what is snapshot in blockchain

What is Snapshot in Blockchain? A complete Guide

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In the traditional sense, a snapshot is simply the captured state of a computer system at a specific point in time. Taking a photograph is similar to taking a snapshot. At a specific point in time, a person photographs the information on his server. So, what is snapshot in blockchain? A snapshot is frequently used to describe the act of recording the state of a blockchain at a specific block height. Let’s find out in detail what is snapshot in blockchain, how snapshots work, and examples of snapshots.

What is Snapshot in Blockchain? 

A snapshot is a file containing the current state of a blockchain at a specific point in time. A snapshot is a copy of the entire blockchain ledger, including all existing addresses and their associated data, such as transactions, fees, balance, metadata, and so on. It is primarily used to record the amount and balance of token holders.

When a node joins a network, it must download the entire blockchain, beginning with the genesis block and ending with the most recent block generated. Snapshots, on the other hand, enable nodes to catch up with the network by retrieving only the most recent network states. As a result, whenever a fork is created, the blockchain starts with a snapshot.

Snapshots are critical during blockchain hard forks. They indicate the block height at which the main chain will be recorded before issuing a new chain.

What is Snapshot in Blockchain: How Snapshots Work


Taking a snapshot, also known as a storage snapshot, is similar to photographing the data on your server at a specific point in time. Snapshots are not a complete copy of the data on your hard disk; they are mostly metadata that describes the state of your data. They can also only be saved on the local server or device that generated them.

Because live data in application tests, such as when testing a new application or program or experimenting with new settings, can endanger your system, snapshots are commonly used for test/dev. They give you access to an infinite number of clones of your data, allowing you to work on development without interfering with your normal routine. Workflows can be automated, tested, iterated, and decommissioned without consuming a lot of storage space. If an error occurs, you can roll the server back to an earlier point as a quick failsafe.

Snapshots are commonly used in production; in fact, every backup that is created starts with a snapshot.

Full backups, on the other hand, can take hours to complete and must sometimes be completed overnight due to the system resources required. Snapshots, on the other hand, can be created in seconds and as often as required. You can also use technologies like modified block tracking to deduplicate the data being snapshotted (CBT).

In Blockchain

In Blockchain, a snapshot is a record of the state of a blockchain at a specific block height. It captures the entire blockchain ledger, including all existing addresses and the data associated with them.

Examples of Snapshots

To gain traction for their applications, crypto entrepreneurs must first incentivize and market the use of their tokens. In such cases, a snapshot comes in handy. The project developers create criteria to incentivize specific users who share their goals. These are discovered by observing user activity. Let’s take a look at some of the Blockchain activities that involve snapshot events.

Airdrop Events

Before each round of an airdrop event, a snapshot is taken. Tokens are distributed in proportion to the balance of each blockchain address accessible at the time of the snapshot.

Snapshots are used to record the balance of each token holder at a specific point in time. Consumers can frequently transfer their cash after taking their snapshot without jeopardizing their eligibility for that round of payout.

For example, Uniswap‘s airdrop had a very simple criterion: users had to have used the decentralized crypto asset exchange platform before September 1, 2020. On September 1st, 2020, a snapshot was taken, and wallets that had interacted with Uniswap smart contracts before that date were given tokens (eventually) worth $18,000.

Another example was the Optimism Foundation’s airdrop event, which rewarded early adopters and active users of Optimism ecosystem projects. On March 25th, 2022, a snapshot of addresses revealed a total of 248,699 addresses eligible to claim its governance token, OP. Repeat Optimism users received the highest allocation among eligible participants, followed by multi-sig signers, Optimism users, Gitcoin donors, users priced out of Ethereum, and DAO voters with the lowest.

In most cases, a snapshot also allows users to move their funds after they have been taken, without jeopardizing their eligibility to participate in that distribution round.

Hard forks

Snapshots are also important during blockchain hard forks because they indicate the block height at which the main chain will be recorded before the new chain is born. A hard fork is a significant change to a protocol that occurs when a blockchain splits into two blockchains, resulting in the creation of new digital currencies. As a result, snapshots are critical during blockchain hard forks because they indicate the block height at which the main chain will be recorded before the new chain is created.


Token migration refers to the process of transferring a token holder’s balance from one blockchain to another. It is most commonly used during hard forks, in which holders of tokens on the original blockchain are granted tokens on the new blockchain.

For example, when the Bitcoin Cash hard fork occurred (on August 1st, 2017), the balance of every blockchain address that had Bitcoins at block number 478,558 was replicated on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain. This is done to ensure that both blockchains have the same historical data prior to the fork. However, once the split is complete, each blockchain network will operate independently, starting with the most recent block recorded in the snapshot.

what is snapshot in blockchain: Bottom line

We hope that this guide on “What is a Snapshot in Blockchain?” has clarified the various valuable ways snapshots can be leveraged, particularly in blockchain technology. However, because snapshots are only intended to be kept for a limited time, they can result in extremely complicated data chains and lengthy consolidation times if not managed properly.


A snapshot is a file that contains the exact state of a blockchain at a particular time.

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