Introducing The Graph
Recommended reading for applicants to the Graph Advocates Program
The Dangers of Centralization
The present structure of the internet ("web2") favors centralization. Its client-server architecture bestows unprecedented power to the organizations running the servers that power the internet. With this power, these organizations can define the rules, control the data, and grant/revoke access to their services at their own discretion.
Information Asymmetries and Power Imbalances
One important consequence of centralized server architecture is users are unaware of how their personal data is stored, used, and who has access to it. Not allowing users to have a say in how their data is used creates information asymmetries and can cause power imbalances.
Additionally, centralized organizations have created tightly interwoven structures on the internet and do not give the majority of individuals the ability to impact how things function.
The web3 vision is to enable applications that are fully powered by open-source and decentralized infrastructure. This will foster community-owned organizations and change the existing power dynamics of web2.
For instance, an important benefit of web3 would be eliminating centralized organizations who control data and access to services. Additionally, developers and users in web3 have assurance that a centralized organization cannot manipulate or enforce self-serving limitations to products and services.
"The sudden rise of cryptocurrencies and associated protocols has created a unique opportunity that we can harness to shift the balance of power away from monopolies and towards the sovereignty of individuals.”
- Yaniv Tal, Edge & Node
Graph Advocates have the unique and important opportunity to make contributions that will introduce web3 and decentralization to the world!
The Graph is the indexing and querying protocol for web3. It is a key piece of infrastructure in the decentralized web3 stack. With The Graph and open APIs called "subgraphs", developers can build applications and create and publish subgraphs that query data from blockchains.
For example, developers commonly create applications that display data to the application's end users - such as trades, NFTs and DAOs. Using The Graph, developers can create applications that quickly and easily display data retrieved from blockchains. Subgraphs make it easier for developers to build on top of blockchains and enabling UIs to be highly performant with rich and dynamic data.
Subgraphs index data that is defined by the developers that create it, based on what information they'd like to present in their UIs. A network of Indexers (node operators) index the subgraphs and process queries for dapps, ensuring dapps don't rely on single centralized servers.
The web3 ecosystem must consist of decentralized infrastructure to ensure that we don't rebuild the same centralized services and economies like in web2. The Graph is built on Ethereum but is blockchain agnostic. Currently the hosted service supports 31 chains including Ethereum, NEAR, Arbitrum, Optimism, Polygon, Avalanche, Celo with more networks coming soon.
Subgraphs are open APIs that are created and published by developers. In essence, a subgraph defines how to ingest, index, and serve data, and they are used by developers to build dapps.
Subgraphs allow developers to more easily query complex blockchain data. Developers use subgraphs to feed data to the front-end interface of their applications, such as displaying financial data or NFT marketplace information to their users.
Without The Graph, dapp developers would have to run their own centralized back-end infrastructure to query blockchain data. Furthermore, the time saved by using subgraphs enables developers to focus on building high-quality applications and front-end interfaces. Subgraphs make it easier to build on web3 protocols, reduce the need for centralized databases, and eliminate specialized engineering resources and hardware.
To date, over 38,000 subgraphs have been deployed and now subgraphs can be deployed directly on the decentralized network. Over 28,000 developers have built subgraphs for applications such as Uniswap, Synthetix, KnownOrigin, Art Blocks, Livepeer, Daohaus, and many others.
Decentralized applications, called dapps, are web3 applications that are built on a decentralized network. A dapp combines the information stored on blockchains from programs called smart contracts, queries data using subgraphs and compiles data into a rich front-end user interface. Dapps can use subgraphs for querying on-chain data and use other on-chain protocols for storage, oracles and other services.
In contrast to web2 applications that rely upon, and are vulnerable to, the power dynamics of centralization, dapps provide developers and users several benefits, including zero downtime, privacy, data integrity, and trustless computation.
Developers who want to build dapps for web3 need a reliable, efficient, convenient, and cost-effective way to access data held on blockchains, which is why they use The Graph.
Utility tokens are cryptocurrency tokens and they are designed to be used exclusively within a specified ecosystem. A utility token allows participants with the ecosystem to perform activities and transact.
The native utility token of The Graph protocol is called the Graph Token (GRT). The GRT token ensures the proper functioning of the indexing and query activities within the protocol. The four primary functions of GRT are vital to the proper functioning of the protocol:
- Indexer Staking: Indexers in The Graph protocol need to deposit at least 100,000 GRT as a way to provide economic security. The deposited GRT allows Indexers to be discoverable.
- Curator Signaling: The activities of Curators is powered by GRT. Curators deposit GRT on subgraphs as a way to signal which subgraphs Indexers should index.
- Delegator Staking: Delegators help to secure The Graph protocol by delegating their GRT to Indexers who are trustworthy and reliable. The GRT delegated by Delegators helps the protocol direct query traffic to the appropriate Indexers.
- Consumer Payments: Consumers, such as dapp developers, use GRT to pay for queries. Consumers explore The Graph protocol to identify Indexers that provide the data they are looking for. There are a number of different factors consumers use when selecting an Indexer to query the data from, including the Indexer’s pricing strategy, performance, data freshness, or perceived reputation.
In simple terms, indexing is the process of organizing information to make it more easily retrievable (like the index in the back of a book) and to reduce the time required for searching. The Graph provides a solution for indexing blockchain data, involving several different participants that work within the protocol.
In addition to the subgraph developers and consumers of The Graph's data (eg. dapps); the key roles in the protocol are Indexers, Curators, and Delegators. All roles earn rewards from the protocol and Indexers and Curators earn query fees paid by consumers of the data, such as dapps, data dashboards or end-users. By participating in a protocol like The Graph, we can all contribute to web3 and building the decentralized future we envision.
index subgraphs and process queries for dapps by operating a node and staking GRT on the services they provide
Comparable to participants in other web3 networks, Indexers operate nodes in The Graph protocol and are responsible for indexing data from subgraphs.
