What is The Graph? All You Need to Know About GRT

BeginnerJan 30, 2023
The Graph (GRT) is a protocol for indexing and accessing blockchain data, and is often referred to as the Google of Web3.
What is The Graph? All You Need to Know About GRT

What Is The Graph?

The Graph (GRT) is a mechanism for indexing and accessing blockchain data. Like Google indexes the web, The Graph indexes blockchain records from networks like Ethereum. A global data layer called The Graph sits on top of storage networks and blockchains, serving as a unifying force for the decentralization movement.

Since applications in the same domain need a way to cooperate and settle on common names for data queries, The Graph aims to act as an integration layer for DApps. As a result, programs use queries to locate data from big data sets while performing operations like filtering, sorting, and grouping. The development and upkeep of indexes are also necessary for these query executions since, otherwise, the executions would be excessively slow. Therefore, all of this requires economic rewards to achieve a healthy environment. In light of this, The Graph seeks to offer Web3 with this infrastructure layer.


The Graph was founded in 2018 by Jannis Pohlmann, Brandon Ramirez, and Yaniv Tal. Tal was motivated by his personal experience with how difficult it can be to create new dApps on Ethereum. There wasn’t anything like that at the time, so Yaniv Tal launched The Graph with his team to create and provide the first decentralized indexing and querying tool.

The Graph mainnet, which the team published in 2020 and increased the rate of subgraph formation on the network, was designed to decentralize the use of dApps completely. The project’s ultimate goal is to make Web 3 accessible to everyone and enable the creation of dApps without needing servers or a centralized authority.

How Does The Graph Work? The Functioning of the Graph Node

As DeFi (decentralized finance) becomes more well-known, the Graph protocol also plays a bigger role in the broader crypto economy. The Graph protocol enables programmers and other network users to build subgraphs for a variety of dApps and use them for data collection, indexing, and querying. In April 2021, The Graph’s hosted service processed 20 billion requests.

The network’s core is the Graph Node, which scans the blockchain database utilized by users of the network to organize data. Developers and other network users can pay for using subgraphs using GRT tokens. Developers can describe how dApps should use the data structure. Consumers can pay in GRT to use network services.

The network is designed so that Delegators, Indexers, and Curators can support it by providing GRT tokens to customers in exchange for curating and indexing services. Market participants are encouraged to continuously improve APIs and provide correct data. Through a gateway built on top of The Graph Network, users that query subgraphs can pay network participants in GRT tokens. The Graph network’s indexers are node operators who stake GRT tokens to enable indexing and querying. Users of networks like Ethereum, IPFS, and PoA may build and use apps using GraphQL, and more networks should come out soon.

Source: The Graph

What Is a Subgraph?

The Graph indexing and querying platform uses a particular application programming interface (API) called a subgraph. Some of the most significant public data in the world will be compiled into a global graph using the Ethereum network, enabling software developers to consume, index, and serve blockchain data in a cryptographically secure way. To achieve reasonably secure access to decentralized data, mainstream indexing servers frequently need a lot of engineering and hardware resources. Subgraphs help to reduce this centralized structure.

Network roles: Developer, Indexer, Curator and Delegator

The Indexers, Curators, and Delegators that make up the Graph Network serve data to Web3 applications and offer network services. Users of the applications and data consumers.

Source: The Graph Docs


The Developer creates a subgraph or uses existing subgraphs in a dApp.

A subgraph extracts data from a blockchain, processing it and storing it so that it can be easily queried via GraphQL.


The Graph Network’s indexers are node operators who stake Graph Tokens (GRT) to offer indexing and query processing services. For their services, indexers are paid in query fees and indexing rewards. Following the Cobbs-Douglas Rebate Function, they also receive money from a Rebate Pool that is distributed to all network contributors in proportion to their contributions.

Indexers decide which subgraphs to index based on the curation signal for that subgraph, where curators stake GRT to show which subgraphs are important and should be given priority. Additionally, consumers (such as applications) can specify the conditions under which Indexers process queries for their subgraphs and their preferences for query fee pricing.


The decentralized economy of the Graph depends on curators. They evaluate and provide signals on the subgraphs that The Graph Network should index using their understanding of the web3 environment. Curators can view network data using Explorer to make signaling judgments. The Graph Network pays curators a portion of the query fees that good-quality subgraphs create as compensation for their signals. Curators have financial incentives to provide early signals. Indexers can analyze or index the data from these signaled subgraphs using these cues from curators.


Delegators are network members who assign (or “stake”) GRT to a single or several Indexers. Delegators assist in network security without operating a Graph Node themself.

Delegators gain access to an Indexer’s query costs and incentives in exchange for delegation. The number of queries that an Indexer may process depends on their personal (and delegated) stake and the cost they charge for each query. Consequently, the more stake granted to an Indexer, the more possible requests they may be able to process.

Use Cases for The Graph

One of the prominent use cases of the graph token is as a medium of exchange. The token will serve as a means of payment for various services offered both inside and outside the ecosystem.

It goes without saying that many people are already utilizing the data solutions provided by the Graph protocol. Customers exist for a variety of services. For instance, some users will need the network to process their queries. With these inquiries, one can access the hosting of a few of the most well-known platforms by The Graph.

Decentraland is a great case of a network whose subgraphs developers can access. The others include Uniswap, Aave, Synthetic, and others. At the time this report was being produced, thousands of subgraphs had already been implemented in the Graph protocol. There is a distinct group of people who need their questions answered for each paragraph.

