The Graph: Make real decentralized applications possible

After nearly 30 years of development, the network has become a ubiquitous coverage communication. In our information age, the way people store, find, manage, and share information directly defines the social structure and life experience of everyone. Today’s network has a client-server architecture, which empowers the people who run the server. Server administrators have unilateral authority to set rules, grant and revoke access rights, and control data, and users usually have no right to speak or awareness.

Information is asymmetric, leading to power imbalances. This structure is conducive to concentration. This is why there are only a few companies running most of the world’s software. In a centralized world, individuals have low agency and ability to operate things. In a world where they cannot change and have no interest, people become passive observers. Monopoly makes it more difficult for individuals to contribute their talents. People get all or all transactions, competition is stifled, and freedom of choice disappears.

The good news is that we may have reached the peak of concentration and the pendulum has begun to swing the opposite way. The sudden rise of cryptocurrencies and related protocols has created a unique opportunity that we can use to shift the balance of power from monopoly to individual sovereignty.

What is The Graph

The Graph is the index and query layer of the Web3 decentralized network, which provides core data infrastructure for Defi and decentralized applications. Developers or anyone can build and publish open data APIs called Subgraphs on our network, and applications can use GraphQL to query these APIs to retrieve data.


1. Web3 protocol stack

Web3 is a platform that can delegate power on a large scale. It is not right to judge which protocols will eventually include Web3, but we believe that certain protocol sets will enable a new wave of decentralized experiences to flourish and replace the way software is built and deployed globally.

Decentralized applications (dApps) enable users to control their data. dApps are built using data owned and managed by the community, or data that is private and controlled by users. In this way, many products and services can be built on pluggable data sets, and users can freely switch between dApps. This will enable millions of developers to thrive individually or in small teams, and provide users with choice and control over how they work.

Storage networks such as Ethereum and IPFS/Filecoin will be the core of this new protocol stack. Anyone can run Ethereum or IPFS nodes to verify basic data. Today, blockchain is slow and costly, but there is reason to believe that performance and cost can be improved by orders of magnitude through new consensus algorithms, sharding, layer 2 and other solutions being studied by teams around the world.

2. Query layer

Although blockchain and storage networks are key components of the stack, data is rarely stored in a format that can be used directly in applications. The application needs to filter, sort, paging, group, and join data before it can get the data. Users don’t like watching the spinner and waiting for the screen to load. If web3 is to catch up, we need to provide an experience that is as good or better than the centralized alternative.

Today, the team is closing the functional gap by building a centralized index server. These servers extract data from Ethereum, store it in a database, and then expose the data through APIs. This is fragile because users need to trust these teams to continue to operate these servers correctly. Projects may exit the business, modify data for strategic reasons, obtain, or simply make mistakes.

This is why we want to create “graph”, which is a decentralized query protocol used to obtain data from the blockchain and storage network. By using Graph, developers can use GraphQL to query the peer-to-peer network of inodes and verify the results on the client. This will allow the team to focus on the core functionality of its dApps. They will be able to deploy to a trustworthy public infrastructure, they will not have to manage and benefit from economies of scale.

If the point of web3 is to create a more reliable foundation for software, Graph will increase this stability to the level where any developer can reliably find and use organized data directly to their dApps.

Where does the graph come from

Our founder, Yaniv Tal, is a serial entrepreneur and passionate about application development and helping people develop programs more easily. He has co-founded a number of startups with The Graph co-founders Brandon and Brandon Ramirez (Jannis Pohlmann), dedicated to providing developers with better tools.

Yaniv Tal was very interested in Bitcoin and the idea of ​​decentralization when he was in college, but when Ethereum started to develop, he felt that he had to participate in it. The team began to build decentralized applications on Ethereum and realized the lack of a decentralized way to index and query blockchain data. The lack of tools and mature protocols makes it difficult to build truly decentralized applications. Therefore, the team decided to focus on helping anyone to participate in the construction of web3. This is the original intention of The Graph.

