Skip to content


Switch branches/tags


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time


Build status

This is an Erlang application to follow the Helium blockchain and store it in a Postgres database. This ingest service tracks all blocks as they're addded to the blockchain by running a full node and listening for new block events.


To run blockchain-etl, you will need:

  • erlang 22 -- newer versions will not work
  • rust -- we recommend using rustup
  • postgresql + postgis

Optionally you can geocode locations using the Google Maps Geocoding API. Register an API key and update GOOGLE_MAPS_API_KEY=... in your file

Installing Erlang 22 on Ubuntu

sudo dpkg -i erlang-solutions_2.0_all.deb
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt install esl-erlang=1: cmake libsodium-dev libssl-dev build-essential

Developer Usage

  • Clone this repository

  • Create .env file by copying .env.template and editing it to reflect your postgres and other keys and credentials

    Note: In order for resets to work the postgres user specified in the .env file needs to exist and have CREATEDB permissions.

  • Run make release in the top level folder

  • Run make reset to initialize the database and reset the ledger. You will need to run a make reset every time the release notes indicate to do so. This should be very rare. .

    Running a make reset will keep the existing downloaded blocks but replay the ledger so the application can re-play the blocks into the database. Again, only do this when indicated in the release notes since a replay can take a long time.

  • Run make start to start the application. Logs will be at _build/dev/rel/blockchain_etl/log/*.

Once started the application will start syncing the blockchain and loading blocks into the attached database.

You can change the release target (and .env file) using the PROFILE environment variable, which defaults to dev. i.e.:

make start -e PROFILE=testnet


You may see an error similar to the following during initial sync:

{error,"IO error: While open a file for appending: data/blockchain.db/020311.sst: Too many open files"}

Check this Superuser answer for a workaround on macOS and here for some instructions on various Linux distributions.


Schema changes will happen in this repo as we flesh out the corresponding APIs. A schema change may require a make reset to reset the database and associated blockchain ledger. On a reset the blockchain store itself is not affected but the ledger is replayed which allows the application to reload the database.

NOTE: Please refer to the release notes for each release. Unless otherwise indicated you should not do a make reset

Using Docker

Building the Docker Image

docker build -t helium/etl .

Running the Migrations

Be sure to replace with your DATABASE_URL below.

docker run -e DATABASE_URL=postgresql://user:pass@ helium/etl migrations reset

Running the Docker Container

docker run -d --init \
--publish 2154:2154/tcp \
--name etl \
--mount type=bind,source=$HOME/etl_data,target=/var/data \
-e DATABASE_URL=postgresql://user:pass@ \

Updating Docker

Navigate to your copy of the blockchain-etl repository.

cd /path/to/blockchain-etl

Stop the ETL.

docker exec etl blockchain_etl stop

Stop the Docker container.

docker stop etl

Remove the existing Docker container.

docker rm etl

Update the repository.

git pull

Rebuild the Docker image.

docker build -t helium/etl .

Run the updated Docker container.

docker run -d --init \
--publish 2154:2154/tcp \
--name etl \
--mount type=bind,source=/path/to/etl_data,target=/var/data \
-e DATABASE_URL=postgresql://user:pass@ \

Run the migrations.

docker exec etl blockchain_etl migrations run

Start the ETL.

docker exec etl blockchain_etl start

Log the ETL output.

tail -f /path/to/etl_data/log/console.log

Database snapshots

Members of the Decentralized Wireless Alliance capture and publish regular ETL ledger and postgres database backups from the DeWi ETL instance, which can help speed up loading a new instance:

Note that this is offered as-is, without consistency guarantees, and is not endorsed by Helium Inc or the blockchain-etl maintainers. Caveat emptor.

Questions & support

If you have trouble, please ask questions in the #blockchain-development channel on the official Helium Discord rather than filing issues here.