The Graph Report by Jesse

Welcome to another week of Bitcoin all-time highs. Get used to hearing it, because I’m not going to stop saying it. With the vacation break, some might have expected the markets to cool off. But, Bitcoin ain’t got time for that… Dollar-cost averaging into Bitcoin over the past years has been great. But, for all that live and breathe crypto every day, we’re still waiting for the retail investment party to start. That crazy, mind-numbing sick gains altcoin party! With some amazing projects added to your radar already this year, it’s time to introduce a new project that recently rolled out mainnet, and immediately hit the ground running. With this week’s review of the highly anticipated project, The Graph.

Introduction

The Graph is focused on creating an indexing protocol for querying networks like Ethereum and IPFS (InterPlanetary File Systems). A decentralized network where anyone can build and publish open APIs, called sub-graphs, to make data more accessible. These subgraphs can then be composed into a global graph of all the world’s public information. Data can be transformed, organized, and shared across many applications for anyone to query with a few simple inputs. The Graph learns what, and how to index Ethereum data based on subgraph descriptions, known as the subgraph manifest. The subgraph manifest defines the smart contracts of interest for a subgraph, the events in those contracts to report, and how to map this event data to record information that The Graph will then store in its database. This database is then made accessible to everyone on the Ethereum network. Once a user has written a subgraph manifest, anyone can use the Graph CLI (Command-Line Interface) to access stored manifest definitions in IPFS. Utilizing the interface and telling the hosted service to start indexing data for that specific subgraph. This allows anyone to set a defined real-time measurement of anything happening in a dApp through a system of simple query-based transactions.

DApps are requiring higher and higher amounts of data to interact with users and operate base functions. As each transaction creates events between the user and dApp contract, functions of dApps are beginning to slow down due to lag. To help solve these issues, The Graph Node is always scanning Ethereum for new blocks of data defined by the subgraph parameters. The Graph Node then finds Ethereum events for your subgraph in these blocks and runs the mapping handlers you provided. The mapping is done using a WASM (WebAssembly) module that modifies data entities that The Graph Node stores in response to Ethereum events. DApps can query The Graph Node for data indexed from the blockchain, using the node’s GraphQL endpoint. The Graph Node in turn translates the GraphQL queries into queries for its underlying data in order to fetch this data, making use of the store’s indexing capabilities. The decentralized application then displays this data for end-users, which they can use to issue new transactions on Ethereum. If you don’t have an account on Graph Explorer, you can signup with GitHub. Once you create an account, you can start creating subgraphs through the UI, and deploying them from your terminal. The Graph Node supports many Ethereum testnets including Rinkeby, Ropsten, Goerli, PoA-Core, xDAI, Sokol, and Kovan in addition to mainnet. Once a subgraph is created, the name cannot be changed. So make sure that before you create your subgraph, you’ve already thought of something that is searchable and identifiable by other dApps. Before The Graphs development, teams had to develop and operate proprietary indexing servers. This required significant engineering and hardware resources and broke the important security properties required for decentralization. As tech giants control all aspects of development, this has been an ongoing issue for developing impressive technology over the past decade. With The Graph, all data stored and processed is instead on open networks, giving it verifiable integrity. The Graph makes querying this data fast, reliable, and secure enough to incorporate encrypted data functions into future updates. By combining Web3 protocols like The Graph, developers can build dApps with powerful new features for solving many areas of growth within the blockchain ecosystem. By utilizing a marketplace of service providers, The Graph ensures that data remains open and that dApps continue to run no matter the circumstances.

To ensure the economic security of The Graph Network and the integrity of data being queried, participants stake and use GRT (Graph Tokens), a work token used to allocate resources in the network. Active Indexers, Curators, and Delegators work together to provide services and earn income from the network proportional to the amount of work they perform, and their GRT stake. Indexers are node operators that stake GRT to provide indexing and query processing services. Indexers earn query fees and indexer rewards for their services. They also earn from a Rebate Pool that is shared with all network contributors proportional to their work. Curators are subgraph developers, data consumers, or community members who signal to Indexers which subgraphs (APIs) should be indexed by The Graph Network. Curators deposit GRT into a bonding curve to signal on a specific subgraph and earn a part of query fees for the subgraphs they signal on, incentivizing the highest quality data sources. Curators use their knowledge of the Web3 ecosystem to assess which subgraphs are of high quality. For example, if you know which applications are most used, which data sources are most trusted, and which communities are growing, you can gather yourself which subgraphs will be of the highest quality. Delegators are individuals who delegate staking power to Indexers and contribute to securing the network without running a Graph Node themselves. By delegating to Indexers, Delegators earn a part of query fees and rewards earned by that Indexer. Delegators select Indexers based on their performance measures like query fee rates, past slashing, and uptime as well as delegator parameters like the cut of fees and rewards from the Indexer. Unlike Indexers and Curators, Delegators cannot be kicked for bad behavior. But, there is a deposit tax on Delegators to disincentivize poor decision making that could harm the integrity of the network.