The Graph’s vision and mission

1. The Graph’s vision

The Crypto currency economy has brought fundamental innovation prospects for future construction and social economic models. Open smart protocols create transparency and opportunities so that anyone can contribute their talents to the global economy.

We hope to support the realization of this vision and help developers build new collaboration mechanisms in the blockchain era.

1. By creating tools that can improve developers’ experience of indexing and querying blockchain data, fully decentralized applications are made possible.

2. Establish a global open API network that is not controlled by the monopolist and maintained by various actual participants/stakeholders.

To achieve these two points, we spent a lot of time thinking about how to build frameworks, tools and economic models to ensure decentralization and improve efficiency.

2. The Graph’s mission

Provide power for decentralized network applications and get rid of data islands.

The Graph hopes to make it possible to run applications that do not require centralized assistance, and to enable anyone to participate in the construction of web3. We believe that decentralization will completely change the way humans cooperate and organize, and tools that empower web3 like The Graph will help more people find their place in the world and make their greatest contribution.

What puzzle will The Graph solve

The Graph will ensure that the data is open and decentralized applications can keep running regardless of the situation. By using The Graph, developers can use GraphQL to query the peer-to-peer network of index nodes and verify the results on the client. This will help other teams to focus on the core functions of decentralized applications. They will be able to deploy protocols to trustworthy public infrastructures that they do not need to worry about, and benefit from economies of scale.

If the purpose of Web3 is to create a more reliable foundation for software, The Graph will increase the stability of this foundation to a level: any developer can safely query and use the collated data in their decentralized applications .

The Graph solves several problems in the world on the chain:

1. dApps need solutions to obtain and transform data from underlying data sources. Blockchain data is difficult to store in a format that can be directly retrieved and used in applications.

2. It is difficult to obtain data directly from the Ethernet node to support web or mobile applications

3. The Web3 stack lacks index and query layers    

Through The Graph, data queries are processed on a decentralized network to ensure the openness of data and the sustainable operation of dApps. The dApps using The Graph will not require centralized services, which means that they will not rely on a single centralized server to reduce the possibility of stopping operation. Users do not need to trust a team to operate the server, and developers can deploy the protocol To a reliable public infrastructure that does not need to spend more time and energy to manage.

The Graph network composition

The Graph network consists of indexers, curators and clients that provide services to the network and provide data for Web3 applications. Consumers use applications and use data.


1. Indexer

Indexers are node operators in the Graph network. They have Graph Tokens (GRT) to provide indexing and query processing services. The indexer earns query fees and indexer rewards for its services. They also follow the Cobbs-Douglas rebate feature to make money from the rebate pool shared by all network contributors in proportion to their work.

2. Curator

The curator is a subgraph developer, data consumer or community member. They save GRT to signal a specific subgraph, instruct which APIs to index, and earn money through the subgraph that signals it Take part of the GRT query fee to incentivize the highest quality data source. Of course, this is slightly more complicated than directly staking to the node. In fact, end users have also participated in the ecology of The Graph through various forms. Like many defi interface data display, the service of The Graph is used.

3. Delegator

A delegate (Delegator) is an individual who delegates rights to the indexer to contribute to the protection of the network without running the graph nodes themselves. By delegating to the indexer, the agent will receive a portion of the query fees and rewards obtained by the indexer. The principal selects the indexer based on the performance of the indicators, which include query rates, past cuts and uptime, and indicator parameters (such as fee reductions and rewards from the indexer).

How The Graph develops collaboratively

Centralized service providers have great unilateral powers to set rules, grant or revoke access rights or control data. Normally, users have no voice or awareness, and the information is asymmetric. In a decentralized blockchain network, it is difficult to store data in a format that is directly used in applications, which makes it difficult and time-consuming to retrieve data, which greatly affects the user experience.

Previously, many teams used centralized index servers to overcome the problem. These servers retrieve data from Ethereum and store it in the database. Open through API, but this approach feels a bit changed back to Web2. Users need to trust these teams to run the server continuously and correctly, modify data for some reason, be acquired, or simply make mistakes, etc. Lead to the termination of the project.

