Author: changehero
March 18, 2022

Web3, or Web 3.0, is a vision of a decentralized global Web but many projects that build on this premise still utilize centralized services. The Graph intends to provide a solution for decentralizing indexing databases and blockchain data fetching. What is The Graph doing to achieve this and why does it need a utility token […]

What is The Graph (GRT)? A Beginner’s Guide

Web3, or Web 3.0, is a vision of a decentralized global Web but many projects that build on this premise still utilize centralized services. The Graph intends to provide a solution for decentralizing indexing databases and blockchain data fetching. What is The Graph doing to achieve this and why does it need a utility token — explained in this guide.

Key Takeaways

  • The Graph is an answer to the problem of centralized data indexing. They propose a solution in a form of subgraphs, open source programming interfaces for blockchain data;
  • To maintain consensus and ensure protocol participants behave fairly, The Graph uses a native token GRT;
  • The Graph’s mainnet was launched in late 2020. Popular applications that built a subgraph include Uniswap and Audius.

What is The Graph?

Most applications on the Web do not exist in a vacuum and use data, interfaces and features from other sources, sites and apps. Same goes for the Web3, but in addition to the blockchain interoperability problem there is also pervasiveness of centralized services, legacy of the Web2.0.
The Graph offers an answer to both of these problems: instead of having to set up a centralized server or database, its users can plug into the subgraphs to query data.

Subgraphs

What is The Graph’s solution, a subgraph? It is an open API which exists in The Graph ecosystem, that can automatically perform processes like a normal API.
For instance, a Uniswap subgraph can be used to query trade volumes and is integratable in applications, such as wallets.

How Does It Work?

The Graph is powered by an open data layer Ethereum. To extract and read the blockchain data, subgraphs abstract interacting with Ethereum’s JSON-RPC API.
Pulling data from the blockchain directly and not from an in-house indexing database significantly increases the application loading speed and eliminates a single point of failure.
All subgraphs are open-source and written in GraphQL, a common language for Web2.0 apps. It makes the subgraphs open, accessible and easy to work with.

Roles

There are four major roles in The Graph network:

  • Indexers who operate the nodes, query processing and indexing. They stake GRT tokens to maintain the network consensus;
  • Curators maintain and assess the reliability of sources that indexers use, for a portion of query fees in GRT;
  • Delegators that provide indexers with their share for running full nodes in return for a cut from the rewards;
  • Consumers, end users and devs who utilize the services of Indexers, Curators and Delegators.

History and Team behind The Graph

Like many Web3 projects, The Graph was established by an experienced team which has experience from the Ethereum Foundation, Decentraland, Orchid and other platforms.
The Graph was founded by a team of three, Yaniv Tal, Brandon Ramirez and Jannis Pohlmann.
Tal and Ramirez studied electrical engineering at USC and worked together at MuleSoft, an API developer tools company that underwent an IPO and was sold to SalesForce.
The Graph was first unveiled to the public in June 2018. To fund The Graph’s mainnet launch in December 2020, a private and public token sale was held in June and October 2020.

What is The Graph crypto, GRT?

To provide a monetary incentive to maintainers of The Graph, the protocol has its own cryptocurrency token, GRT. For the layer on Ethereum, GRT is an ERC20 token.
Protocol participants — indexers, curators and delegators — lock up GRT in the protocol. Indexers receive a cut from the fees for queries they help process, and curators earn from referring traffic to a subgraph of their choice.
Delegators and consumers also make use of GRT by paying indexers for their metered usage.
At launch, the total supply of GRT was 10 billion tokens, and a 3% inflation started with the indexing rewards. The current liquid supply is 6.7 billion.
GRT was sold to venture capitals and other backers in 2020 for $0.03. The seed rounds were led by Multicoin Capital, Digital Currency Group and Coinbase Ventures.
At the moment of writing, the GRT token is worth $0.4103 and ranks 56th by market capitalization on CoinMarketCap.

How to use GRT?

GRT is a utility token on The Graph platform. It is mostly necessary for maintaining consensus and ensuring all protocol participants behave fairly.
Active Indexers, Curators, and Delegators can earn income from the network proportional to the amount of work they perform and their GRT stake.
Indexers stake GRT to participate in the network and earn fees as well as inflation rewards for serving queries.

Comparison with Similar Projects

The Graph intends to take the same niche in Web3 that is occupied in Web2 by Amazon Redshift. What is The Graph’s competition in Web3 currently?
For on-chain data, devs tend to use Dune Analytics, Glassnode and Nansen. Unlike these services, The Graph is decentralized and provides better uptime.
The Graph subgraphs do the same for blockchain data as Chainlink oracles do for the real-world data. The Graph takes on-chain data and distributes it to on-chain and off-chain claimants.

