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What is The Graph (GRT)?

Explore the Graph (GRT), the decentralised indexing protocol powering Web3. Learn about its features, use cases, and potential impact.

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The Graph is making the process of interacting with blockchains much simpler by streamlining the building of new apps and the process of tracking valuable data, powering the growth of DeFi and Web3 platforms. The platform allows developers to provide improved user experience across the board, as opposed to having to create custom back-end infrastructure for each application.

The Graph indexes blockchain data in a unique and decentralised way which allows for the seamless querying and retrieving of data that is easily accessible and can be adopted by many. The platform's contribution to the global DeFi and Web3 infrastructure will be felt in years to come.

What is The Graph?

The Graph is a unique decentralised protocol that utilises DLT (decentralised ledger technology) and the powerful GraphQL programming language to enable blockchain data collection without relying on third parties. The cutting-edge technology makes it simpler than ever before to index, organise, and query blockchain data information with impressive accuracy and speed.

The Graph provides indexing and querying services that are compatible with networks like Ethereum, IPFS and PAO, with more to come in the future. The infrastructure can then organise data through the hosted service and implement automated workflow processes through open APIs, called subgraphs in The Graph ecosystem.

This indexing protocol resolves the issue of querying data security, chain reorganisation, and other related matters with the subgraphs.

The launch of The Graph mainnet marked a milestone in creating entirely decentralised applications compatible with an expansive network of service providers. With these open public subgraphs, developers can now build thousands of dapps on the network, with hundreds already hosted by The Graph mainnet. This allows for secure blockchain data access making the world far more connected than ever before.

The Graph (GRT) successfully raised $12 million from a public token sale and an additional $7.5 million from a private round funded by Coinbase Ventures, Digital Currency Group, and Framework Ventures including Multicoin Capital's investment of $2.5 million.

How is The Graph network secured?

The Graph mainnet is powered by nodes, while indexers, curators, delegators, and consumers use GRT tokens to ensure the integrity of the data secured within the network. GRT is The Graph network's native cryptocurrency which helps to assign resources within its ecosystem. All network participants are required to stake GRT in order to perform their roles, and in return can earn fees from the network.

The Graph Foundation offers the network participants coordination and support while steering and growing the ecosystem. The foundation is financially and legally accountable to The Graph Council, which oversees governance decisions.

Who created The Graph platform?

Driven by his firsthand experience of how hard it is to create new dapps on Ethereum, Yaniv Tal joined forces with Brandon Ramirez and Jannis Pohlmann in 2018 to form The Graph team. The Graph aims were to design the world's first decentralised indexing and querying application that could make Web3 and dapp creation accessible to anyone. This vision included the ability to build immutable APIs with the GraphQP query language. 

The three co-founders previously launched a developer tools startup together sharing a common interest in optimising API stacks. All with engineering backgrounds, Yaniv Tal acts as project lead, Brandon Ramirez is the research lead and Jannis Pohlmann is the tech lead.

The Graph launched on December 17, 2020.

How does The Graph protocol work?

By leveraging the Graph Protocol, developers and users can open APIs to build subgraphs for a variety of applications. In April 2021 alone, The Graph’s hosted service managed 20 billion queries - further demonstrating its power in data indexing, querying data, and its collection of data.

The Graph node sustains the whole system, scanning through the blockchain database to organise and index data. The platform's structure is centred around delegators, indexes, curators, and consumers, who use GRT tokens to participate in the network. 

Indexers - Graph node operators

With staked GRT, indexers can provide querying and indexing services to the network, earning query fees and rewards for their efforts. They are also responsible for running node software providing a vital part of The Graph ecosystem that grants access to data stored on Ethereum or other supported networks at lightning speed. Indexers are the most technical positions within the ecosystem.

Curators - identity blockchain data sources

Curators are responsible for developing subgraphs (open APIs are called subgraphs on the network) and signalling to indexers which ones should be indexed by the network. They also identify the most reliable data sources using their knowledge of the blockchain ecosystem, consumers and apps.

To incentivise the quality of their data sourcing, curators are required to deposit GRT into a bonding curve on specific existing subgraphs, earning a portion of the query fees for the subgraphs they signal on. The earlier a curator signals on a subgraph the higher the share of query fees they earn, depending on the amount of GRT deposited. 

Curators are semi-technical positions within the ecosystem as they require an understanding of open data. As an example, say a new DeFi subgraph appears and a curator thinks it looks promising. They can signal on the subgraph so that indexers recognize its potential and make it discoverable for dapp developers. In return, curators receive a portion of query fees for being among the first to spot it.

Delegators - securing the network

Delegators are non-technical contributors to the network and are responsible for securing the network without running a node. They select indexers based on performance metrics and delegate GRT to indexers via the Graph Explorer dapp, earning a portion of the query fees and indexing rewards in return. 

Consumers - end-users

Consumers are the end-users of The Graph and are the ones who query subgraphs and pay fees to indexers, curators, and delegators for their services. These query fees are paid through gateways or wallets that are built on top of the open-source contracts on the network. 

What is GRT on The Graph network?

The Graph (GRT) is an ERC-20 token and the native token to The Graph network. The coin is integral to the reward system created to benefit indexers, curators, and delegators, which incentives them to improve the market and network operations. 

Delegators can delegate their GRT holdings to Indexers, who use locked GRT to power the nodes on The Graph network. Curators receive a reward in the form of GRT for providing curation services and consumers pay using GRT to access indexing services. Additionally, unlocking dapps available through The Graph network as well as interoperable networks is done by using GRT tokens. 

Participants of the network earn money by receiving The Graph GRT tokens, which have a market value when traded on the cryptocurrency market.

10 billion GRT were created when the project launched, with an annual issuance rate of 3% for indexing rewards. The platform then burns the withdrawal tax that curators are charged as well as 1% of the total query fees. All issuance formalities are subject to future technical governance. At the time of writing, the current circulating supply of GRT was 6,9 billion. 

To accumulate GRT tokens, users will need to make use of a cryptocurrency exchange. Ensure that the one you use has been vetted and holds the necessary licenses. 


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