Keeping on keeping on - 2022 year in review
A look at the past, present and future of Dune
The eventful year of 2022 is coming to an end.
Inflation is growing, stocks are down, and the crypto bear market has returned. Frauds have been exposed, hype has washed away and easy mode is over.
Nevertheless, I’m proud to say that we’re entering our fifth year of operations, and Dune keeps on keeping on.
Hype, crypto prices and macro conditions always come and go, but at Dune there’s something that never changes: our focus on relentlessly building something useful for the long term.
The important thing is to keep on keeping on no matter what. Here’s a quick recap of Dune’s 2022.
2022 - a big year for Dune
We started 2022 by announcing our Series B, which turned out to be well timed.
A year later I’m proud to say I’m the owner of a real estate empire in the Bahamas........ only kidding...... but we do still have more money than we raised left in the bank.
We started from the bottom and have not forgotten the bear market we were born and raised in. For our first 3 years of operation we burned through a grand total of $660k.
Even after our nice Series B we’ve stayed humble and remained careful with our spending.
This all means that we now have a great foundation to stay alive, thrive, build and keep serving the community for many years to come - independent of the market.
Now let’s turn to what really matters: what did we get done as a company - and a community - this year?
For Dune, 2022 was a year in which we built out important foundations. We kicked off the year by integrating the most challenging blockchain a crypto data product can take on, Solana.
This was the first dataset to launch on our new data platform which we had worked on since the Spring of 2021. This new data platform, Dune Engine v2, is the foundation of a faster and more scalable future for crypto data querying.
On top of it we’ve built out a powerful tool called Spellbook to let the community contribute to and manage datasets. We’ve already seen many Wizards achieve Arch Wizard status by casting spells to the Spellbook. This, together with Dune Engine v2, now enables incredibly convenient cross-chain queries for DEXes, NFTs and beyond.
With the new platform in place we’ve ramped up the integration pace. You can now query 10 different blockchains on Dune with millions of smart contract decoded tables and hundreds of easy to use spells. We’ve also taken the first steps toward enabling the community to bring their own datasets with Flashbots MEV data and Reservoir NFT data!
Making it easy for Wizards to work together is a key priority for us. By launching Dune for teams, we laid the foundation for enhanced collaboration on queries - and you can expect far more collaborative features across all layers of the Dune experience going forward.
In another important move - we launched the first overhaul of our paid offering since we built out the simple Dune Pro MVP almost 3 years ago. Now, with 3 new plans, you can now get more from Dune according to your needs and means. Power users and organizations can now experience incredible performance boosts along with other benefits. It’s important to note that the core experience on Dune will remain free. You can read more about how we think about paid products here.
This year the Dune team has gone from 18 to almost 60 people. Headcount, along with funding, is a common vanity metric for startups. I’m not per se proud of growing our headcount, but rather proud of how much we've achieved relative to our headcount amid also scaling quickly!
While it’s not easily observable from the outside, what really matters is the quality of the team, and I’m both humbled and mind blown by the quality of the Dune team. Our goal will always be to surprise people by how few people are actually building Dune.
Growing the Wizard Community
We’ve also kept busy beyond product and engineering.
Educational efforts have been taken to a whole new level, making it easier than ever for anybody to become a top tier Wizard. With live community sessions and educational programs running non-stop, there has never been a better time for motivated learners to master on-chain analytics.
We’ve also been stepping up our content.
For over a year we’ve sent our weekly newsletter, Dune Digest, jam packed with data driven stories. Almost 5000 people read it every week to stay up to date on the industry and the Wizard community.
Our friend, prolific writer and amazing story teller, Mario, over at the Generalist wrote a long piece about the Dune story and culture.
Wizards have also started doing deeper research and setting the narrative with Uniswap Airdrop Analysis, Network Penetration, NFT Wash Trading and beyond on our blog. We plan to step this up in 2023 and become the home of crypto data citizen journalism.
The absolute highlight of the year though was getting the Wizard community together IRL for the first time ever for DuneCon! 600 Wizards showed up at Funkhaus in Berlin to vibe and geek out over data, dashboards and the crypto industry.
The talks and energy were amazing, and resulted in a mind-blowing NPS score of 82.
Not only did the Dune team keep on keeping on, the community did as well. While crypto markets and products were down 70-90% we kept seeing all time high levels of query and dashboard creation on Dune as recently as November.......
It’s been incredible to see how sticky and long term oriented the Wizard community has been through such a challenging year. I’m so inspired by your persistence.
In 2022, several Wizard rockstar success stories emerged.
Merely a year after creating his Dune profile, Hildobby landed a top job at Dragonfly. New Wizard on the block Kingjames23 made headlines across practically every single mainstream media outlet with his Big Brand NFT revenues dashboard. Not long after he joined RTFKT.
There are many more examples of Wizards who are building not only dashboards, but amazing careers off the back of their hard work on Dune. Even in the bear market curious and relentless Wizards get top tier opportunities. Congrats, it’s so well deserved!
Struggles of 2022
Of course, it hasn’t all been roses.
At the peak this Autumn, we were executing over 10 million SQL queries a month and this year we’ve swallowed 7 figures worth of infrastructure bills for the community. Some of our old systems have both been expensive to run and not set up to handle our crazy growth. Like any other hyper growth startup we’ve had to do some major system upgrades.
Regretfully not all of them went smoothly. It has occasionally been rocky, and the Dune team have spent many sleepless nights putting out fires to get our service back in action. We sincerely apologize to anyone affected and are very glad we now have a much stronger foundation for the future.
November saw the launch of our new paid plans and there’s a lot of work for us to do on these. We’ve spent the last month gathering and structuring feedback from the community.
We’re already looking into improving the plans by making them easier to understand, packing more value into each tier and adding team functionality.
Bring it on 2023
After months in beta we’ve decided that Spark SQL is not the right long term solution for Dune.
In a matter of months we’ve built out and launched the alpha version of a brand new query engine we run end to end: Dune SQL.
Alpha testers are already mind blown by how fast their queries run. While still in an experimental release it’s hard to overstate how excited we are about this new query engine and what it will empower our community to do.
Expect a lot of exciting developments on that front in 2023.
While we’ve built out many important foundations this year, we think 2023 will be the year when the Community really experiences the true power of these foundations. As our engineer Håkon put it:
We’re now in a place where you see the first few towers from the Atlantis city emerge from the sea, and soon the whole city will emerge in all its glory.
Expect major new parts of the city to break the surface already in January - you won’t be disappointed!
Dune was born and raised in the bear market of 2018. We went all-in on making crypto data accessible amid a bleak market sentiment.
In 2020-2022 it was a roaring bull market and everything was up and to the right. The good times are over and we’re back on hard mode - challenge accepted yet again.
We’re excited to keep on keeping on, even through a multi-year bear market. Prices go up and down, but regardless… the data must flow!
Merry Christmas and make sure to get some rest frens!
Dune Co-Founder and CEO