Network Progress and Preparation for the Sunrise of Decentralized Data

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TL;DR - Core dev teams working on The Graph share their major accomplishments since Graph Day 2022, and the exciting new functionality coming to the network including scaling the network with Arbitrum, an improved & more convenient billing experience, and innovative ways to access blockchain data.

Introduction

In October 2022, the sunrise of decentralized data initiative was announced. The long-term goal of decentralized data is simple: to ensure that blockchain data can not only be written permissionlessly, but also read permissionlessly.

As subgraphs have become the industry standard for accessing blockchain data, it has been a major initiative of core dev teams to expand access to The Graph on many fronts, including chain availability, billing improvements, network functionality, and more.

This blog post is a progress report – and recognition – of the new features, functionality, and use cases developed on The Graph over the past year. Core dev teams and ecosystem contributors are delivering on the promises made during Graph Day by improving quality of service, cost of service, and developer experience to enhance the network. But it doesn’t stop there - many more improvements are coming.

Accomplishments

Adding more chains to the network

Thanks to the MIPs program and members of the Indexer community, support has been added for multiple blockchain ecosystems including Celo, Gnosis, Avalanche, Arbitrum One, Polygon, and Fantom.

The success of the MIPs program means that developers working on these chains can now leverage The Graph’s robust, reliable, and decentralized infrastructure powered by hundreds of independent Indexers across the world.

Fiat on-ramp with Banxa

The Graph is at the forefront of revolutionizing decentralized protocols, and its integration with Banxa as a fiat on-ramp truly exemplifies this. Being one of the first to natively integrate a fiat on-ramp, The Graph is not just transforming how new users are onboarded, but the protocol is also broadening access to blockchain data. By leveraging Banxa, users can acquire GRT using just a credit card, effectively eliminating the need to engage with exchanges.

The integration with Banxa simplifies the process of accessing blockchain data. With this monumental step, The Graph Network is shaping the future of user experience, striving to be on par with traditional SaaS models while preserving all the advantages of decentralization.

Scaling with Arbitrum

Of the many achievements since Graph Day 2022, scaling the network with Arbitrum stands out as the most ambitious. The transition began by moving the billing contract to Arbitrum One. Now, all core smart contracts powering the network have been re-deployed, and network participants will soon begin using L2 transfer tools to use The Graph on Arbitrum. Additionally, Indexing rewards have been enabled and are expected to increase as network participation continues to expand.

File Data Sources

NFTs represent a crucial component of web3. Graph Node has been updated to include support for querying off-chain data on IPFS. Now, developers can not only query their NFT smart contract’s events, but also the IPFS metadata. This improvement lays the foundation for other off-chain data such as Arweave, HTTP, and more! However, this hasn’t been the only breakthrough achievement for Graph Node.

Graph Node improvements

Core dev teams working on The Graph have been working tirelessly to add more functionality to Graph Node, enabling new ways to query data more efficiently. In addition to File Data Sources, functionality for and/or filters and nested queries have also been released! Another important development has been adding support for GraphQL Validations. These features make it easier to query, sort, and aggregate data.

Network quality of service

The Graph’s decentralized network has also improved its quality of service in terms of the query success rate, median latency, and overall uptime. In fact, The Graph Network is out-performing the hosted service by a significant margin - proving that decentralized protocols can surpass centralized alternatives.

Graph Client

Core dev teams are persistently striving to elevate tooling and meet evolving demands of the decentralized web. Subgraph Studio is using Graph Client, and The Graph’s front-end tooling has seen notable enhancements, transforming how users can interact with the protocol. For instance, the introduction of @live queries enabled real-time data fetching for more dynamic and responsive applications. The ability to combine multiple subgraphs significantly also streamlines data aggregation and manipulation.

Another noteworthy achievement is resolving the network's 'block wobbling' issue. In the past, sequential queries would sometimes lead to inconsistent results, with newer blocks resolving before older ones. Thanks to the relentless pursuit of network stability, the protocol has mitigated this issue, ensuring queries resolve in the correct order, enhancing overall network consistency. This accomplishment underpins the commitment to delivering a reliable, user-friendly experience on The Graph, enabling developers to focus on what truly matters: building powerful, decentralized applications.

New Indexer tooling

Graphcast Network is a revolutionary peer-to-peer communication tool that addresses the challenge of excessive gas fees faced by Indexers. It enables real-time information exchange in a decentralized and distributed manner, providing a cost-effective solution. With an optional off-chain infrastructure layer, Indexers can now exchange messages at a negligible cost, unlocking new possibilities for inexpensive collaboration.

One key feature is the ability to create Radios, powered by gossip protocols, allowing Indexers to share specific data seamlessly. Examples of Radios include conducting auctions, coordinating warp syncing, and self-reporting on analytics. The POI Radio, developed by GraphOps, ensures real-time cross-checking of subgraph data integrity. These tools are being refined and enhanced to revolutionize the tech stack for Indexers on The Graph.

Improved automation tooling for Indexers

Many of the largest Indexers use AutoAgora and AllocationOpt to help set query prices and to choose which subgraphs to index. Ultimately, these tools solve difficult optimization problems for Indexers, and their use results in more Indexer profit and operations that are beneficial for the protocol. During the past year, improvements to AutoAgora and AllocationOpt have made them easier to use and more robust.

Substreams

Substreams have reached general availability, marking a significant milestone in development for The Graph Network. Substreams offer powerful blockchain indexing technology, enabling developers to compose data streams using Rust modules and achieve high-performance indexing through parallelization. Substreams already support Ethereum and Polygon networks, providing benefits like low-cost caching, archiving of blockchain data, and cursor-based reorg handling.

