 1
      • inner instruction 2
    • instruction 2
This hypothetical Solana transaction invoked three programs: the first program had one instruction with three inner instructions; the second program had only one instruction with zero inner instructions, etc.
To make things clearer, let’s create an outline for our Marinade Staking transaction!
Outline of our Marinade Staking Transaction
transaction
  • program 1
    • instruction 1
      • inner instruction 1
      • inner instruction 2
We created this outline by looking at our transaction on Solscan, and we can use Solscan to add even more detail.
More Detail: Outline of our Marinade Staking Transaction
transaction: ngF3HJPi3g7WwkEXU7L4d8gRuggtLTq9cJ31tLXvhxqyet73oX23iaZiqL3cMv9o573xa4gjKqotrksB7N6unf1
  • program 1: Marinade Finance - MarBmsSgKXdrN1egZf5sqe1TMai9K1rChYNDJgjq7aD
    • instruction 1: Deposit
      • inner instruction 1: Token Transfer
      • inner instruction 2: SOL Transfer
Again we got all this info from Solscan (see screenshots below). Shortly we’ll show you how to access this info in Flipside’s data to power our analysis, but for now we’ll reference Solscan screenshots while we improve our conceptual understanding:
More Detail with Screenshots: Outline of our Marinade Staking Transaction
  • program: Marinade Finance - MarBmsSgKXdrN1egZf5sqe1TMai9K1rChYNDJgjq7aD
  • instruction 1: Deposit
    • inner instruction 1: Token Transfer
    • inner instruction 2: SOL Transfer
    ​
So now that we understand that Solana transactions are organized into programs, instructions, and inner instructions, it’s clearer to see how our transaction’s data show up in the solana.events table. For example you’ll see a lot of the information from Solscan in this JSON from the INNER_INSTRUCTIONS column:
{
"index": 0,
"instructions": [
{
"parsed": {
"info": {
"amount": "116672",
"authority": "EyaSjUtSgo9aRD1f8LWXwdvkpDTmXAW54yoSHZRF14WL",
"destination": "9dNe8PGfFU8s8eDQE2uXWG33pxASV2ESHPVnqwcCnYes",
"source": "7GgPYjS5Dza89wV6FpZ23kUJRG5vbQ1GM25ezspYFSoE"
},
"type": "transfer"
},
"program": "spl-token",
"programId": "TokenkegQfeZyiNwAJbNbGKPFXCWuBvf9Ss623VQ5DA"
},
{
"parsed": {
"info": {
"destination": "UefNb6z6yvArqe4cJHTXCqStRsKmWhGxnZzuHbikP5Q",
"lamports": 120000,
"source": "2GfVuJm5Hbtf5rr6FeUuNXqpPYzJAq8P9HQg6XsrurxV"
},
"type": "transfer"
},
"program": "system",
"programId": "11111111111111111111111111111111"
}
]
}

Checkpoint Review

Let’s review what we’ve learned so far:
  1. 1.
    Our goal was to find all Marinade staking transactions in Flipside’s data.
  2. 2.
    We started by participating in Marinade staking and generating a transaction.
  3. 3.
    We found our transaction on Solscan and in Flipside’s solana.events table
  4. 4.
    We learned that transactions on Solana are organized into programs, instructions, and inner instructions, and this helped us better recognize these data in the JSON of the solana.events table.
Now we need to find all Marinade staking transactions, not just our transaction.
Let’s quickly think through how to analyze our single transaction’s data to find all Marinade staking transactions. Along the way we’ll learn how to access JSON data using SQL.

