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Version: Old ArrowSquid docs

ink! contract indexing


This tutorial starts with the substrate squid template and goes through all the necessary changes to index the events of a WASM contract developed with ink!. This approach is taken to illustrate the development process. If you want to start indexing ASAP, consider starting with the ink template that contains the final code of this tutorial:

sqd init <your squid name here> --template ink

Here we will use a simple test ERC20-type token contract deployed to Shibuya at XnrLUQucQvzp5kaaWLG9Q3LbZw5DPwpGn69B5YcywSWVr5w. Our squid will track all the token holders and account balances, together with the historical token transfers.


Subsquid SDK only supports WASM contracts executed by the Contracts pallet natively. The pallet is enabled by the following network runtimes:

  • Astar (a Polkadot parachain)
  • Shibuya (Astar testnet)
  • Shiden (Kusama-cousin of Astar)
  • AlephZero (a standalone Substrate-based chain)

This tutorial uses custom scripts defined in commands.json. The scripts are automatically picked up as sqd sub-commands.


Run the template

Retrieve the substrate template with sqd init:

sqd init ink-tutorial --template substrate
cd ink-tutorial

and run it:

npm ci
sqd build
sqd up
sqd process # should begin to ingest blocks

# open a separate terminal for this next command
sqd serve # should begin listening on port 4350

After this test, shut down both processes with Ctrl-C and proceed.

Define the data schema

The next step is to define the target data entities and their relations at schema.graphql, then use that file to autogenerate TypeORM entity classes.

We track:

  • Wallet balances
  • Token transfers

Our schema definition for modelling this data is straightforward:

# schema.graphql

type Owner @entity {
id: ID!
balance: BigInt! @index

type Transfer @entity {
id: ID!
from: Owner
to: Owner
amount: BigInt! @index
timestamp: DateTime! @index
block: Int!


  • a one-to-many relation between Owner and Transfer;
  • @index decorators for properties that we want to be able to filter the data by.

Next, we generate TypeORM entity classes from the schema with the squid-typeorm-codegen tool. There is a handy sqd script for that:

sqd codegen

The generated entity classes can be found under src/model/generated.

Finally, we create database migrations to match the changed schema. We restore the database to a clean state, then replace any existing migrations with the new one:

sqd down
sqd up
sqd migration:generate


The Contracts pallet stores the contract execution logs (calls and events) in a binary format. The decoding of this data is contract-specific and is done with the help of an ABI file typically published by the contract developer. ABI for ERC20 contracts like the one we're indexing can be found here.

Download that file to the abi folder and install the following two tools from Subsquid SDK:

  • @subsquid/ink-abi -- A performant library for decoding binary ink! contract data.
  • @subsquid/ink-typegen -- A tool for making TypeScript modules for handling contract event and call data based on ABIs of contracts.
npm i @subsquid/ink-abi && npm i @subsquid/ink-typegen --save-dev

Since @subsquid/ink-typegen is only used to generate source files, we install it as a dev dependency.

Generate the contract data handling module by running

npx squid-ink-typegen --abi abi/erc20.json --output src/abi/erc20.ts

The generated src/abi/erc20.ts module defines interfaces to represent WASM data defined in the ABI, as well as functions necessary to decode this data (e.g. the decodeEvent function).

Define the processor object

Subsquid SDK provides users with the SubstrateBatchProcessor class. Its instances connect to chain-specific Subsquid archives to get chain data and apply custom transformations. The indexing begins at the starting block and keeps up with new blocks after reaching the tip.

SubstrateBatchProcessors exposes methods to "subscribe" them to specific data such as Substrate events, extrinsics, storage items etc. The Contracts pallet emits ContractEmitted events wrapping the logs emitted by the WASM contracts. Processor allows one to subscribe to such events emitted by a specific contract.

The processor is instantiated and configured at the src/processor.ts. Here are the changes we need to make there:

  • Change the archive used to shibuya.
  • Remove the addEvent function call, and add addContractsContractEmitted instead, specifying the address of the contract we are interested in. The address should be represented as a hex string, so we need to decode our ss58 address of interest, XnrLUQucQvzp5kaaWLG9Q3LbZw5DPwpGn69B5YcywSWVr5w.

Here is the end result:

import {assertNotNull} from '@subsquid/util-internal'
import {toHex} from '@subsquid/util-internal-hex'
import * as ss58 from '@subsquid/ss58'
import {lookupArchive} from '@subsquid/archive-registry'
import {
Event as _Event,
Call as _Call,
Extrinsic as _Extrinsic
} from '@subsquid/substrate-processor'

export const SS58_NETWORK = 'astar' // used for the ss58 prefix, astar shares it with shibuya

const CONTRACT_ADDRESS_SS58 = 'XnrLUQucQvzp5kaaWLG9Q3LbZw5DPwpGn69B5YcywSWVr5w'
export const CONTRACT_ADDRESS = ss58.codec(SS58_NETWORK).decode(CONTRACT_ADDRESS_SS58)

