The Graph (Graph Network) is a decentralized data-indexing protocol for networks like Ethereum, POA, and IPFS. This is a middle layer between numerous blockchains and decentralized applications and The Graph has been already integrated with lots of them. The Graph’s hosted service is processing over 4 billion queries per month for various applications and it is always exploring new blockchain integrations, including Bitcoin.
The Graph was created in July 2018. On December 17, 2020, The Graph launched its mainnet. The main open source elements that make up the Graph’s ecosystem are Graph Node, Graph TS, and Graph CLI. GRT is the native token of the platform that is used to coordinate its performance.
Subgraphs represent a very important element fueling the platform. Any user can build and publish open APIs, called subgraphs, making data easily accessible in cases when it is hard to receive directly from the blockchain. They are used for the storage of data for specific dApps. The subgraph determines what data The Graph will index from Ethereum, and how it will store it. Once deployed, it will form a part of a global graph of blockchain data.
Once created, a subgraph cannot be ever deleted and its name cannot be changed. At the time of writing, there are over 7,000 subgraphs for Balancer, Synthetix, Uniswap, Aragon, Livepeer, Gnosis, DAOstack, Decentraland, AAVE, etc.
The Graph Network Participants
There are four main groups of users that play important roles in the platform’s ecosystem: Indexers, Curators, Delegators, and Consumers. The first three groups maintain the work of the network while Consumers are the end-users of the network’s services.
The Indexers operate the nodes of the network and they are motivated to earn the GRT rewards. The Curators signal what subgraphs are worth being indexed the first among other subgraphs. They do it with the help of GRT. Usually, the Curators are the developers and end-users. Delegators delegate their GTR to the Indexers without obligation to run their own nodes. In return, they receive a part of indexing rewards and fees. The Consumers have to pay the Indexers for the request processing and transmission.
Graph GRT token
GRT is a utility ERC-20 token designed to fuel The Graph protocol. The maximum token supply is 10 billion. Around 1% of query fees and all deposit taxes are expected to be burnt.
The public sale of GRT took place on October 22, 2020. 400M tokens were sold to users that are called Original Graphers who were the initial GRT community members at The Graph’s mainnet launch. More than 4,500 individuals from 99 countries (Russia, Vietnam, China, India, Great Britain, etc) received GRT and got a right to participate in The Graph Network as Indexers, Curators, or Delegators by providing their services to decentralized applications. The US residents had no right to participate. The project representatives reported that 12 million USD had been raised in the public sale.
The overall token distribution is as following: 35% is dedicated to the community, 23% belongs to the early team and advisors, 7% is for backers, and 8% is dedicated to Edge & Node, the Graph Foundation’s subsidiary that develops software.
The major part of the token amount that is dedicated to the community belongs to the Graph Foundation (58%). 12% was sold at the GRT public sale and 6% was allocated to the strategic GRT sale. The rest of the community tokens are spent on the programs and rewards: educational programs (6%), bug bounties (1%), testnet indexer reward (9%), curator program grants (9%). The token can be used for Indexer Staking and Curator Signaling. All the payments are also settled in GRT.
GRT can be bought on some exchanges: Binance, OKEx, Huobi, etc. It was also possible to earn the token by taking part in various events. For example, a user could get 10 GRT for free by participating in a quiz. The participants need to answer several questions about The Graph project to receive the reward. Also, 30,000 GRT were distributed during the Global Rental Token Airdrop.
The Graph security
Before launching the mainnet, The Graph’s security was thoroughly tested. It was audited several times to increase trust and confidence. In October 2020, it was audited by OpenZeppelin, a company that provides audits of decentralized systems, and Trail of Bits, an independent information security company. An audit of the state channels implementation was provided by Consensys Diligence.
The Bug Bounty program aims to improve the security of the platform. The users that have managed to find vulnerabilities in the protocol infrastructure are to be rewarded in GRT. There are three types of bounties depending on the severity and complexity of the bug. Rewards will range from 100 to 50,000 USD worth of GRT.
The Graph team and partners
The project was founded by Yaniv Tal (Project Lead), Jannis Pohlman (Tech Lead), and Brandon Ramirez (Research Lead). They have engineering backgrounds and prior to The Graph, they had already worked together on several startups. Tal and Ramirez live in the US, and Pohlman resides in Germany.
In October 2020, The Graph Foundation was created to coordinate and support The Graph’s ecosystem after the mainnet launch. Eva Beylin is the Director of The Graph Foundation. Prior to this position, she worked with several crypto projects like MolochDAO, the Ethereum Foundation, etc. The initial team reported that they changed their name from Graph Protocol, Inc. to Edge & Node to highlight that they were no longer the central team.
The Graph’s management will be decentralized in the future and a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) will be created. It is planned that the project will be governed by The Graph Council. It will respect the interest of five main groups of influencers: Indexers, active token holders, the initial team, users, and technical domain experts.
The project is backed by serious investors like Coinbase Ventures, Framework Ventures, Digital Currency Group, and others. 5 million USD were raised at the private token sale.