For infinite number of reasons it might be interesting to access transaction history stored on the Tangle. I tried to do that myself, because I was interested in how many addresses are at risk because of reuse, but right now I'm stuck and I don't know how to move on. Here is what I did so far.

  1. I don't run a full node, so I downloaded the Tangle database from http://iota.partners (step 6. Database)
  2. I studied IRI source code a bit and discovered it's using RocksDB as the database engine, so I created a new java project and referenced RocksJava and IRI.
  3. Struggled for a while how to actually make it work, but I was finally able to read some data from the database. Here is my source code so far (I was just trying to make it work, don't expect any pretty coding here):

    final String databasePath = "d:\\tmp\\mainnetdb\\";
    final List<String> columnFamilyNames = Arrays.asList("transaction", "transaction-metadata", "milestone",
            "stateDiff", "address", "approvee", "bundle", "tag");
    final List<ColumnFamilyDescriptor> myColumnFamilyDescriptors = columnFamilyNames.stream()
            .map((x) -> new ColumnFamilyDescriptor(x.getBytes())).collect(Collectors.toList());
    final List<ColumnFamilyDescriptor> columnFamilyDescriptors = new ArrayList<>();
    columnFamilyDescriptors.add(new ColumnFamilyDescriptor(RocksDB.DEFAULT_COLUMN_FAMILY));
    // a list which will hold the handles for the column families once the db is
    // opened
    final List<ColumnFamilyHandle> columnFamilyHandles = new ArrayList<>();
    try (final DBOptions options = new DBOptions().setCreateIfMissing(false)
            .setCreateMissingColumnFamilies(false)) {
        try (RocksDB db = RocksDB.openReadOnly(options, databasePath, columnFamilyDescriptors,
                columnFamilyHandles)) {
            try {
                for (int f = 0; f < columnFamilyHandles.size(); f++) {
                    ColumnFamilyHandle cfh = columnFamilyHandles.get(f);
                    RocksIterator it = db.newIterator(cfh);
                    int i = 0;
                    for (it.seekToFirst(); it.isValid(); it.next()) {
                    if (f > 0) { // skip default
                        System.out.println(columnFamilyNames.get(f - 1) + ": " + i);
            } finally {
        } finally {
  4. This is supposed to iterate over column families (similar to tables in relational db) and print the number of items in each of them. The output I'm getting is:

    transaction: 19
    transaction-metadata: 22
    milestone: 13661
    stateDiff: 0
    address: 0
    approvee: 0
    bundle: 0
    tag: 0
  5. For the transactions that are actually present, I'm able to call https://github.com/iotaledger/iri/blob/dev/src/main/java/com/iota/iri/model/Transaction.java#L91 to deserialize the byte[] and convert it to usable data, but ...

Why are there so few transactions? The database is around 9-10 GB, so I would expect that to be the entire Tangle history, or am I wrong? Am I missing something here? Or am I accessing the database incorrectly?

PROGRESS: So after checking out the source for Python IOTA library here: https://github.com/mlouielu/iota-python/blob/dev/iotapy/storage/providers/rocksdb.py#L70 (that code is actually not used, but anyway ...) I tried to set merge operators through ColumnFamilyOptions:

    final ColumnFamilyOptions cfo = new ColumnFamilyOptions().setMergeOperatorName("stringappend");

    final List<ColumnFamilyDescriptor> myColumnFamilyDescriptors = columnFamilyNames.stream()
            .map((x) -> new ColumnFamilyDescriptor(x.getBytes(), cfo)).collect(Collectors.toList());

and now it's producing different output for these column families:

address: 19
approvee: 25
bundle: 31
tag: 20
  • AFAIK the database only contains all txs added after the last snapshot. Also, about 375.000 txs have been added to the tangle in the last 1 hour. – Daniel F Dec 19 '17 at 16:44
  • For what it's worth, there is IOTA-Python - A Pure-Python implementation of IOTA node github.com/mlouielu/iota-python which is capable of reading the database file. It has no network support, so I think it can't be really used as a node, but it should allow you to query the database. – Daniel F Dec 19 '17 at 16:46
  • @DanielF But didn't the last snapshot happen a few months ago? Meaning that there should be quite a collection of transactions in the db right now. Where did you get the number of transactions from? That seems quite a lot, all I see on thetangle.org/live and similar sites is around 1 TPS right now. – doji Dec 19 '17 at 17:10
  • I think this is the latest snapshot github.com/iotaledger/iri/tree/dev/src/main/resources so it would be about 2 months old. I have the export option set to true which is writing all txs to disc, one file per tx, and I've counted the files that were generated in the last hour. – Daniel F Dec 19 '17 at 17:15
  • 1
    Man... I found my mistake. The 375.000 were the bytes in the file I pasted that list into... 5823 tx in the last hour. – Daniel F Dec 19 '17 at 18:10

Ok, so after trying to reinvent a wheel for a while I actually discovered this class - https://github.com/iotaledger/iri/blob/dev/src/main/java/com/iota/iri/storage/rocksDB/RocksDBPersistenceProvider.java which provides an abstraction from underlying RocksDB and contains all the settings necessary to access the data in the proper way.

RocksDBPersistenceProvider rocks = 
            new RocksDBPersistenceProvider(databasePath, databasePath + "mainnet.log" /* not sure about this one ??? */, 8192 /* cache size in KB */);


Pair<Indexable, Persistable> txPair = rocks.first(Transaction.class, Hash.class);

Hash hash = (Hash) txPair.low; // transaction id
Transaction tx = (Transaction) txPair.hi; // transaction

// ...

I see no way how to iterate through the entire database with existing API, but I can easily create a copy or use reflection and uncover the underlying RocksDB instance and create an iterator.

Update: Ok, so after trying the mentioned solution with the iteration I got the same results as before (0 transations) ... but at least it was much less work with setting up the database. Nevertheless I tried to do a graph walk using the tx.branch and tx.trunk references and got a org.rocksdb.RocksDBException: Snappy not supported or corrupted Snappy compressed block contents when trying to retrieve a transaction by given hashes. I have no solution for that yet.

One more thing to mention is that when I do rocks.count(Transaction.class) it gives me a reasonable count of 5.5 million records.

Update: So the problem seems to be in the database being compressed using Snappy compression even though the latest IRI versions doesn't use it anymore. I tried to look through github history, particularly at this: https://github.com/iotaledger/iri/blame/dev/src/main/java/com/iota/iri/storage/rocksDB/RocksDBPersistenceProvider.java#L501, but it was there just for a couple of hours before it was commented out.

Also I'm doing this on Windows, don't know if that might be a problem.

Guy here reported similar problem: https://github.com/facebook/rocksdb/issues/1887 - same symptoms as mine.

Snappy, snappy ... you're killing me.

  • Is your goal to map a graph or just to access the individual transaction instances? – Helmar Dec 20 '17 at 18:16
  • @Helmar For me it doesn't really matter, I wanted to access the individual transaction instances first as I thought it would be easier. – doji Dec 20 '17 at 18:46

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