This month in Graph Indexing - December 2021 Edition

Welcome to This Month in Graph Indexing where we look back at the last month and highlight the most interesting happenings in The Graph Indexer community.

:angel:t2: The Graph Network turned 1 years old on December 17th :angel:t2:

A year after launch, The Graph Network has blossomed into a vibrant ecosystem collaborating on organizing data for web3. The next year looks even brighter.

December 17th marked one year since the launch of The Graph Network - the web3 revolution is well underway! Celebrations of the Network anniversary happened all around the globe — in Buenos Aires, Bangalore, Lagos, Montreal, San Francisco, and New York.

The Graph Network saw vibrant participation across stakeholder groups. There are now 160 Indexers, 7,400+ Delegators, and 2,200+ Curators live on the network. There’s 2.8B GRT staked on Indexers and 3M+ GRT signalled on 200+ subgraphs making The Graph one of the most used crypto protocols in the world. The community organizes through The Forum, Community Calls, and Core Devs Meetings where participants make their voices heard and contribute to the evolution of the protocol.

The Graph’s community is working to radically improve the web3 stack over the next year. The core dev teams are working on new features that will make it easier for developers to build great user experiences on a fully decentralized stack. Don’t worry if you don’t understand what all of these things mean, you can still follow along in the community to see the impact of development. Subgraph composition and data pipelines will make it easier to build subgraphs that link and aggregate data across data sources. Parallelization will significantly speed up indexing performance which will make ingesting data a lot faster. An updated GraphQL API will give developers more powerful ways to query relational data. The Graph is also expanding to support indexing of multiple blockchains and Layer 2s for scalability. In addition to Ethereum compatible networks, NEAR support was recently launched and Solana, Cosmos, and Polkadot integrations are on the way. Web3 also requires access to off-chain data from places like storage networks and peer-to-peer databases. The Graph is working to bridge the off-chain and on-chain data worlds. This type of composition and unification is important for building full-featured APIs for NFTs, DAOs, Social, DeFi, and every future web3 use case.

The Graph’s decentralized network is a step-change improvement in how internet infrastructure services are delivered. Having a large network of independent node operators ensures that data access is always fast, reliable, and secure. Over 1.5B queries per day are still going through the hosted service and need to migrate to the decentralized network. The community has been active in improving protocol mechanisms like subgraph publishing and curation. Upgrades in these areas are being tested and are working their way through the governance process. Once these changes are integrated, they should make using the decentralized network as effortless as using the hosted service. From there, the community can work to migrate remaining subgraphs to the decentralized network. These improvements to the protocol, combined with the new subgraph functionality, should set every web3 developer up for success and give us the tools we need to build a global graph of all of the world’s public knowledge and information, organized and served in a decentralized way.

Next year is set to be another transformational one. The web3 stack is giving crypto entrepreneurs a new platform to solve the world’s biggest challenges. People are ready to find new ways to coordinate and reimagine how we value contributions to society. Looking at all the activity across the space, it’s clear that we’ve reached escape velocity. It’s an exciting time. If you’re looking to get involved you’re not too late. The web3 revolution is just getting started.

:brain: The Graph Awards $60M Grant to Semiotic AI to Join The Graph as a Core Developer :brain:

The Semiotic team is joining The Graph as a core developer and being awarded a $60 million grant over 8 years to support protocol R&D. This grant reflects a deepening relationship between The Graph ecosystem and Semiotic AI, a startup that builds secure, autonomous agents for decentralized markets. While Semiotic has been a Graph Grantee and working closely with the Edge & Node team since March, the project will now also collaborate with other core dev teams and the rest of the community to build The Graph.

Semiotic AI, which was founded in 2020 by professionals with experience in AI and cryptography, has been contributing to The Graph core research including automation of query negotiations through reinforcement learning (RL), AI-based determination of query costs, and query latency prediction. The team also open sourced an Indexer Stress Test tool over the summer, and has built an AI-powered query generator that’s currently being heavily used and tested by other core devs!

To date, Semiotic AI has received over $700,000 in federal funding from the National Science Foundation and The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The company also received Wave 1 and 2 grants from The Graph Foundation.

Through the grant, Semiotic also aims to leverage reinforcement learning agents in simulations to inform future iterations of protocol economics, having recently started collaborating with other core researchers such as BlockScience and Prysm Group. Finally, Semiotic will work with other core devs on zk-SNARKs research to meet the needs of different use cases, like verifiable queries and the ability to prove receipts for micropayments. zk-SNARKs are a form of cryptographic zero-knowledge proof that enables a party to prove it has certain information, or has done a certain computation, without revealing what that information or computation was.

:brain: The Graph Foundation Awards $48M Grant to The Guild to Join The Graph as a Core Developer :brain:

The Graph Foundation is excited to announce that The Guild has been awarded a $48 million grant to contribute to subgraph and protocol R&D. The Guild was previously a Wave 1 Grantee building subgraph tooling, and is now committing to The Graph long-term to develop core subgraph features and bringing GraphQL to the masses in web3. The Guild is one of the top open-source developer groups in the GraphQL ecosystem and builds and maintains some of the most widely-used GraphQL tooling in the world.

The Guild will work with The Graph ecosystem over four years to develop new subgraph features such as subgraph composition, analytics, and mutations, as well as improve the GraphQL API and the subgraph developer environment. The Guild will also focus on improving Graph Node’s querying capabilities, enabling developers to more efficiently build feature-rich applications. The Guild will also collaborate with other core developers and The Graph Foundation to facilitate greater education and onboarding of web2 developers onto The Graph, by integrating these features into popular web2-focused GraphQL tools, as well as creating tailored educational videos.