The Token

The Graph released its ERC-20 GRT token to Binance on December 16th of this year. While not as prestigious a listing as it once was. It’s worth observing that GRT is one of only five coins Binance has decided to list in December 2020. Subsequently, GRT was listed in tandem on Coinbase as well. With a total supply of 10B GRT, only 1.2B GRT has been released into circulation so far and new token issuance in the form of indexing rewards began at 3% annually. The Graph conducted its token sale off their website where each GRT was sold at 0.00008 ETH ($0.03 USD). Only pre-registered KYC applicants were able to take part in the sale for a minimum purchase amount of $1,000 USD and a maximum purchase amount of $5,000 USD. Of which 400M GRT was sold during two phases in October of 2020 raising a total of $12M USD. The remaining GRT that makes up the 1.2B circulating supply was purchased from two previous funding rounds. The first of which is a $2.4M USD seed round that transpired almost two years ago back in February of 2019. The second private funding round raised $5.1M USD in June of 2020. These supporters are long term oriented and have lockups ranging from 6 months to 2 years. These early backers are also able to stake and delegate their tokens before they’re full unlock period. Of the total supply 3% is allocated for Testnet Indexer Rewards and Curator Program Grants, 34% for Early Backers, 20% to The Graph Foundation, 6% Public Sale, 23% Team and Advisors, 8% allocated to Edge & Node Ventures, 3% for Bug Bounty and Educational Programs, with the final 3% for new GRT issued as indexing rewards to Indexers. With an expected burn rate of around 1% of all query fees and deposit taxes.

The Founders

The Graph was founded as a private for-profit company in 2018 by Engineers Brandon Ramirez, Jannis Pohlmann, and Yaniv Tal after realizing the massive potential to build an open endpoint using the Ethereum network. After 18 months of protocol research and design, in November 2019, they shifted focus completely to decentralization with the publication of The Graph Network In Depth. Detailing further the need for full-stack decentralization utilizing Ethereum. Building from that initial concept the team built a large group of like-minded individuals to help The Graph reach its goals. With Lead of Operations Rodrigo Coelho, UI Engineer Jeff Scott Ward, Business Lead Tegan Kline, Creative Director Carl Hagerling, Director Eva Beylin, Product Lead Nena Djaja, Researchers Jackson Blazensky, and David Kajpust, Community Manager Zunielis Manaure G., Contract Lead Ariel Barmat, with Software Engineers Leonardo Yvens Schwarzstein, David Lutterkort, and Ford Nickels.

Early backers of the project include South Park Commons, Reciprocal Ventures, Multicoin Capital, Kilowatt Capital LLC, DTC Capital, Compound aka Metaphoric Ventures, CoinFund, Lemniscap, Digital Currency Group, Framework Ventures, AU21 Capital, and Coinbase Ventures explaining the rare day one listing of The Graph token.

Market Impacts

Coming to market a few weeks ago, the GRT token started receiving massive amounts of liquidity right from the get-go. Sharing between two of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, the token has received over $12B USD in volume in a few short weeks. Listing around $0.10 USD, GRT rose to $0.75 USD in just a few days. Rewarding early entries with amazing 7x gains in less than 100 hours of investing. With profits to be taken, the price has steadily declined to float around the $0.40 USD range where it continues to fluctuate currently. Gaining a market cap of $450M USD, The Graph already sits just outside the top fifty crypto currencies. Applications like Uniswap, Synthetix, Gnosis, AAVE, Aragon, Moloch, Decentraland, and many more are already being powered by The Graph’s hosted service today. The Graph’s product-market fit has been remarkable with more than 3,000 subgraphs deployed, thousands of developers, and over 300 million queries processed per day. Contract addresses holding GRT tokens have also increased by an average of 2% per day. With The Graph also updating the projects GitHub on an almost daily basis, the community surrounding it has grown exponentially as well. Having almost 36k Twitter followers, 19K Telegram users, and over 2k Discord participants. There’s hardly a moment without interaction happening, especially with all the momentum building up for years to culminate everything happening this month.

Concerns

The Graph appears to be a very fleshed out piece of software from a non-developers perspective like myself. This is why I highly depend on third-party auditing agencies to verify a project’s database. Unfortunately, no audit of The Graphs codebase has been conducted at the time of writing. With the ongoing buy bounty program being the only means of testing the safety and security of the project codebase.

Conclusion

Well, “it’s about damn time” is what I’d like to say about The Graph project. While it has been a long and tedious process, somewhat quietly developing since 2017. I can only imagine all those community members who joined early on without any solid information to be found until a few months ago. This has paid off very well for those with the patience to keep waiting another year. We’ve all seen how developing indexing products have treated those in the legacy system so well. From every insurance aggregating software that gives you the best local rates from dozens of car insurance carriers at once. Too well-known sites like Trivago and Expedia saving users countless hours of time and money every day. This indexing model is much needed for our decentralized economy’s future versatility and growth. Allowing both users and developers to easily solve some of the more trivial problems that occur when building in a decentralized atmosphere. From simple subgraphs to more intricate ones, there’s no doubt The Graph will open up new development opportunities in gaming, defi, and marketplace development in the years to come.

Until next time, remember that the only guarantee is BTC. So keep stacking that Satoshi.

-Jesse Koz

#MrHarrilasagna

Follow Jesse on Twitter

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