Extracting data from solana.events

Extracting the program
Let’s extract only the PROGRAMID field, which we think will be important because the program is identified on Solscan as Marinade Finance.
From our staking transaction we’ll use the PROGRAMID value to find all similar transactions on that day:
select
instruction:programId,
*
from solana.events
where date_trunc('day', block_timestamp) = '2022-01-21 00:00:00.000'
-- on Solana we *always* add a small date range for query efficiency!
and instruction:programId = 'MarBmsSgKXdrN1egZf5sqe1TMai9K1rChYNDJgjq7aD'
order by block_timestamp;
We accessed the PROGRAMID value by using a colon to ‘traverse’ the JSON structure and pull out the value:
instruction:programId
--use colons ':' to select nested fields in JSON structure
If you're following along with a query in Flipside’s app, you'll see we get 1,043 rows, and from quickly looking at the first transaction on Solscan we see that its program’s INSTRUCTION is referenced as ‘MergeStakes’ — not ‘Deposit’ like our staking transaction.
This means that filtering on the PROGRAMID alone is not selective enough to find staking transactions, because our query includes other kinds of transactions.
Extracting the source
Can we find something more specific about our transaction that identifies it as a staking transaction?
After further data exploration, we notice that the amount of mSOL we received came from a SOURCE address starting with ‘7GgPYj...’, an address that is included in our staking transaction’s INNER INSTRUCTIONS field. Also, Solscan listed this address ‘7GpPYj...’ as “Liq Pool Msol Leg” (see its list of input accounts for the Deposit instruction) — this might be read as e.g. “Liquidity Pool Msol Ledger” so we reason that all Marinade staking deposits must come from this address.
Let’s add this SOURCE field with address ‘7GpPYj...’ to our query:
select
instruction:programId,
inner_instruction:instructions[0]:parsed:info:source,
*
from solana.events
where date_trunc('day', block_timestamp) = '2022-01-21 00:00:00.000'
-- on Solana we *always* add a small date range for query efficiency!
and instruction:programId = 'MarBmsSgKXdrN1egZf5sqe1TMai9K1rChYNDJgjq7aD'
and inner_instruction:instructions[0]:parsed:info:source = '7GgPYjS5Dza89wV6FpZ23kUJRG5vbQ1GM25ezspYFSoE'
order by block_timestamp;
We accessed the SOURCE value by using colons and brackets:
inner_instruction:instructions[0]:parsed:info:source
--use colons ':' to select nested fields in JSON structure
--the 'instructions' field contains an array enclosed in brakets [...]
--so we use [0] to access the 1st element in that array
Mission Accomplished! Or is it?...
Again if you run our query in Flipside’s app, you'll see we get 766 rows, and from inspecting the transactions we see yes they are all deposits just like our staking transaction.
We used the SOURCE field to find all Marinade staking transactions! In other words, we decided that all transactions coming from this source must be deposit staking transactions.
But what if a transaction were organized like this?
transaction
  • program 1
    • instruction 1
      • inner instruction 1
      • inner instruction 2 ...source: ‘7GgPYj...’
      • inner instruction 3
Is this a staking deposit transaction? Our query would have missed it because we used [0] to access the first inner instruction, not the second! (Arrays in JSON are ‘zero-indexed’.)
inner_instruction:instructions**[0]**:parsed:info:source
--use colons ':' to select nested fields in JSON structure
--the 'instructions' field contains an array enclosed in brakets [...]
--so we use [0] to access the 1st element in that array
Even though this transaction had a token transfer coming from ‘7GpPYj...’ Solscan labels the instruction as ‘removeLiquidity’ not ‘Deposit’.
So we decide we’re okay, we aren’t missing those transactions, but let’s use a query to make sure:
select
instruction:programId,
inner_instruction:instructions[0]:parsed:info:source,
*
from solana.events
where date_trunc('day', block_timestamp) = '2022-01-21 00:00:00.000'
-- on Solana we *always* add a small date range for query efficiency!
and inner_instruction:instructions[1]:parsed:info:source = '7GgPYjS5Dza89wV6FpZ23kUJRG5vbQ1GM25ezspYFSoE'
order by block_timestamp;
This time we get 88 rows and we check a few more transactions on Solscan like this one and now we have more decisions to make and questions to answer:
This transaction had a token transfer coming from ‘7GpPYj...’ but we don’t see Marinade Finance listed anywhere in the programs... ! What are these other programs? Are they also creating staking transactions?
After more digging and thinking we decided see the first program above doesn’t transfer any mSOL, so it can’t be a deposit, but the second program ‘mRefx8...’ does contain a deposit. It turns out that if we search Github for that program we find evidence it’s connected to Marinade’s Referral Program — aha! We conclude users are in fact making staking deposits into Marinade here, but through the referral program, and we probably should include these in a thorough analysis of Marinade staking deposits.

Conclusion & Takeaways

We successfully found a way to identify all Marinade staking transaction data on Solana!
Again let’s review what we learned:
  1. 1.
    Our goal was to find all Marinade staking transactions in Flipside’s data.
  2. 2.
    We started by participating in Marinade staking and generating a transaction.
  3. 3.
    We found our transaction on Solscan and in Flipside’s solana.events table.
  4. 4.
    We learned that transactions on Solana are organized into programs, instructions, and inner instructions, and this helped us better recognize these data in the JSON of the solana.events table.
  5. 5.
    We used SQL to analyze JSON data, to explore related transactions, and to make decisions about how to identify all Marinade staking transactions.
Let’s acknowledge some important takeaways we can draw from this process:
  • We used the process of participate & analyze to find Marinade Finance staking transactions, but you can use this process to find transactions for any project of your choice on Solana.
  • For analyses in general we may want to analyze some set of transaction behaviors (like Marinade staking transactions), but because Solana transactions are organized into different hierarchies and program/instruction orderings, it takes some detective work and critical thinking to make decisions for your analyses and come up with qualifying criteria (these are great data analyses skills to practice).
  • Throughout this article we limited our explorations to a single day of Solana data for simplicity and query performance. This is because the Solana network’s high throughput generates a LOT of data — you always want to set small date ranges while doing exploratory analyses.
As a final note, we chose the solana.events table because it contains a lot of transaction detail that can power a wide range of analyses. Flipside is excited to offer Solana data to the Solana community and our community analysts, and this means building fast — we’re constantly making improvements and we’re working on more curated tables and labeled data to make your analyses easier. Working with tables like solana.events will help you build a deep understanding of transactions so you can leverage the growing power of Flipside’s Solana data!