Update on The Graph’s Permissionless Network
The Graph Network has now been live for over nine months and has over 160 Indexers, nearly 7,000 Delegators and 2,200 Curators. It has been exciting to see that more than 180 subgraphs have migrated from the hosted service to the permissionless network since the product launch in July, seeing 2,150% growth in just two months. The Graph’s aim of providing seamless access to blockchain data with subgraphs is not only revolutionizing the way developers are building dapps, but is also a testament to the utility of Web3 in the creation of a decentralized new internet.
While The Graph’s new products have helped propel the Web3 space forward to the decentralized future, as with blazing any trails, there is generally a need for polish and refinement after real world usage. The community has shared invaluable feedback and developers are addressing them, working hard to continue improving the experience on The Graph Network.
Community Feedback on The Graph’s New Features
Community feedback has already yielded specific, actionable suggestions for the protocol. For example, users have been vocal about the challenges created by subgraph upgrade costs on the permissionless network. That feedback has informed a new proposal to reduce the curation tax from 2.5% curation signal to 1% for subgraph developers that want to upgrade their subgraph on the network. It is important that there is a tax because each time a subgraph updates on the network, the Indexers need to compute intensive work to re-sync that subgraph. If you are a subgraph developer with interest in this topic, we encourage you to engage in this GIP.
Front-running bots were another concern flagged by the community. Community members have put forth several ideas to preserve the utility of curation while protecting against this kind of extractive behavior. Potential solutions continue to be discussed at The Graph’s Core Devs meeting to gain perspective on feasibility, potential fruition and gain community support.
Besides The Graph Forum users have also taken to the Telegram and Discord channels to share feedback. Additionally, The Graph Foundation has held monthly Community Talk and Core Devs meetings in an effort to alert the community on protocol development updates. These calls are a critical source of transparency in The Graph ecosystem.
Early Momentum for the Permissionless Network
To date, 23,000 developers have built and deployed over 22,000 subgraphs to The Graph’s Hosted Service. Since subgraph migration began in spring 2021, over 180 subgraphs have migrated to The Graph Network using the Subgraph Studio. Apps like Audius, PoolTogether, and Reflexer have migrated their subgraphs to The Graph Network, and more dapps are migrating every day.
Migration allows developers to rely on a fully decentralized stack by leveraging a query market powered by Indexers, Delegators, and Curators. Developers no longer have to run centralized infrastructure or servers in house, which is expensive and time consuming. A query market also means that developers are building on infrastructure that can be powered forever, even if the company that initially created it shuts down unexpectedly.
The Graph Network has faced zero downtime since its launch, marking a giant stride towards a truly decentralized Web3 stack. Core developers at The Graph are working to improve the way developers publish subgraphs to support dapps migrating to the network. Indexers have been engaging at an increasing pace with over 16,000 allocations closed to date, which allows trustworthy subgraphs to be indexed and also grants Indexers rewards for their work.
Curators have also begun providing initial feedback to core developers to ensure all necessary features of the Studio and developer experience are prioritized. All subgraphs, curation stats and query fees data can be found in the Graph Explorer. Initiatives like Curation Station and dashboards like Graphscan have also launched in the community to support subgraph migration and inform new Curators entering The Graph ecosystem.
Currently, some of the top signalled subgraphs like Livepeer are being indexed by 35 Indexers (making up 22% of Indexers) with each subgraph being served by an average of 4.4 Indexers and 33.1 Curators. More than 3 million GRT has been signalled to date with an average of 20K GRT per subgraph.
Read more network stats in the latest Our Network newsletter here.
Core Development Milestones
Throughout this journey, The Graph Foundation has consistently strived to decentralize the core development of the protocol to ensure its long-term sustainability. Two new core development teams have joined The Graph in the past 6 months: StreamingFast and Figment to help scale the protocol, improving indexing performance and multi-blockchain efforts; such as StreamingFast’s Firehose stack.
These three core developer teams are collaborating on a protocol roadmap and share their work at the monthly Core Devs Meetings.
The Graph has also been following a Graph Improvement Proposal (GIP) Process for introducing protocol upgrades to the community and The Graph Council. GIPs are proposed and discussed in The Graph Forum to receive feedback from subgraph developers, Indexers, Curators and Delegators. GIPs are then put up for a Snapshot vote to unofficially gauge community sentiment, followed by a vote by The Graph Council before the upgrades are implemented. Council meetings also occur bi-weekly and follow Chatham House Rules for meeting notes.
