The Graph: Story to Come
A quick history lesson
We saw three major paradigm shifts in blockchain to date. In 2009, Bitcoin introduced a distributed peer-to-peer network of digital money and brought us along the concept decentralized store of value, then Ethereum introduced programmable and executable form of money with the advent of decentralized smart contracts in 2015, in 2017, Chainlink announced a solution to the oracle problem and its inability of on-chain products to access data occurring in the real world. The Graph is now filling a particularly enormous niche in crypto space of indexing on-chain data into meaningful structures that may be accessed by anyone on-chain. There is little need to further argument how impactful and in-demand such a service will eventually be.
Case for The Graph
The Graph has already proven that the incentive for a decentralized approach to indexing on-chain events is superior to centralized solutions most companies relied up until now. Tracking token transfers and simple call functions were easy. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) introduced a variety of new functional calls that made the existing tracking and collating increasingly difficult. With the advent of decentralized finance in 2020, tracking simple events were replaced by the need for aggregated metrics to track historical changes and plotting panel data for future trends.
The cost saving calculation for discarding centralized infrastructure in favor of a decentralized protocol is not only through a financial standpoint as developers also save on time. The Graph’s infrastructure is accessible to a wider technical audience with basic GraphQL and TypeScript knowledge required without needing to build the entire subgraph from scratch, or even maintaining it after deployment.
It also solves the trust issue present in centralized solutions. Users in such cases are forced to put their trust that queries are identical to what was indexed in the first place. The Graph solves this with open-source code for every subgraph which enables everyone to check the inner-workings of a subgraph, while also introducing the curating aspect of signalling on trustworthy, accurate and complex subgraphs.
Some other advantages to note:
First mover advantage — Every new concept embedded in a project and introduced into blockchain is a game changer
Working product — Servicing over 400 million queries/day and rising, used by numerous top league services such as Uniswap, Compound, Aave, Skale, , Synthetix, Maker, DAO, and Balancer.
Blockchain agnostic — currently indexing Ethereum and IPFS File Storage with potential to expand to other Layer-1 protocols
The road ahead
The evolution of Graph protocol in the coming months will be manifold. Current indexing efforts on Ethereum are already making strides in supplying vast amounts of information to current end-users. However, with further development of decentralized finance, marketplaces, identity and reputation stats, smart contract collateralization and supply chains provide enough of a market for The Graph to grow naturally.
The Graph has tremendous potential for expanding into covering and cross-chain indexing and querying data over a vast array of Layer-1 and Layer-2 protocols. I cannot understate the importance of The Graph to become the go-to protocol for data indexation and querying.
The coming year will also introduce explosive growth and new opportunities with the introduction of ETH 2.0 and solving of the scalability issue, which will pave the road for dApp commercialization and growth in the sector. Lastly, I would argue that 2021 will be a bad year for project development in general. Not because the software engineers aren’t moving heaven and earth (they are), but because their voices and efforts will unfortunately be drowned in a sea of speculation, profit-making schemes and bad press stemming from a rise in scams and criminal activities. Nevertheless, the coming years present a unique opportunity for The Graph, with all its first mover advantages, to take advantage of and become the single biggest indexing protocol in blockchain.
The Graph: https://thegraph.com/
The Graph Blog: https://thegraph.com/blog/
The Graph Network: https://network.thegraph.com/