The Graph Network launched its mainnet on Dec. 17, allowing developers to easily search, index, use and publish data from public blockchains.
This is made possible through a global and open network of Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, called subgraphs. These form the basis of many of today’s most popular decentralized applications.
The transparency of public blockchains is often lauded, but even though they contain a wealth of useful data, querying them for data is not particularly easy. The Graph’s business development lead Tegan Kline describes it as, “kind of like the web without Google.”
One may think why this is necessary. After all, there are plenty of analytical tools out there already which can pull useful information from blockchain data.
But these applications generally work in a centralized way, and likely took months of development work to build. The Graph sees itself not as a competitor, but as a facilitator to these tools. Kline told Cointelegraph:
“The Graph is not an analytics company. We expect analytics companies to spin up on The Graph, as The Graph allows them to easily pull data from the blockchain. You can think of The Graph as an open data layer on top of the blockchain.”
Anybody can create and publish their own API for use by the community, receiving a portion of the fees when that subgraph is queried. All query fees and rewards are made in Graph Tokens (GRT) which have also gone live with the mainnet.
Some of the projects that have been using The Graph in its pre-mainnet “hosted” form include Uniswap, Aave, Synthetix, CoinMarketCap, Chainlink and CoinGecko.
In fact, the 3800+ subgraphs currently deployed include 21 of the top 25 DeFi apps. UniSwap founder Hayden Adams explained the appeal of using the project:
“The Graph has done great work so far in making smart contract data easy to monitor and use. The design of the new system will attract more developers to build their own subgraphs, leading to better access to information. Once we know more, we can build better.”