Substreams unlock new possibilities for accessing blockchain data. For example, Substreams make it possible to record all ERC-20 Ethereum events, or record all Uniswap events into a database. Substreams also stand to power SQL as a data service on The Graph Network.

Firehose

The community’s relentless pursuit of innovation has led to the incorporation of Firehose, a groundbreaking technology that enhances the performance of blockchain data processing. A number of our Indexers have already begun using Firehose, progressively replacing the traditional JSON-RPC with this more dynamic and efficient technology. Firehose extracts and processes blockchain data in a streaming-first and files-based approach. Its impressive scalability and ability to integrate with multiple chains make it a game-changer, offering greater flexibility to developers.

With Firehose, subgraph syncing times are significantly reduced, leading to an unprecedented boost in speed and performance of data availability across various blockchains. Moreover, the optimized interface reduces infrastructure costs, making it a cost-effective solution for blockchain data management. Designed to increase efficiency and performance, Firehose serves as the new standard for blockchain data extraction, underlining The Graph's commitment to driving the evolution of Web3 infrastructure. By replacing the original blockchain data extraction layer, Firehose stands as a new cornerstone in The Graph's data management capabilities.

And while Firehose is actively revolutionizing data efficiency on The Graph, many more exciting improvements are coming!

What’s Coming Next?

Despite The Graph ecosystem being made up of a diverse set of independent contributors, the community is laser-focused on iterating and improving. Core dev teams and ecosystem contributors working on The Graph are focusing their efforts on the following areas.

Finalize the move to Arbitrum One

As The Graph becomes the industry standard for accessing blockchain data, an important step for the community is to fully transition from Ethereum mainnet to Arbitrum One. Hence, a focus on L2 transfer tools will facilitate all network participants to easily make the move to L2.

Enable all blockchain networks on the decentralized network

The Graph’s vision is to enable access to blockchain data across all web3 networks. Initially, The Graph’s decentralized network launched in 2020 with support for Ethereum mainnet. Now, six entire blockchain networks have been enabled, along with a forthcoming process that will enable anyone to propose adding a new chain to the network..

Unify protocol interactions in a single dapp with Subgraph Studio V2

Core dev teams are unifying the UI for interacting with The Graph protocol. Soon, Subgraph Studio will be home for both hosted service subgraphs and subgraphs on The Graph Network!

Improved billing experience

Core dev teams are working to implement more functionality and options to pay for queries. A tiered subscription service is in development, enabling data consumers to lock in a set number of queries at a fixed monthly rate. Consumers will be able to access the data they need with recurring payments using GRT, stablecoins on Arbitrum, or fiat via Banxa. Core dev teams also plan on developing managed subgraphs that will feature built-in curation, making it quick and convenient for Indexers to begin serving queries on subgraphs.

Core dev teams are also working toward the implementation for the Timeline Aggregation Protocol (TAP) which improves the efficiency of the payment system. This payment channel will support all future data services including SQL, Json-RPC, and Substreams.

World of data services

Substreams-powered subgraphs are also on the horizon! This will bring substantial performance enhancements, ensuring rapid and seamless data processing like never before. As core devs continue to refine and elevate network efficiencies, Substreams-powered subgraphs will push the boundaries of what’s possible in indexing performance and blockchain data management.

Core dev teams are also working on Substreams as data sources on The Graph Network. This revolutionary upgrade promises significantly improved access to blockchain data, enabling an optimized, streamlined interface for developers. This advancement encapsulates The Graph's ethos of constant evolution and innovation, designed to bring the vision to life.

In addition to Substreams, core dev teams are also working on improvements for Firehose, which is already being used in production in select web3 data projects. Core dev teams are working towards incorporating Firehose into more blockchain networks on The Graph. As it becomes more readily integrated with the existing tech stack, accessing blockchain data will become a seamless, streamlined experience for developers across the broader web3 ecosystem. Firehose is also becoming a data source on the network.

Final thoughts

Looking ahead, The Graph will continue to pursue a future where the ethos of web3 — uncompromised decentralization — is fully realized. A future where access to blockchain data is both transparent and resilient, with no single point of failure. This is the vision the core dev teams and ecosystem contributors are dedicated to bringing to fruition, and their relentless efforts are shaping the building blocks of this new reality.

But this is just the beginning. The evolution of blockchain data management is well underway, and The Graph remains at the vanguard of this revolution.

Interested in shaping the future of The Graph? Voice your thoughts in The Graph forum or on Discord!

About The Graph

The Graph is the source of data and information for the decentralized internet. As the original decentralized data marketplace that introduced and standardized subgraphs, The Graph has become web3’s method of indexing and accessing blockchain data. Since its launch in 2018, tens of thousands of developers have built subgraphs for dapps across 40+ blockchains - including  Ethereum, Arbitrum, Optimism, Base, Polygon, Celo, Fantom, Gnosis, and Avalanche.

As demand for data in web3 continues to grow, The Graph enters a New Era with a more expansive vision including new data services and query languages, ensuring the decentralized protocol can serve any use case - now and into the future.

Discover more about how The Graph is shaping the future of decentralized physical infrastructure networks (DePIN) and stay connected with the community. Follow The Graph on X, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, and Medium. Join the community on The Graph’s Telegram, join technical discussions on The Graph’s Discord.

The Graph Foundation oversees The Graph Network. The Graph Foundation is overseen by the Technical Council. Edge & Node, StreamingFast, Semiotic Labs, The Guild, Messari, GraphOps, Pinax and Geo are eight of the many organizations within The Graph ecosystem.


Category
Graph Protocol
Author
The Graph Foundation
Published
June 7, 2023

The Graph Foundation

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