What is The Graph Criticized For?

Despite the claims, at the time The Graph is not exactly safe from halts and network problems. In September 2020, the Uniswap subgraph became stuck because of an issue with a hosted service.
The subgraph was not responding for several hours until the node client hotfix was ready and deployed by third-party developers and users. By now, there is a more robust network of indexers to eliminate such points of failure.
Developers also report problems with migration of subgraphs. After all, there are still many things to work out before The Graph works consistently.
Other users wish the communication from the development team was clearer. In addition to developers building with The Graph, there are a plethora of non-savvy users who bought in because they believe in the project’s potential.

Partnerships and Future Plans

The Graph’s adoption largely depends on who builds with the substack. Subgraphs are open to everyone, so the range of applications that can use them is unlimited.
Ethereum subgraphs exist for Audius, Uniswap, Ethereum Name Service, Synthetix and others.
There are also a number of VCs backing The Graph: in addition to DCG, Coinbase Ventures and Multicoin Capital, they also include Tally Capital, CoinFund (US) and DT Capital Partners (China).
For a project so strongly oriented into the future, it is surprising that it doesn’t have an official roadmap. The best way to learn about the upcoming features would be to attend monthly dev meetings, one can also follow the community forums.

The Graph on Social Media


The outlook is nice for GRT, according to technical analysis. Users who are bullish on it predict $2 or even $3 as soon as this week.


Meanwhile, other blockchain and Web3 enthusiasts register positive network growth for The Graph.


Not only retail investors take a liking to GRT. Ethereum whales also seem to turn around a large amount of these tokens.

How to Store GRT?

Many multi-coin wallets support The Graph, as it is an ERC20 token. The most popular picks for ERC20 tokens exclusively are MEW and MetaMask.
The Graph tokens (on Ethereum and Solana) are supported by a multi-currency wallet Exodus, in which you can seamlessly exchange it to other altcoins with ChangeHero. For safer storage, pick a hardware wallet, for example, Trezor Model T.

How to Exchange GRT on ChangeHero?

If you have cryptocurrency, you can easily swap it for GRT on ChangeHero. Please note that we support only ERC20 GRT.
It only takes five steps:

  1. Choose the currencies on the home page, amounts and the type of exchange. Provide your wallet address in the next step and check the amounts;
  2. Double-check the provided information, read and accept the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy;
  3. Send in a single transaction the sum of cryptocurrency you will be exchanging. Fixed Rate transactions have a 15-minute limit;
  4. And now, relax! We are doing all the work: checking the incoming transaction and doing the exchange as soon as it arrives;
  5. As soon as the exchange has been processed, your GRT are on the way to your wallet. We’ll be happy to hear your feedback if you enjoyed using ChangeHero.

Our support team is always available in chat widget on the website, official Telegram group or through the email: [email protected].

Conclusion

Web3 is only taking shape, with projects like The Graph providing an answer to Web2.0’s woes. It is early to judge whether it will be Web3’s Redshift, but they are already carving the niche.
This Beginner’s guide to The Graph is only a part of the series: find the rest in our blog! For daily updates, subscribe to ChangeHero on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and Telegram.

FAQ

[sc_fs_multi_faq headline-0=”h4″ question-0=”What is The Graph and how does it work?” answer-0=”The Graph is a platform for creating open APIs that can query and distribute blockchain data. Subgraphs are written in GraphQL, a common programming language, and can fetch data from one protocol to have others integrate it.” image-0=”” headline-1=”h4″ question-1=”What is GRT?” answer-1=”The GRT token is a utility token that is used as an incentive for indexing and curating the subgraphs. Diligently maintaining and indexing subgraph data can earn you a share of inflation and fees, while failing to do so results in a stake slash.” image-1=”” headline-2=”h4″ question-2=”Is the Graph built on Ethereum?” answer-2=”There is an Ethereum specification of The Graph, which was the first and is the most popular, but the platform is usable with other blockchains, too.” image-2=”” headline-3=”h4″ question-3=”Who uses The Graph crypto?” answer-3=”The Graph crypto, GRT, is used for paying indexers and curators for their services. If you cannot run a full node, you can become a curator and help subgraphs gain users, or delegate your stake to any of these two roles.” image-3=”” headline-4=”h4″ question-4=”Does The Graph crypto have a future?” answer-4=”The Graph is oriented toward Web3, and their strategy is very long-term oriented. At the moment, the network activity shows that The Graph is growing, meaning it can become more popular as more applications make use of it.” image-4=”” count=”5″ html=”true” css_class=””]


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