The Graph emerges as a game-changing protocol in the world of blockchain technology, creating a unique intersection of innovation, accessibility, and efficiency. It plays a pivotal role in indexing and querying data from blockchains, creating a conducive environment for diverse decentralized applications (dApps).
This article provides an extensive exploration into the world of The Graph, guiding readers through its conceptualization, functionalities, unique ecosystem, and the challenges it addresses in the blockchain space.
What is The Graph?
The Graph is a Distributed Ledger Technology designed to allow seamless data transmission from one blockchain to another. Additionally, it enables decentralized applications (dApps) to use data from other dApps and transfer data to Ethereum via smart contracts.
The Graph protocol is a platform where multiple projects and blockchains can obtain data necessary for their operational procedures. Until the emergence of The Graph, there wasn’t any other API capable of indexing and arranging data for querying within the crypto domain.
The innovative and advantageous nature of this platform led to its rapid adoption, with billions of queries made within the first year of its launch.
The Graph’s API is secure, easy to use, and cost-efficient. Renowned DeFi platforms like Aragon, DAOstack, AAVE, Balancer, Synthetix, and Uniswap use The Graph for their data requirements. Various dApps are using the public APIs, known as “subgraphs,” while others operate on the mainnet.
Nodes maintain The Graph’s mainnet, creating an environment suitable for both developers and dApps. Meanwhile, other participants such as delegators,indexers, and curators use GRT tokens, The Graph’s native cryptocurrency, to engage in the marketplace.
History of The Graph (GRT)
Yaniv Tal, after experiencing the difficulties in generating new dApps on Ethereum, was inspired to create a decentralized indexing and querying application, which didn’t exist at the time.
His determination led him to several projects targeting developer tools. In the process, Tal teamed up with Jannis Pohlmann and Brandon Ramirez, who shared his vision, resulting in the creation of The Graph in 2018.
After its establishment, The Graph managed to raise $19.5 million during the GRT token sale in 2019. Additionally, in October 2020, public sales garnered over $10 million for The Graph.
The Graph gained significant traction in the crypto sphere when Tal and his team fully launched the protocol in 2020. The mainnet’s launch decentralized dApp use, leading to an increase in subgraph generation.
With the ultimate goal of making Web3 accessible to users, The Graph aims to facilitate dApp creation by eliminating any central authority.
How Does The Graph Work?
The network utilizes a range of blockchain technologies and advanced indexing protocols to ensure efficient data querying. It also relies on GraphQL tech to guarantee that each API contains well-detailed data. The “Graph explorer” is a feature that allows users to quickly scan the subgraphs.
Developers and other network participants create subgraphs for various decentralized apps through open APIs. These APIs also serve as a platform where users can send queries, index, and collect data.
Graph nodes in The Graph scan databases on the blockchain to answer queries sent to the subgraphs.
The network requires payments in GRT tokens from developers or other users that create subgraphs. Once developers index data, they manage it and dictate how the dApps will utilize the data.
The collaboration of indexers, delegators, and Curators maintains the platform’s operation. These participants supply the curating and data indexing that Graph users need and compensate for with GRT tokens.
What problems is The Graph solving?
The Graph offers a decentralized indexing protocol that streamlines the indexing and querying of blockchain data. It also has a community-led governance model, ensuring security and transparency.
By offering a decentralized indexing protocol that automates the process, The Graph tackles the issue of centralized blockchain data indexing and querying. It streamlines the indexing and querying of blockchain data, saving developers time and money.
GRT holders can participate in The Graph Network’s governance through a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO). This approach ensures that developers and contributors make decisions that impact the network using The Graph’s indexing and query solutions, maintaining the network’s decentralization and community-driven nature.
Additionally, The Graph provides security and transparency, which centralized indexes can’t match, as it’s distributed across nodes. Since blockchain data is indexed and searched on a decentralized network, it reduces the opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit the system.
Features of The Graph Ecosystem
The Graph ecosystem operates through various features, including:
Subgraphs: These enable The Graph’s operations, defining the data to be indexed from Ethereum and its storage method. The Graph allows developers to create and publish diverse APIs, which are then aggregated to form subgraphs. Currently, The Graph contains over 2300 subgraphs, with users accessing the subgraph data via the GraphQL API.
Graph Node: These nodes facilitate The Graph’s operations by locating essential information to answer subgraph queries. To achieve this, the nodes scan the blockchain database to select relevant data matching users’ queries.
