Originally founded in 2018, The Graph processes and validates various subgraphs that are used by Ethereum dapps. Right now hundreds of dapps use The Graph including Aragon, Balancer, Synthetix, Aave, Gnosis, Numerai, Livepeer, DAOstack, Uniswap, Mintbase, Gods Unchained, Decentraland, and many others. In fact, The Graph surpassed 30 billion queries, or bits of information gathered, in June alone.
The launch of The Graph Explorer dapp and Subgraph Studio allows anyone to deploy and curate subgraphs on Ethereum and earn migration rewards paid in its native GRT token.
A subgraph is a part of a larger database. In this case, subgraphs are lists of useful information pulled from the Ethereum blockchain. A subgraph defines which data The Graph will index from Ethereum and how it will store it. Once deployed, the subgraphs are queried by dapps to fetch blockchain data to power their front-end interfaces.
With the introduction of Subgraph Studio, developers will be able to test and deploy subgraphs on The Graph Network. Developers can also create their own subgraphs with specific metrics that suit their dapps.
Currently, eight dapps (udius, DODO, Livepeer, mStable, Opyn, PoolTogether, Reflexer and UMA) rely on subgraphs that are being produced on The Graph; however, with the release of The Graph Explorer and Subgraph studio, many more will inevitably follow. With subgraphs, users of dapps can be sure the data being provided is decentralized rather than being provided by a third-party indexer.
Indexers are participants in The Graph Network that index or sort through subgraphs in order to make data more accessible to users. In return for their services, indexers are rewarded through new GRT token issuance.
When an indexer goes to claim the indexer reward on a given subgraph, the indexer must supply a recent Proof of Indexing (PoI) to do so. These PoIs immediately unlock rewards, but they can also be used later to “slash” an indexer if they are found to be incorrectly formed.
For the most part, however, indexers compete among each other to produce the highest quality and most accurate data to get the reward.
In order for these indexers to find the right subgraph to work on, curators must signal the most important subgraphs. On The Graph Network, curators are responsible for signaling to indexers which subgraphs (open APIs) are most important to decentralized applications by staking GRT tokens.
In return, curators earn query fees. Because curators are given query fees, they are incentivized to stake on only the most important subgraphs that power the most useful applications. Currently, the curator’s cut is 10% of query fees but that rate is subject to protocol governance.
Curation makes sure the most useful and highest integrity data is prioritized to be later used for applications. You can think of curating like a decentralized rating system that tells the indexers which subgraphs are the priorities. When a subgraph is curated, developers can more easily find the right data. The data is easily accessible and essentially “sorted” when accessed for their dapps. With this system, anyone can deploy subgraphs but only the most used and highest quality subgraphs will earn query fees.
The Graph will be one of the first Ethereum-integrated curation markets to go live at this scale.
In preparation for its mainnet launch, The Graph’s Curator Program was announced on Sept. 17. The testnet was set up for curators to complete a series of missions to test the boundaries of the network.
The Graph planned to allocate up to 3% of the total token supply to curators in this testnet program as a grant allocation of GRT to curate on subgraphs. Individual allocations will be based upon contributions and interaction with the testnet such as query volume, profit maximization, data sharing and feedback.
With over 2,000 curators and 210 indexers, The Graph made it possible for even non-technical users to become curators, so long as they joined the GRT testnet with an Ethereum wallet.
Some noticeable curators included companies such as CoinGecko, CoinMarketCap, Messari, Delphi Digital, Zapper, Synthetix, Pool Together, LivePeer, mStable and Balancer.
CoinGecko’s TM Lee said he was “really excited to be participating as curator on The Graph network to help push the frontiers of data aggregation in a decentralized setting.”
He added, "The Graph has enabled us at CoinGecko to easily track the DeFi markets on Ethereum and we are always on the lookout for new market data that is useful for our users.”
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