The Graph Network aims to make it easier to build decentralized applications on Ethereum and storage networks like the Interplanetary File System (IPFS) by indexing blockchain data and publishing it to open APIs called subgraphs that anyone can request.
What is Graph?
Graph is an open source decentralized protocol for indexing blockchain data into open and accessible APIs called subgraphs. These subgraphs can be easily found and used by developers to build robust blockchain applications.
Developers can use Graph Explorer to search, research, and publish all the public data (subgraphs) they need to build decentralized applications. Anyone can create and publish subplots filled with data from leading projects in DeFi and the broader Web3 ecosystem.
That being said, Graph allows you to query data that is difficult to query directly.
An example of a “subgraph” of indexed blockchain data:
There are many blockchain data that can be indexed in a subgraph. It can be data from decentralized applications such as the popular CryptoKitties DAPP, the widely used Uniswap DAPP, or any other Defi, game, or the widespread Web3 DAPP.
Let’s take a look at the data that can be indexed into subgraphs from CryptoKitties.
Someone building a decentralized application that requires data from CryptoKitties might ask the following questions:
- How many CryptoKitties does a specific Ethereum account own?
- When was a particular CryptoKitty born?
- Who are the owners of CryptoKitties born between January and February 2018?
To answer these questions in a timely manner, this data must be compiled and indexed into subgraphs that have subgraph descriptions known as a subgraph manifest. The subgraph manifest defines the following:
- Smart contracts of interest to subgraph
- Events in these contracts to watch out for
- How to correlate event data with data that The Graph will store in its database
Once the blockchain data is indexed, it can be queried using the standard GraphQL API and stored in GraphCLI for developers to access.
This diagram gives a visualization of the data flow after expanding the subgraph:
I know this all sounds complicated … because it is. So let me just tell you:
Graph is a protocol for indexing, storing and processing blockchain data. It simply makes data requests to the blockchain fast, reliable, and secure to make it easier for developers to build next-tier decentralized applications.
Who created Graph and when?
The Graph was founded by Yaniv Tal, Yannis Polman and Brand Ramirez in January 2018. Prior to founding The Graph, Tal, Polman, and Ramirez worked together on several startups and spent a lot of time thinking about how to build software faster.
They built frameworks, developer tools, and infrastructure to make app development more productive, and in early 2017 they delved deeper into Ethereum. After discovering Ethereum, the entrepreneur co-founders realized that Ethereum’s tools and the lack of mature protocols made it difficult to build decentralized applications.
Realizing this, they decided to do something about it, and The Graph appeared.
Yaniv Tal, co-founder and project manager at The Graph, has a background in engineering and has previously founded two technology startups; TapSavvy and Workflo Inc. He has also worked as a Partner and Software Engineer at Functional Foundry, Chief Software Engineer at MuleSoft, Firmware Specialist at HP and other roles.
Yannis Polman, co-founder and technical lead of The Graph, also has engineering and computer science background, worked as a senior software developer and architect at Codethink Limited, software engineer at Workflo Inc, and an external consultant at Functional Foundry.
Brandom Ramirez, co-founder and head of research at The Graph, also has engineering background and has worked in many of the same companies and startups as Yaniv Tal and Yannis Polman.
What is the GRT token used for?
The Graph Network’s native token is GRT, which is used to power a decentralized network of Graph indexers, curators, and delegators who work together to organize the world’s blockchain data to better serve decentralized applications and developers.
GRT’s total initial offering is $ 10 billion with an issuance schedule starting at 3% per annum. GRT also burns tokens, which is expected to be ~ 1% request fee plus all deposit taxes.
However, the maximum supply of GRT tokens is 10 billion + new issue – burning.
Use cases for GRT
Indexers. These are the node operators in the Graph network. To become an indexer, you must supply GRT to provide indexing and query processing services.
Indexers are paid for inquiries and rewarded for their services. Rewards are paid by issuing a new GRT token, which is distributed in proportion to the Curator’s signal and the allocated rate.
Curators. Curators can be subgraph developers, data consumers, or community members who signal to indexers which APIs should be indexed by The Graph Network.