Since network launch, nine GIPs have been evaluated in The Graph’s Radicle repository where GIPs are merged. Currently, there are several protocol enhancement suggestions in different stages of the governance process aiming to improve the experience for core network participants:
- An Indexer cut simplification proposal has been posted intending to streamline the rewards cut setting mechanism for Indexers and to improve transparency of evaluating Indexer cut settings for Delegators.
- Improving stake decentralization emerged as a broader subject in The Graph community in the past weeks, including discussions of specific UI changes to the Explorer that could help new network delegations to be more decentralized in the future.
Curators & Subgraph Developers
- A number of protocol changes were proposed in the Forum to strengthen the curation experience, specifically by addressing post-deployment dynamics of new subgraphs in an effort to advance the Curator role closer to its design intent.
- A new deploy and signal feature is under development and is currently being voted on by the Council on Snapshot. It allows Subgraph Developers to be the first Curator of their own subgraph and thereby better participate in the economic success of their work.
- A cross-network team has completed a series of delegation experience enhancement workshops and shared their results with the community in the Forum. The prioritized list of enhancements informs core developers of how the Delegator community ranks the importance of different protocol upgrade suggestions.
Furthermore, The Graph community continues to collaborate with independent protocol developers, grantees and Indexers to develop critical tooling and resources to improve indexing experience and performance.
Improvements in Cost and Performance
With the help of the core developer teams, The Graph Network performance is improving! Recently StreamingFast shared their enhancements that could increase indexing speed by 300x. The Graph is continuing to prioritize indexing efficiency to improve subgraph developer productivity.
Low fees are another major incentive for developers to use The Graph. Unlike existing blockchain data service providers, developers pay query fees only for the particular data they consume through a Gateway. In addition, The Graph Network’s reliability allows developer teams to focus their efforts on building their dapp rather than back-end infrastructure or servers, saving on infrastructure and ops costs.
Over the last few months, the network has seen query fees range between 0.00002 GRT and 0.0002 GRT per query, indicating that Indexers are beginning to price queries differently as they are iterating their cost models. The cost per query is expected to change with the shift in network dynamics, such as increased migration, greater query volume and Indexers becoming more efficient in managing their operations. Indexers set query costs but must balance the price for their services with dapp’s price sensitivity.
Towards a Better and Brighter Future
The Graph is improving on multiple fronts to be the one-for-all indexing solution for a decentralized tomorrow.
The Graph community continues to play a crucial role in informing how the protocol grows and develops. Web3 aims to empower users by giving them full control of their data via a fully permissionless system, rather than have them be on the receiving end of centralized decision-makers. The success of a protocol is largely influenced by the quality of its user base, and The Graph’s early successes and momentum would have been impossible without its engaged community.
While the core developer teams work on a targeted set of changes that will make a big difference in the experience of using the network, The Graph is gearing up for a series of subgraph migrations to the decentralized network, a critical component of the Web3 vision. The Graph Foundation’s Workshops and The Arbitration Charter are further easing the operations in educating participants and resolving disputes respectively.
Through all these efforts, The Graph is positioning itself to be the catalyst for the adoption of Web3.
About The Graph
The Graph is the indexing and query layer of the decentralized web (Web3). Developers build and publish open APIs, called subgraphs, that applications can query using GraphQL. The Graph currently supports indexing data from 22 different networks including Ethereum, Arbitrium, Avalanche, Celo, Fantom, Moonbeam, IPFS, and PoA with more networks coming soon. To date, over 22,000 subgraphs have been deployed on the hosted service and now subgraphs can be deployed directly on the network! Over 23,000 developers have built subgraphs for applications, such as Uniswap, Synthetix, Foundation, Zora, KnownOrigin, Gnosis, Balancer, Livepeer, DAOstack, Audius, Decentraland, and many others.
If you are a developer building an application or Web3 application, you can use subgraphs for indexing and querying data from blockchains. The Graph allows applications to efficiently and performantly present data in a UI and allows other developers to use your subgraph too! You can deploy a subgraph to the network using the newly launched Subgraph Studio or query existing subgraphs that are in the Graph Explorer. The Graph would love to welcome you to be Indexers, Curators and/or Delegators on The Graph’s mainnet. Join The Graph community by introducing yourself in The Graph Discord for technical discussions, join The Graph’s Telegram chat, or follow The Graph on Twitter! The Graph’s developers and members of the community are always eager to chat with you, and The Graph ecosystem has a growing community of developers who support each other.
The Graph Foundation oversees The Graph Network. The Graph Foundation is overseen by the Technical Council. Edge & Node, StreamingFast and Figment are three of the many organizations within The Graph ecosystem.