GIP-0059: Disable subgraph owner tax when publishing a new version

GIP: “0059”
Title: Disable subgraph owner tax when publishing a new version
Authors: Ariel Barmat, Adam Fuller
Created: 2023-08-05
Updated: 2023-08-05
Stage: Candidate
Category: Economic Parameters


We propose setting the owner tax on the GNS to 0%, effectively disabling this mechanism that works any time a subgraph owner publishes a new version.


The idea of introducing an “owner tax” was to prevent a grieving attack in which a subgraph owner repeatedly publishes new versions and then drains its curators via the “curation tax”.

The consequence is that it also introduces friction every time an honest subgraph owner updates their versions:

  • They need to have GRT available in the wallet everytime they publish a new version. This in addition to having ETH to pay for transaction fees.

  • Mental cost of planning the amount of GRT they need for paying the tax. If the curation pool is big enough it can amount to a high value.

Our belief is that this adds unnecessary high friction for little gain considering the reality of the curation market.

Our observation about how the curation market developed in the last two years shows that subgraph owners do most of their own curation as they are naturally incentivized to have their subgraph indexed on the network. Additionally, we believe that if a subgraph owner misbehave it will be penalized by curators and they will then be more careful at verifying the accounts that create those subgraphs before supporting them.


The protocol introduces a number of parameters to protect against undesired effects that can affect participants. One of such is the ownerTax which is intended to protect against a rogue subgraph owner draining the curation pool by repeated version updates.

To disable the ownerTax, governance must execute a transaction on the GNS contract GNS.setOwnerTaxPercentage(0) that will then emit the event ParameterUpdated("ownerTaxPercentage"). Any further call to GNS.publishNewVersion() will not require to pull GRT.

Participants involved in this proposal:

  • Subgraph Owner: The account that owns the admin right to publish new versions on any particular subgraph.
  • Subgraph Curator: Participant that deposits GRT into a subgraph curation pool to support its indexing.
  • Governance: The Graph Council.

Backwards Compatibility

The change does not break any interface and only requires a governance action.

Risks and Security Considerations

There is a risk of a Subgraph owner to publish new versions multiple times which will gradually drain the curation pool for that subgraph via the charing of the curation tax. This can happen at no gain for the attacker because the funds collected through the tax are fully burned. We will continue monitoring usage and behaviour to understand if this becomes an issue and will propose follow up changes as required.

Rationale and Alternatives

An alternative would be to remove the owner tax functionality entirely via a protocol upgrade. We believe that is not necessary as setting it to 0% will avoid the code branch entirely and leave the door open to restoring it. Governance can remove the parameter implementation on a successive upgrade once the belief behind the motivation is proven.

Copyright Waiver

Copyright and related rights waived via CC0.


I think this will be a useful improvement for subgraph developers.
Since it’s only a configuration change, we should be able to roll it out very quickly if the Council approves it.

Considering rewards on Arbitrum One are increasing to 50% of the total on September 25th, I would propose making this an L2-only change. L1 subgraph owners that want to take advantage of the tax removal can transfer their subgraphs to L2 and perform owner-tax-free upgrades there. This will add to other incentives for subgraph owners to move to L2, which is becoming more and more important as Indexers and Delegators start to transfer their stake.

How does this sound?


More incentives to move to L2 the better.