Curators signal a specific subgraph by putting GRT into the binding curve and then earn a fraction of the request fee for the subgraphs they signal on. This system drives the highest quality data sources and is supported by the Graph Explorer dApp.
Delegators. These are people who want to contribute to the security of the network, but do not have the experience, equipment, or resources to run Graph Node on their own. They simply delegate the GRT to the existing indexers and receive in return a portion of the query fees and indexing fees.
Delegates select indexers based on their performance metrics such as request commission rates, uptime history, downsizing history, and delegation options such as fee reductions and indexer rewards.
Consumers. Consumers, probably developers or projects, are the end users of The Graph. They request subgraphs and pay commission for requests to indexers, curators, and delegates.
In a sense, developers who pay for requests for their decentralized applications can be compared to developers who pay for AWS or cloud services to host their applications. However, some decentralized applications may choose to bundle costs into product fees, or to pass request fees to users directly through “gateways” or wallets that will be built on open source contracts on the Graph network.
What’s the main product of The Graph?
Graph’s main product is its decentralized protocol for indexing and querying data from blockchains. Its mission is to provide Internet applications that are fully supported by public infrastructure through full decentralization.
In a sense, The Graph can be thought of as a service similar to Google, but for blockchains. For example, just like Google indexes the internet, The Graph indexes blockchain data from networks like Ethereum or Filecoin. It then groups this data into public APIs called subgraphs and makes it available to anyone who can request.
At the same time, The Graph allows developers to create fully decentralized applications (dapps) not only at the protocol level, but also at the data, storage and computation level. This is in contrast to most decentralized applications, which only accept the decentralized model at the bottom level of the blockchain stack.
Graph decentralizes the entire stack, making applications resilient to business disruption, rent seeking, and unprecedented levels of interaction.
Instead of paying and relying on a centralized business to store, compute, and manage the data needed to run an application, users and developers can use Graph to enable decentralization and know that the software they are investing time and money in cannot. disappear suddenly.
Who uses Graph solutions?
Many leading projects in the DeFi and Web3 ecosystem use The Graph solutions, most of which only started using it in 2020. When The Graph started the year, it only had 1000 sub-graphs deployed, and has since grown to over 3400 sub-graphs, including Uniswap, Synthetix, Decentraland, PoolTogether, Aragon, AAVE, and more.
- Uniswap – historical data and analytics for Uniswap V2;
- Synthetix – data on Synthetix contracts (trading volume, assets and balances, etc.);
- Decentraland – Marketplace data such as land, accessories, collectibles, etc.
- PoolTogether – records data for the PoolTogether win-win lottery;
- Aragon – data for optimistic DAOs, data for voting on Aragon connectivity, etc.
- Aave – data for Aave contracts, trading history, liquidity.
The examples above of someone using The Graph to publish their data to subgraphs, making it immediately available for queries using GraphQL are just the tip of the iceberg.
In the second half of 2020, The Graph grew 10x from 1 billion requests per month to over 10 billion requests, averaging over 350 million requests per day.
This growth is unprecedented in the blockchain space and is in fact very reminiscent of Chainlink and its parabolic trend of partnership and integration.
Major sponsors of The Graph
Graph is backed by 16 leading blockchain and cryptocurrency companies and investors.
Some of the more famous sponsors:
Coinbase Ventures – an investment firm that invests in early-stage companies and teams that build an open financial system.
Digital Currency Group (DCG) – a well-known investment company that invests in companies, teams and projects in the blockchain industry. DCG is committed to accelerating the development of a better financial system.
CoinFund – an investment company that seeks to actively shape the global transition to digital assets and decentralization technologies.
Where to store the GRT token?
Graph (GRT) is an ERC-20 token built on the public Ethereum blockchain, you can store GRT in any wallet that supports ERC-20 tokens.
However, the best GRT storage wallets are the non-storage Web3 wallets that provide seamless access to the best DeFi apps like Uniswap, Balancer, PoolTogether, etc.
However, DeFi wallets are best suited for storing GRT because the token is widely used and supported in the Ethereum-DeFi ecosystem.