The Guild’s Roadmap

Over the next four years, The Guild team will work on researching and implementing several subgraph features that will greatly improve functionality for dapp and subgraph developers in web3, including but not limited to:

  1. Schema Prototyper: collaborating with The Graph Foundation and other Core Dev teams to productize the Schema Prototyper (Wave 1 grant)
  2. Subgraph composition: developing capabilities for developers to consume data from multiple composed subgraphs
  3. Analytics and aggregation: designing and implementing a solution for data analytics and aggregations at index and query time
  4. Mutations: designing and implementing mutations as a supported GraphQL feature
  5. Subscriptions (v2): improving subscriptions functionalities in subgraphs for better retrieval of data in real-time
  6. The Graph GraphQL API: developing on the existing API with other Core Dev teams to unlock new features to improve subgraph devex
  7. Porting common GraphQL JS libraries to Rust: porting certain APIs to Rust to unlock integrations with Graph Node and other web3 protocols to allow for features like scheme stitching and transformations

In addition to these goals, The Guild will also be involved with the subgraph and dapp community to learn from developer needs and build the best API solutions for web3. The Guild will also share the results of ongoing R&D efforts, gathering general community feedback, educating major stakeholders on how to use newly implemented tools and features, as well as coordinating integration efforts into web3-focused graphQL clients to facilitate wider adoption.

:fire: The Graph announces future support for EIP-4444 :fire:

EIP-4444 is a hot topic in the Ethereum community as it would add history pruning to Ethereum clients. Requiring nodes to store less history would benefit validators by making it easier to sync and verify chain state - unlocking higher gas limits without sacrificing security. Higher gas limits add capacity for rollups, increasing Ethereum’s throughput and reducing transaction costs. It would also support greater decentralization as it would make sure that even as Ethereum state grows, people can continue to validate the chain on consumer grade hardware.

This proposal would however remove some functionality for Ethereum clients. Nodes would no longer be able to serve requests for historical data once pruned. Yet, many dapps require access to historical data from Ethereum to show past user behavior like user account balances, transactions, votes and similar from the distant past.

It’s important for the Ethereum community to always have reliable verifiable access to historical blockchain data. This is something The Graph community can support.

There are a few adjustments to the roadmap that will allow us to better serve this goal sooner. First, the community needs to ship an Ethereum Network Subgraph. Currently subgraphs are application-specific but we’ve been planning to also introduce network subgraphs that expose raw blockchain data like all the blocks, transactions, accounts, and logs. This Ethereum Network Subgraph would essentially be a superset of the JSON-RPC API with more advanced filtering, sorting, and pagination.

Next we need to support higher levels of Verifiable Indexing and Verifiable Queries on this raw blockchain data. Using validity proofs on the raw data gives us the same security guarantees as merkle proofs. And, fraud proofs for Indexing would reduce trust to the same 1-of-N model that light-clients have to rely on for an assumption of liveness in Ethereum. With these improvements The Graph Network will be able to ensure that verifiable access to historical Ethereum data is always available through an open marketplace.

:man_astronaut:t2: The Graph announced support for Aurora network :man_astronaut:t2:

This integration enables developers to use The Graph’s hosted service to deploy subgraphs on the Aurora network.

Aurora is a smart contract platform that uses DPOS & BFT consensus mechanisms to create lightning fast contracts

Some of the platform’s main goals, per its whitepaper:

  • creating better smart contracts
  • increasing transaction speeds
  • making building easier for devs

This integration allows developers to index Aurora chain data & create open APIs powered by The Graph, called subgraphs, on the Aurora network. This will make it possible for developers to continue building dapps that bring blockchain technology to the masses.

:woman_teacher:t2: The Graph Academy announced their own Grants program! :woman_teacher:t3:

To foster the growth of our community-driven platform, The Graph Academy is offering grants to contributors to incentivize the creation of high-quality educational material.

Currently, we are specifically looking for contributors who are interested in creating an Indexer Onboarding Course and a Subgraph Development Course. If you are interested, feel free to apply via the link below!

Indexer Onboarding Course -

Introduction to indexing and onboarding course for those interested in becoming Indexers which includes best practices for Indexers (infrastructure, troubleshooting, syncing, etc.)

Subgraph Development Course -

Introduction to subgraph development and onboarding course for those interested in developing a subgraph which includes best practices for developers

Make a Grant Suggestion!

Your area of expertise is not covered in the above-mentioned RFPs? Do you have an idea for a grant? If so, feel free to submit your idea via the form above or reach out via Discord

:black_circle: Graph Day was announced! June 2nd 2022 - Palace of Fine Arts - San Francisco :black_circle:

Save the date! Graph Day 2022 will take place on Thursday, June 2 next year.

Join builders, dreamers, & doers creating protocols, dapps, & the future of web3 at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

See you at Graph Day!

:man_astronaut:t2: Laura Shin published two informative Medium articles about The Graph and StreamingFast :man_astronaut:t2:

The articles are covering the two companies building out Web3 infrastructure:

Be sure to check them out! :eyes:

:two::zero::two::two: Looking forward to the next year! :two::zero::two::two:

2021 was an amazing year, but 2022 will be even more amazing, with lots of cool things to come, a ton of protocol updates and improvements, and more!

We’re coming back in full force next Tuesday on Indexers Office Hours #44, make sure you tune in on our Discord Stage!