Overview of The Graph
The Graph is an indexing protocol for querying networks like Ethereum and IPFS. Anyone can build and publish open APIs, called subgraphs, making data easy to query and accessible.
Since January 2019, over 2,300 subgraphs have been deployed and The Graph has established itself as a core development tool. The Graph has seen enormous growth, doubling their queries in a single day and maxing out their Google Cloud database
The Graph is now processing 220M+ queries per day and a total of 4B in August
After spending 2 years improving their network and subgraphs, The Graph is ready to begin its efforts of progressive decentralization. They have opened up a testnet where indexers store subgraph data and fulfill queries, and curators signal the top subgraphs on the market. Incorporating state channels, bonding curves, and a savings account along the way.
A quick overview of the Graph’s tokens:
$GRT is used for staking on subgraphs
$GRT is used for signaling subgraphs, your signal is then tokenized as $GST
Overview of Mission Control
Mission Control is the Graph’s incentivized testnet announced in late July. Indexers operate Graph Nodes and stake $GRT to index and fulfill subgraph queries, earning query fees, and inflationary rewards. Curators signal high-quality subgraphs by staking $GRT and receiving $GST in return. Curation is a way for community members to highlight the top subgraphs, earning a portion of the query fees.
Mission Control is split into five phases
- Phase 0: Running and Indexer
- Phase 1: Staking and Basic Protocol Actions
- Phase 2: Honest Profit Maximization
- Phase 3: Network Stress Test
- Phase 4: Rational Profit Maximization
Each phase has certain objectives and participants compete to earn the highest score which ultimately affects your eligibility to earn mainnet Graph Tokens.
Currently, the testnet is on Phase 1, finishing up testing basic protocol actions and preparing for Phase 2.
Running an Indexer consists of setting up and configuring the hardware required to index subgraphs and fulfill query requests.
It is important to consider if you will be running the indexer on your own hardware (true decentralization) or in the cloud (best for quickly scaling). This is a problem that all networks have to face. Running a node in a cloud provider can often be the easiest, quickest to get started, and most cost-efficient. However, if all nodes in a network are run on 3–5 main cloud providers then the network isn’t very decentralized.
The Graph team and community have created resources and guides on how to run your indexer in a few different ways.
Bare Metal allows you to have the most control but will have the longest setup, running with Docker is much easier and still allows you to have control over each of your containers. Kubernetes is by far the easiest way (although it is closed to testnet participants for now), running configuration files provided by the Graph team will create all of the services you need quickly with minimal configuration.
The last and hardest consideration for Phase 0 is running an Archive Node. An Ethereum archive node is notoriously difficult to run. It is expensive, takes forever to sync, and currently requires over 5TB of storage. Unless you already have an archive node, most indexers are turning to third-party providers. The Graph community has sourced some of the top archive node providers in the Discord.
Ideally, testnet participants will use a data provider initially but begin purchasing hardware and syncing their own archive node. Choosing an Ethereum client can also be a challenge as many clients do not support all of the RPC functionality that syncing a subgraph needs. The community has recognized sync speed and certain functionality in Ethereum clients as a core problem and have begun work on adding the functionality to TurboGeth, a high-performance client.
After setting up your hardware and indexer, Phase 0 is complete, and basic protocol actions will be put to the test in phase 1. This includes staking $GRT, allocating your stake to index specific subgraphs, signaling, and using the savings account.
This phase consists mostly of testing out the protocol’s functionality to make sure that you are comfortable with it enough for Phase 2: Honest Profit Maximization.
Phase 0 and 1 have been very successful so far with over 200 indexers participating, an extremely active community, and fantastic support from the Graph team, with everyone eagerly awaiting Phase 2.
You can earn rewards by either indexing and staking against subgraphs or through curation.
Running an Indexer earns inflationary rewards based on the staked amount for each subgraph. Indexers also earn query fees based on your proportional stake, the subgraphs curation, and the total number of queries. Additionally, indexers can receive delegated $GRT and set their reward and fee cuts accordingly.
As a Curator your role is to signal high-quality projects and subgraphs. The Curator program recently launched with CoinGecko, CoinMarketCap, Messari, and others joining as partners. Curating subgraphs provides the rest of the network insight on what subgraphs to index and stake against.
Signaling a subgraph is done on a bonding curve, rewarding you for signaling early demand for a high-quality project. You can signal a subgraph by depositing your $GRT for $GST, when you want to unsignal, your $GST will be exchanged for $GRT according to the bonding curve.
Additionally, on testnet, if you want a steady, low-risk way of earning interest on your $GRT, you can exchange it for $GDAI and deposit into a savings account built by the Graph. This is currently not planned for mainnet and meant to emulate products like MakerDAO’s Dai Savings Rate.
The Graph has built a high traffic and performant product but what has really shined in the testnet is the community. The community has improved the documentation for running an indexer, created monitoring tooling, and authored tutorials for multiple types of setups. The community also went outside of the immediate Graph ecosystem to help mitigate the Ethereum archival node bottleneck and is actively working to add the appropriate functionality to TurboGeth
As a participating indexer, the community behind the Graph has been the most enjoyable and exciting part.
The Graph has seen over 220M+ queries per day and is achieving scaling through decentralization. Joining Mission Control as an indexer is closed but you can join as a Curator to signal high-quality subgraphs.
The Graph is taking the next step in their protocol and we are glad to be a supporting member.
The Graph is the indexing and query layer of the decentralized web. Developers build and publish open APIs, called subgraphs, that applications can query using GraphQL. There is a hosted service in production that makes it simple for developers to start building on The Graph, and the decentralized network will be launching later this year. The Graph currently supports indexing data from Ethereum, IPFS, and PoA with more networks coming soon. To date, over 2,300 subgraphs have been deployed by thousands of developers for applications, such as Uniswap, Synthetix, Aragon, Gnosis, Balancer, Livepeer, DAOstack, AAVE, Decentraland, and many others.
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