Web3 & The Graph Protocol

Earlier this year, The Graph protocol caught my attention. As a Data Scientist by day, the business of indexing and serving queryable blockchain data via GraphQL was intriguing to me. Now, I am no crypto expert (my hope is that you find that a feature, not a bug), but even so, it was clear to me how important and impactful this infrastructure would be to the future of Web3. I immediately subscribed to the community.

I learned of the Curator program and signed up with no hesitation. I am not a “technical” contributor to crypto in the sense that I don’t have smart-contract development skills. For the past two years, I have been spending what meager spare time I can manage trying to learn the crypto ropes. This was a perfect opportunity to try and take my contribution to the next step.

Let me take a moment to share a piece of the vision I have seen as part of the Curator program — the Graph protocol serving as one of the critical layers of infrastructure for Web3.

What is Web3?

Web3 is the next iteration of the Internet — powered by the principles of decentralization and ownership. Today, the internet is powered by your personal data. Advertising is the default business of the internet. Centralized companies access, store, sell, and utilize your personal information. In fact, it is really just a small number of companies that profit the most from the data you generate on the web.

The promise of Web3 is that you can still enjoy the internet while controlling your own data. There will be no central companies that hold the power over the web. There will be a foundation of ownership that allows individuals and creators to thrive. Built on decentralized networks, such as Ethereum, there is no single point of failure/power. Crypto networks with built in economics incentivize participants to work together for the betterment of the web as a whole. Individuals and users control their data and bring their own state to decentralized applications (dApps). Anyways, if any of that is confusing (it has taken me a lot of time to get to a point of understanding here), just remember that a decentralized web puts power back into the hands of the users.

The other powerful component of Web3 is the “webifying” of money. Web3 is built on the same infrastructure as the “crypto money” that you hear about everyday. Together, money and the broader financial ecosystem become accessible simply with an internet connection. Money becomes fast, global, and permissionless. Everyone is welcome and anyone can thrive.

If you think about web applications today, they all survive on top of storage and compute services offered by centralized companies (Amazon, Google, Microsoft). This is problematic in two ways: cost and dependency. Focusing on the latter, I have had multiple apps that I have worked on go down because of outages at one of these providers. Many web apps cannot afford any down time, yet they are always at risk. On Web3, web apps won’t go down, because you can’t shut off a decentralized network — there is no single point of failure. Thousands of computers and actors all over the world are harmoniously working together to keep the network running — even if a few go down, others pick up the slack.

Enter Graph Protocol

The Graph Protocol is, and will continue to be, one of the most important pieces of decentralized infrastructure for Web3. It is the API layer of Web3. If the future of Web3 is realized, decentralized Web3 apps need a reliable, cost-effective way to query blockchain data that powers their applications. The Graph is a decentralized network that facilitates the indexing, curation, and querying of blockchain data. I think the Graph team puts it best:

“The Graph Network decentralizes the API and query layer of the internet application stack. For the first time it will be possible to efficiently query blockchain data without relying on a centralized service provider.”

There is a lot of detail that we could cover about how the Graph protocol works, and there are plenty of great resources available across the web right now (especially thanks to the Graph Curator Program) which cover the protocol in detail. Yet, I want to focus simply on why I believe in the future of the Graph protocol, and why I will continue to contribute.

I Believe

I believe that the Graph protocol will continue to grow and be recognized as one of the key pieces of infrastructure powering Web3. Here are the main reasons why:

Product-Market Fit

The Graph just launched to mainnet last week, yet it processed 10 billion queries in November (an average of 350 million queries per day). Starting the Graph as a hosted service and slowly growing in decentralization prior to mainnet launch has allowed the Graph to find fit before dealing with the complications of mainnet (as a protocol — the hosted service has been servicing mainnet for a while now).

Protocol Economics

I am just incredibly impressed by the design and economics behind the protocol and the GRT token. I am not sure I have seen a token with so much utility within its own protocol. Indexers, Curators, and Delegators all have the ability to grow and be rewarded with their contribution — all while the network grows stronger.

Team

I think the first two points are a reflection of a brilliant, thoughtful, and passionate team behind the Graph.

Community

In large part due to incredibly well-ran incentivized indexing and curator programs, there is a broad and passionate community behind the Graph. There are way too many people, including myself, that have seen the vision and believe in its eventual reality for this not to work out.

Conclusion

With the launch of the Graph protocol to mainnet, the vision of Web3 became more of a reality. Let’s keep pushing towards a better web and better money!