Indexers play a critical role in the protocol. The protocol ensures that no dapp relies on a centralized server as there is a market of Indexers willing to serve a query at a price, at any time. This ensures uptime, reliability and consistent data for dapps. Indexers' work is highly technical and typically requires knowledge of devops or running node operations.
Indexers are incentivized by earning query fees from consumers paid for the queries their dapps use, and indexing rewards from the protocol. Indexers split their rewards with Delegators who delegate GRT to Indexers to grow their operations in the network.
signal on high-quality subgraphs to inform Indexers which are the most important data sources, by staking GRT on the subgraphs
To help Indexers identify high-quality subgraphs, Curators signal which subgraphs are most high-quality and useful to the ecosystem. Curators are incentivized to support Indexers, by identifying the highest quality subgraphs. Curators stake GRT on subgraphs in order to signal, and earn a portion of query fees generated from that subgraph.
Curators don't need to be technical! To identify high-quality subgraphs Curators simply must understand the landscape of web3 - what dapps and data sources are most interesting and accurate? Which subgraphs do the top dapps rely on? Which are most useful?
The best subgraphs are accurate, complete and complex enough that many dapps and developers can rely on them. The best Curators are ones who follow web3 closely and participate in the community to understand what Indexers should prioritize.
delegate GRT to trustworthy and reliable Indexers by staking GRT on their Indexer, based on their performance and subgraphs they choose to serve
Delegators support the health of a network by delegating stake to nodes in order to grow their operators. Delegators in The Graph stake GRT on Indexers to increase their indexing and ability to serve subgraphs in the network.
By staking GRT on an Indexer, a Delegator is choosing an Indexer it believes is highly performant, serves subgraphs well and will split its delegation cut fairly relative to the work. Anyone with GRT can choose an Indexer and contribute to the security of the network. Delegators do not need to be technical!
Being a Delegator is the most passive role in the network and an ideal choice for those who wish to participate in The Graph protocol without having to run their own node (Indexers) or learning about high-quality subgraphs (Curators). Delegators earn a portion of indexing rewards from the Indexer(s) they delegate their GRT with. Consequently, Delegators are incentivized to identify trustworthy and reliable Indexers who are ready to serve subgraphs long-term.
The Graph protocol has adopted a work token model using the Graph Token (GRT). GRT is used in the protocol in order to provide services in the network, to enable a fully decentralized query market. The query market is the centerpiece of engagement for an Indexer with the consumer segment.
Indexers and Curators that stake GRT participate in the query marketplace and can earn query fees for network services and serving queries to subgraphs. The price of queries will be set by Indexers and vary based on cost to index the subgraph, the demand for queries, the amount of curation signaled on the subgraph, the complexity of the queries/subgraph and the requirements of the dapp. Query fees are expected to differ across queries and subgraphs, and Indexers will work with dapps to gauge accurate pricing.
Graph Advocates have the unique opportunity to do work that will change people’s lives and make a lasting impact throughout the world. The Graph’s vision is to build a decentralized network of public data with a decentralized ecosystem of contributors. The Graph Advocates is another major step forward in this vision by empowering individuals all across the world to actively participate in web3 and make lasting contributions.
As an Advocate, you will have the unique opportunity to make contributions that directly impact your local community, the web3 mission, and the future of The Graph ecosystem. There’s no limit to the benefits of participating as an Advocate, including exclusive swag, access to events, special POAPs and badges, education and training, professional opportunities, and so much more!
You can become a leader in web3 and find more meaning and purpose in your work by being a Graph Advocate.
To sustain a thriving community, Graph Advocates aim to foster a welcoming and productive environment. Advocates are eager to proactively contribute to The Graph community, grow network adoption, and develop the ecosystem. They make regular, high-quality, and meaningful contributions based on their interests and expertise.
Because the Graph Advocates' program is intended to support The Graph ecosystem through the development of high-quality content and community contributions, Advocates do not participate in communications, discussions, or promotion of anything related to the price of the GRT token.
Advocates are kind and supportive, and they seek out opportunities to help others, including fellow Advocates, subgraph users, protocol participants, and other community members. They have integrity, behave professionally, encourage collaboration, and take pride in being a resource to the ecosystem.
The Graph community is the heart and soul that drives the protocol, and Graph Advocates are community leaders. Advocates are critical to The Graph ecosystem and have the opportunity to make contributions that will shape the future of web3.
Advocates are eager to proactively contribute to The Graph community, grow network adoption, and develop the ecosystem. As a result, they are committed to making regular, high-quality, and meaningful contributions based on their interests and expertise.
Advocates are expected to make contributions based on the Advocate role(s) they select:
- Event Evangelist: Host local events, attend regional events, and participate in in-person or online community events.
- Content Creator: Create content about web3 and The Graph, including articles, videos, infographics, memes or GIFs.
- Text Translator: Translate The Graph and other community documentation, material, and social posts into other languages.
- Community Care: Post answers to questions or share educational resources in The Graph Forum, Telegram, Discord, or Reddit.
- Technical Teacher: Teach others how to actively participate and contribute in web3 and The Graph ecosystem.
- Web3 Welcomer: Accelerate greater education and adoption of web3 and The Graph throughout the world.
Advocates are encouraged to contribute more than the minimum expectations of the Advocates Program, and the community should feel empowered to reward any efforts above and beyond the minimum expectations of an Advocate with a grant for their efforts.