Many contributors use GRT tokens to pay for services when they are in need of service provision. The platform provides a step-by-step explanation of how their billing procedure with GRT works in one of their blogs. Although their primary form of trade is the GRT token, their billing system is based on Polygon. GRT tokens are used as a form of payment for the services that those who require access to Decentraland, Aave, Synthetix, and Uniswap Subgraphs obtain.

Every user of the network’s services, according to their website, utilizes the GRT token to pay the processing charge. The most common network users are developers and Defi networks, therefore they use the token to cover the fees.

The Graph’s Features: Graph Explorer, Hosted Service and Subgraph Studio

The Graph Workflow

A pertinent subgraph to store query information is either present or not. A developer must construct one in the subgraph data studio if it doesn’t already exist.

A Curator will review a subgraph after it has been created and published, and if they believe it has potential, they will recommend indexing it on The Graph Explorer.

The Graph Node, which continuously scans the Ethereum blockchain for new blocks and serves the data query via a GraphQL endpoint, will index the subgraph once the signal has been established.

Users can examine the query’s results in their applications after this process is finished. Additionally, they can use Graph Explorer to view already-existing subgraphs and run GraphQL queries.

Graph Explorer

Every subgraph that has been deployed to The Graph Network, where each subgraph’s details, including its metadata and participant statistics, can be easily examined. The Curators can then choose a subgraph and place GRT tokens in it so that it is signaled to the Indexers.

On The Graph Explorer, which also has tabs for Subgraphs, Indexing, Delegating, and Curating, all network members can access their user profiles. They display each activity’s past and current performances along with information on earned awards and costs.

Source: Graph Explorer

Hosted Service

The Graph Network supports only the Ethereum blockchain. The Hosted Service, which presently supports all other blockchains, including Avalanche and Celo, will be discontinued by the end of Q1 2023 due to DApps migrating to the decentralized Graph Explorer.

Subgraph Studio

The decentralized Graph Explorer and the Hosted Service are where developers can publish their subgraphs after they have been created and given metadata.

Unique Utility

It is quite challenging to read anything more than basic data directly from the Ethereum blockchain due to projects with complex smart contracts, such as Uniswap, and NFTs initiatives, such as the Bored Ape Yacht Club. This example provides the clearest understanding of the unique utility of The Graph protocol.

In the case of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, basic read operations on the contract are possible since these read operations are directly programmed into the smart contract. However, more complex real-world queries and operations, such as aggregation, search, relationships, and non-trivial filtering, are not possible. By dealing directly with the contract, we couldn’t find apes that were confined by one of their characteristics and possessed by a specified address.

To read the metadata from IPFS using the Token ID and IPFS hash, you would need to aggregate it after analyzing every single transfer instance ever transmitted. These kinds of extremely simple questions can take an hour or even a day to be answered by a decentralized application running in a browser.

Additionally, you could create your own server, process transactions there, store them in a database, and then query the data using an API endpoint that was created on top of the entire system. On the other hand, this approach wastes a lot of resources, necessitates maintenance, creates a single point of failure, and jeopardizes crucial security features vital to decentralization.

This process is hampered by finality, chain reorganizations, and uncalled blocks, which makes it time-consuming and theoretically challenging to extract the correct query results from blockchain data.

By offering a decentralized system that indexes blockchain data and enables quicker and more accurate searching, The Graph solves this issue. It makes it possible to query these APIs using a standard GraphQL API. A hosted service and a decentralized protocol carry out identical tasks. Graph Node, an open-source solution, takes care of both.

What Is The Graph Token (GRT)?

The Graph is a decentralized indexing service for blockchain protocols, commonly referred to as the “Google of Blockchains”. In essence, it is incredibly challenging to locate specific data saved on blockchains. The Graph team has developed a sophisticated method to classify, index, and sort this data, making it simple to retrieve it using GraphQL and other straightforward database queries. Even though the utility of this protocol is mostly geared toward developers, everyday users can still get engaged and profit from contributing to keeping the system running.

Is The Graph a Good Investment?

The Graph is a blockchain data decentralized oracle. As a result, Chainlink is frequently used to compare this project (LINK). These don’t directly compete though because they deal with distinct issues. Simply put, it prepares and indexes data from blockchains. Through an API interface, users can include them in applications. The project is regarded as the top service for indexing data from blockchains. Even though it is still very new, it already has a notable relevance.

How can you own GRT?

One way to own GRT is to go through a centralized crypto exchange. The first step is to create a Gate.io account and complete the KYC process. Once you have added funds to your account, check out the steps to buy GRT on the spot or derivatives market.

News on The Graph

The Guild has received a $48 million grant from The Graph Foundation to support research and development on subgraphs and protocols, which has delighted the organization. The Guild, which was previously a Wave 1 Grantee and is now committing to The Graph long-term to develop core subgraph capabilities and make GraphQL widely available in web3, was a Wave 1 Grantee who built subgraph tooling. One of the leading open-source developer communities in the GraphQL ecosystem, The Guild creates and supports some of the most popular GraphQL tools available.

Over the course of four years, The Guild will collaborate with The Graph ecosystem to create additional subgraph features like subgraph composition, analytics, and mutations as well as enhance the GraphQL API and the subgraph development environment. The Guild will concentrate on enhancing Graph Node’s querying skills so that programmers may create feature-rich apps more quickly. The Guild will also work with other core developers and The Graph Foundation to improve the education and onboarding of web2 developers onto The Graph. It will integrate these features into well-known GraphQL tools for the web2 development community and produce specialized instructional videos.

Useful References

For the latest updates about The Graph, you can visit:

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Author: Gabriel
Translator: binyu
Reviewer(s): Edward、Ashely
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