The Graph making Blockchain queries easy
While the average user of apps, be they decentralized or offered in the google play store, won’t spend much time thinking about what’s going on in the back-end, it’s yet crucial. So far, many blockchain-based apps are decentralized in the back-end but might still rely on centralized computing resources. It’s not unheard of that whole blockchains are built on the likes of AWS or Google Cloud.
The Graph introduces an often forgotten but crucial part to the existing blockchain infrastructure. The decentralized indexing enables the organization of blockchain data into open and easily accessible APIs that are called Subgraphs. Developers can then access and search these subgraphs to build their blockchain apps.
To make this a bit more feasible, imagine you wanted to find out how many crypto punks a certain wallet address owns and at what price they acquired their first crypto punk. If you don’t want to go through that process manually — and when this is done for an app, you can’t have an intern sit in the backend searching everything manually. With Graph protocol, the first step would be to compile the data. It is then indexed into a subgraph that manifests interest for it and includes events the contract needs to pay attention to and how the event data should be mapped to other data that Graph stores in its database.
When this process is complete, you can query all the data to answer whichever cryptopunk related question you had by using the graphQL API.
Four different kinds of participants play a crucial role in the graph network: indexers, curators, delegators, and consumers.
- Curators: are in charge of curating blockchain data and assessing which subgraphs of high quality need to be indexed. To signal which subgraphs are of more importance, they attach the network token GRT to it.
- Indexers operate nodes and earn rewards for querying and indexing. They select subgraphs based on their curation signal and prioritize them accordingly to be indexed. When indexers add incorrect data or act maliciously, the GRT they hold can be slashed.
- Delegators: they delegate their GRT holdings to indexers to contribute to running the network.
- Consumers: these are companies or individuals looking to add blockchain data to their apps and services. They pay for using the Graph network in GRT.
All network participants can earn a portion of the network fees for contributing to keeping things running. GRT — the native currency of the protocol is used for all payments and rewards. It’s an ERC-20 token with an initial supply of 10 billion, which is set to increase by 3% on average annually. The team further estimates that 1% of the supply will be removed from circulation each year.
As a user of blockchain and DeFi products and services, while you might be unaware of it, The Graph is already implemented in various popular platforms. Decentraland, for example, a blockchain game with NFTs, uses the graph to find and list items from other apps on their marketplace, enabling users to buy in a centralized place.
The decentralized exchange Uniswap also uses the graph to access historical trading and price data and conduct analytics. The lending platform Aave employs the graph data to monitor their contracts, check for trade history, and analyze liquidity on the platform.
While invisible to the end-user, the graph is already powering various crypto companies and will continue to do so. With backing from known blockchain investors such as coinbase ventures and the digital asset group, the graph makes it easy for developers to build dApps decentralized on all levels. This full-stack decentralization makes them robust and facilitates interoperability. As GRT is the only way to pay for using these vital services, it’s an asset to watch out for.
GRT will be trading on Bitcoin.com Exchange with BTC and USDT pairs starting Friday, May 21st.