export const processor = new SubstrateBatchProcessor()
archive: lookupArchive('shibuya', {release: 'ArrowSquid'}),
chain: {
url: assertNotNull(process.env.RPC_ENDPOINT),
rateLimit: 10
contractAddress: [CONTRACT_ADDRESS],
extrinsic: true
block: {
timestamp: true
extrinsic: {
hash: true
// genesis block happens to not have a timestamp, so it's easier
// to start from 1 in cases when the deployment height is unknown
from: 1

export type Fields = SubstrateBatchProcessorFields<typeof processor>
export type Block = BlockHeader<Fields>
export type Event = _Event<Fields>
export type Call = _Call<Fields>
export type Extrinsic = _Extrinsic<Fields>
export type ProcessorContext<Store> = DataHandlerContext<Store, Fields>

Define the batch handler

Once requested, the events can be processed by calling the .run() function that starts generating requests to the Archive for batches of data.

Every time a batch is returned by the Archive, it will trigger the callback function, or batch handler (passed to .run() as second argument). It is in this callback function that all the mapping logic is expressed. This is where chain data decoding should be implemented, and where the code to save processed data on the database should be defined.

Batch handler is typically defined at the squid processor entry point, src/main.ts. Here is one that works for our task:

import {In} from 'typeorm'
import assert from 'assert'

import * as ss58 from '@subsquid/ss58'
import {Store, TypeormDatabase} from '@subsquid/typeorm-store'

import * as erc20 from './abi/erc20'
import {Owner, Transfer} from "./model"
import {
} from './processor' TypeormDatabase({supportHotBlocks: true}), async ctx => {
const txs: TransferRecord[] = getTransferRecords(ctx)

const owners: Map<string, Owner> = await createOwners(ctx, txs)
const transfers: Transfer[] = createTransfers(txs, owners)


interface TransferRecord {
id: string
from?: string
to?: string
amount: bigint
block: number
timestamp: Date
extrinsicHash: string

function getTransferRecords(ctx: ProcessorContext<Store>): TransferRecord[] {
const records: TransferRecord[] = []
for (const block of ctx.blocks) {
assert(block.header.timestamp, `Block ${block.header.height} had no timestamp`)
for (const event of {
if ( === 'Contracts.ContractEmitted' && event.args.contract === CONTRACT_ADDRESS) {
assert(event.extrinsic, `Event ${event} arrived without a parent extrinsic`)
const decodedEvent = erc20.decodeEvent(
if (decodedEvent.__kind === 'Transfer') {
from: decodedEvent.from && ss58.codec(SS58_NETWORK).encode(decodedEvent.from),
to: && ss58.codec(SS58_NETWORK).encode(,
amount: decodedEvent.value,
block: block.header.height,
timestamp: new Date(block.header.timestamp),
extrinsicHash: event.extrinsic.hash
return records

async function createOwners(ctx: ProcessorContext<Store>, txs: TransferRecord[]): Promise<Map<string, Owner>> {
const ownerIds = new Set<string>()
txs.forEach(tx => {
if (tx.from) {
if ( {

const ownersMap = await, {
id: In([...ownerIds])
}).then(owners => {
return new Map( => [, owner]))

return ownersMap

function createTransfers(txs: TransferRecord[], owners: Map<string, Owner>): Transfer[] {
return => {
const transfer = new Transfer({
amount: tx.amount,
block: tx.block,
timestamp: tx.timestamp,
extrinsicHash: tx.extrinsicHash

if (tx.from) {
transfer.from = owners.get(tx.from)
if (transfer.from == null) {
transfer.from = new Owner({id: tx.from, balance: 0n})
owners.set(tx.from, transfer.from)
transfer.from.balance -= tx.amount

if ( { = owners.get(
if ( == null) { = new Owner({id:, balance: 0n})
} += tx.amount

return transfer

The getTransferRecords function generates a list of TransferRecord objects that contain the data we need to fill the models we have defined with our schema. This data is extracted from the events found in the batch context, ctx. We use the in the main body of the batch handler, the arrow function used as the second argument of the .run() function call, to fetch or create Owner instance and create a Transfer instance for every event found in the context.

Finally, these TypeORM entity instances are saved to the database, all in one go. This is done to reduce the number of database queries.


In the getTransferRecords function we loop over the blocks and over the events contained in them, then filter the events with an if. The filtering is redundant when there's only one event type to process but will be needed when the processor is subscribed to multiple ones.

Launch the Project

Launch the processor with

sqd process

This will block the current terminal. In a separate terminal window, launch the GraphQL server:

sqd serve

Visit localhost:4350/graphql to access the GraphiQl console. There you can perform queries such as this one, to find out the account owners with the biggest balances:

query MyQuery {
owners(limit: 10, where: {}, orderBy: balance_DESC) {

Or this other one, looking up the largest transfers:

query MyQuery {
transfers(limit: 10, orderBy: amount_DESC) {
to {
from {

Have fun playing around with queries, after all, it's a playground!