The value of decentralized applications comes from openness, transparency, no access required, and you don’t have to trust a specific company to use, expand, and combine functions.

Both The Graph and Chainlink are key middlewares that make decentralized applications possible. The cooperation of the two parties enables the data indexed in the subgraph to provide Chainlink with more potential data sources. Indexing data and transmitting the data to the smart contract is a natural combination, so that the data is from on-chain to off-chain, and off-chain. There is a better delivery on the chain.

Oracles like Chainlink introduce Web2 data into Web3. For example, the main application is to feed Crypto currency price reference data to decentralized exchanges and lending platforms.

Through the cooperation with The Graph, Chainlink can directly provide key on-chain indicators to the project in almost real time, reducing delays and better shaping the user experience. This provides developers with tools such as powerful and truly decentralized construction using indexed data.

Specific examples include:

1. For example, use subgraphs to classify on-chain liquidity to calculate and cross-compare the slippage of other Dex;

2. Use the subgraph to classify the average fuel cost of each block to calculate the recommended fuel cost;

3. Use subgraphs as APIs to integrate real-world off-chain data into decentralized applications,

4. Such as games, user identities, off-chain financial assets, etc. Synthetix is ​​a good example, it uses Chainlink price list and subgraph indexed data to enhance their exchange user interface experience. Only when decentralized applications improve the user experience to be as good as or better than centralized applications can they have a chance to replace it.

The development process of The Graph

On December 17, at 9 am Pacific time, The Graph network launched its mainnet, which is the first global and easy-to-search blockchain data index. It enables developers to easily search, find, publish and use public data needed to build decentralized applications without relying on centralized servers and proprietary infrastructure.

Graph Network has greatly expanded the accessibility of decentralized applications through public and open APIs (called subgraphs), and these subgraphs are now used by hundreds of applications. 

At present, more than 200 indexers have deployed nodes in the test network, and more than 1,600 people have successfully completed the “curator plan” to learn how to identify high-quality subgraphs. Since June, the usage of hosting services has grown rapidly, from 1 billion monthly queries in November to 10 times that in October. The sub-pictures have been used by top applications such as Curve, Zapper, Uniswap, Decentraland, PoolTogether.

In addition, through the public GRT promotion, the Graph community welcomed more than 4,500 representatives, who can contribute to the network by entrusting their shares to Indexers. Graph community members are currently in more than 100 countries/regions and are still growing.

GRT and smart contracts will be deployed on the Ethereum mainnet. At that time, the indexer will be able to process queries and earn query fees and index rewards. There will be a user interface to pledge coins to the indexer.

GRT will be distributed to fundraising participants when the mainnet goes live, and those who participate in the curator’s plan will also receive the original GRT rewards. The coins obtained from participating in the contribution testnet and the coins of our supporters will begin to be unlocked. During the lock-up period, coins cannot be transferred, but users can use them to participate in pledges.

The focus of the mainnet launch will be to ensure a healthy supply of the inquiry market. As confidence increases, it is expected that the number of participating nodes and pledges will increase. Inquiries will increase organically in the weeks and months of launch. This will require the efforts of the entire community, so we hope and invite the entire Defi and Web3 ecosystem to participate in the development of the network.

Interstellar Horizon Observation

The Graph can be said to be the core tool component and backbone middle-tier infrastructure of Defi and the entire Web3. One of the necessary conditions for the emergence of killer decentralized applications is to provide a user experience that is not worse than or even better than that of centralized applications.

The appearance of The Graph makes it possible. The maturity of Web3 tools and service agreements will attract more outstanding developers and applications to build an ecosystem, and at the same time will accumulate more blockchain data and give birth to more efficient and effective data acquisition. Demand.

We have reason to believe that the entire ecosystem will be more prosperous in the future, and the entire industry will develop in a healthy and stable direction.

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