Subgraph Manifest: Every subgraph in the network has a Subgraph Manifest that describes it and contains critical information about blockchain events, smart contracts, and event data mapping procedures.
GRT: The native token of The Graph is GRT. The network utilizes this token for governance decisions and facilitates the seamless global transfer of value. In The Graph, users receive rewards in GRT. Token holders also enjoy additional rights beyond the rewards they earn. The maximum supply of GRT tokens is 10,000,000,000.
The Foundation: The Graph’s foundation aims to facilitate the network’s global adoption and accelerate its innovation by funding networks and products that use the ecosystem. It offers Grant programs that contributors can apply to for grants. Any project that the Foundation deems exciting and sustainable receives grant allocations and project funds. The Graph funds the Foundation by allocating 1% of all fees on the network to it.
Governance: Currently, the network uses its Council to decide on its future development. However, they plan to adopt a decentralized governance approach soon. The team plans to launch a DAO, allowing Graph users to participate in voting on changes within the ecosystem.
Curators and Indexers: Every indexing function occurring on the protocol is maintained by an indexer node. Thanks to the indexers’ actions, curators can quickly locate the subgraphs containing the information to be indexed.
Arbitrators: Arbitrators on The Graph monitor the Indexers to identify any malicious ones. Once they identify a harmful node, they immediately remove it.
Staking and Delegators: Graph GRT users can stake it to earn passive rewards. Additionally, they can delegate the token to indexers and earn rewards from the nodes.
Fishermen: These nodes in The Graph ensure the accuracy of all responses provided for the users’ queries.
What Makes The Graph Unique?
Unique utility: The Graph allows users easy access to data and information. It facilitates easy access to specific crypto-related information.
Resolving indexing challenges: It operates as the indexing and query layer of the decentralized market, akin to Google’s web indexing. It has a structured network design supported by indexers, who compile various blockchain information from networks like Filecoin and Ethereum. This information is grouped into subgraphs and is accessible to anyone.
Supporting DeFi Projects: The platform is open to DeFi projects like Synthex, UniSwap, and Aave. The Graph has its unique token and also supports major blockchains like Solana, NEAR, Polkadot, and CELO. The Graph operates as a medium, uniting different blockchains and decentralized applications (dApps).
Subgraph features: Network participants and developers use Graph (GRT) tokens to pay for creating and using a subgraph.
How to Use The Graph?
There are primarily two ways to use The Graph service: either by operating your own copy of The Graph node or using the hosted service as a ready-made solution.
Running your Graph instance can offer complete independence from the service, which is ideal as long as the code is open-sourced. However, it can lead to certain inconveniences, as you’ll need to allot additional time for upgrades whenever new features are introduced.
The alternative is to use the hosted service provided by The Graph. This service merges its network of Curators, Delegators, and Indexers who operate within the system to ensure efficient indexing and query processing. Keep in mind, though, using the hosted solution will incur query fees for service providers.
- Start by setting up a necessary tool or software like a Graph Node or Graph Explorer, an interface that allows interaction between users, developers, and The Graph Network.
- Proceed by determining the subgraph you wish to query.
- Once the subgraph is chosen, you can articulate your specific query.
- With the query in place, the Graph Node can now be used to question the selected subgraph. The Graph provides open-source applications which developers can leverage to create and launch subgraphs.
How to buy The Graph Tokens (GRT)?
To acquire The Graph (GRT) tokens, an individual needs to first create an account on a cryptocurrency exchange platform that provides GRT trading pairs, such as OKX or Coinbase. Once the account is funded, the individual can then proceed to search for the GRT trading pair and place an order to purchase GRT tokens.
Upon confirmation of the order, the exchange will carry out the transaction. Should the individual opt for a market order, the transaction will be carried out almost instantaneously at the prevailing market rate.
Conversely, should the individual opt for a limit order, the transaction will only be executed when the market reaches the pre-specified rate. Once the buy order has been satisfied, the GRT tokens will be credited to the individual’s account on the exchange.
To sum up, The Graph is transforming the blockchain landscape by democratizing data access and query, thereby fostering a more connected and efficient decentralized ecosystem. By offering a scalable, secure, and open infrastructure, it empowers developers, users, and contributors to innovate and interact seamlessly.
Additionally, The Graph’s utility token, GRT, forms the backbone of its ecosystem, incentivizing participation and facilitating transactions. As the demand for interoperability and efficient data exchange in the blockchain world continues to grow, the significance of The Graph is set to rise.