Data & Information indexing for blockchain applications
The Graph (GRT) is an indexing tool that can be used by blockchain applications to search for any Ethereum data through simple queries. Addressing a common problem that many other blockchain indexing platforms have. Blockchain applications struggle to adhere to attributes such as finality, chain reorganization, and query fulfillment security. The Graph aims to solve this and other difficulties.
Dapp developers can build and publish various APIs called subgraphs, which execute queries over something called GraphQL. Through the creation of these subgraphs the platform indexes blockchain data that users can then access through the GraphQL API.
Interest in the platform continues to grow as more and dapps are deployed and adoption starts to grow. In June 2020 the platform reached over one billion queries. Interestingly, the same time that the ‘summer of DeFi’ began.
Simply put, dapp developers that integrate the GraphQL API are able to obtain the essential Ethereum blockchain data they need to make their dapps work properly. Projects such as Uniswap, Balancer, Curve, Aave, Moloch DAO, and Compound are already using GraphQL. As well as CoinGecko, Uniswap Info, Decentraland, Synthetix, Aragon, and more. The platform also has plans to expand to other networks and provide cross-chain solutions in the near future.
Think of the applications you may currently use such as a stock trading or flight comparison app. These applications need to call upon data. That data needs to be organized in order to be served up quickly, and as accurately as possible. Blockchain applications require the same thing.
How does it work?
To index Ethereum-based data, the platform uses something called a subgraph manifesto. This simply refers to the description of a subgraph that contains data about smart contracts and blockchain events. Plus the process of mapping event data together before it’s all stored in the platform’s database.
The flow of data from transactions, subgraph manifests, and the database follows a specific structure starting with dapps. They add data to the Ethereum blockchain in the form of smart contracts. This data contains a record of all the events and transactions up to the point where they reach finality.
At this point, the graph node, which scans the entire blockchain database, collects new data and filters out those bits relevant to a user’s query. GraphQL is the essential link between blockchain data and the application. Ultimately, users can view query results from within applications.
The Graph Token (GRT)
GRT is the platform’s native ERC-20-based token and serves as a medium of exchange and reward for community members who act as indexers, curators, and delegators. Indexers stake and earn GRT for processing queries, and anyone can delegate GRT to indexers to secure the network and earn rewards. Curators organize data on The Graph by signaling GRT on useful subgraphs.
Overall, indexers, delegators, and curators work together to organize the data for the crypto economy and maintain a useful global API for DeFi and Web3.
Looking at the current boom of the DeFi space, we can see how important it is for developers to access blockchain data freely. Making the process faster and less difficult for everyone could impact the growth of the entire scene and its reliability, security, and capacity.
Amidst the current boom in both DeFi and NFTs, dapps and end-users are starting to wake up to the importance of systems like The Graph. There is a strong need to create information bridges between blockchain data and the applications that need it as smart contracts rely on user data. The platform is seen as a promising tool, especially for those that want to develop dapps.
Dapp developers need easy access to blockchain data and by making it faster and less tricky for all involved parties The Graph is hoping to spread the adoption of blockchain applications to the masses.