Episode 02: Today I’m speaking with Derek Silva, founder of CommComm, a community growth agency. Derek is regularly found in The Graph’s Telegram group, or in The Graph’s Discord, answering questions, moderating dialogue, and helping to build a more informed and well-supported community. During the conversation, I ask Derek about his role as a community manager, the most common questions he receives from the community, and how he thinks about The Graph’s role within the crypto industry. Given Derek’s unique experience, I assumed the best place to start the conversation was by asking him to explain how The Graph’s community is different from others he’s worked with within the crypto space.
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Compared to lot of these other solutions that exist today, I just don’t see why you’d use anything else. So as blockchains and smart contracts and decentralized apps proliferate over the next few years, which I do believe will happen. I think The Graph will be involved in every major dApp that people actually care about, and probably almost every other one. Welcome to the GRTiQ podcast.
Today I’m speaking with Derek Silva, founder of CommComm, a community growth agency, Derek is regularly found and The Graphs Telegram group, or in The Graph Discord, answering questions, moderating dialogue, and helping to build a more informed and well supported community. Given Derek’s unique experience, assumed the best place to start the conversation was by asking him to explain how The Graphs community is different from others he’s worked with in the crypto space.
I think the biggest difference is that there’s a role for everyone to play. It’s not just we’re the developers, you the users, you know, any almost anybody, if you have, if you have the technical knowledge, and enough funds to get it up and running, anybody can be an Indexer. Anybody can be your Curator, quite literally, anybody can be a Delegator. And any app developer interested in building a decentralized app can use The Graph today. So regardless of and of course, everybody else is just using it without realizing it. So there’s a there’s a place for everyone to be an active participant in the ecosystem. And I think that’s really unique. And that’s and you know, obviously, that’s outside of governance. And then you also get to vote if you have some GRT. And you’re using it, you also get to vote. So not only do you get to earn revenue, potentially from participating, you also get to decide the direction or help decide the direction that it goes in. So there’s just you know, the opportunities are literally just there waiting for you. So there’s nothing stopping you from being an active participants. Regardless of your of your education level, all you need is a computer and an internet connection and a little bit of money to you know, acquire some GRT and some ether today at least, so that you can interact directly.
Can you take another moment and explain in greater detail your role as community leader in a project like The Graph?
Sure, so mostly, I’m trying to keep the peace between individuals who might be getting at each other, for one reason or another. And of course, making sure people have the information they have in order to make informed decisions about whether to participate in The Graphs network, which is really the goal, right? Whether you want to be a Delegator, or a Curator, or maybe an Indexer although that might be a lofty goal right now, for some individuals, including myself, it’s really important that everybody has the information, the right information, in order to make those decisions. And so you probably have noticed, you know, we’re really, really honest with people about gas fees, and you know, the impact they have on making that decision to delegate GRT to an Indexer you know, what role Curators Delegators and Indexers play in the fact that they all play together in the same sandbox and benefit each other in a variety of ways. And, a term I’ve used a lot in terms of community is ‘Feeding the beast’. You know, people want to be kept informed. They want to know what’s going on. They want those answers to the questions they have. And so it’s our jobs as community managers or moderators to make sure that they have that information. And that when something is ready to be made known that we make it known right away through the channels where people are, as opposed to making them come to us. So The Graph in particular is on Reddit. It’s on Discord. It’s on Telegram. It’s got a Twitter account. And those are for the people who would be attracted to this sort of thing. That’s the vast majority of the venues where they, they come together. So yeah, that’s kind of you know, I see that as, as a shepherding or, you know, communications type role for the most part, little bit of customer service built in, of course, and just making sure people, you might have seen that they’re generally being polite to each other. If not, if not nice, we can be tough. You know, we can be tough with each other, but also fair, and engage in a meaningful and in a respectful manner, which doesn’t always happen, especially around Graph Improvement Proposals (GIP) most recently, but yeah, it’s important to have somebody keeping the peace and keeping try to keep everything aboveboard. So that’s me Zuni, Wasi and Ghosem. That’s, that’s really our role.
So is there a formal agreement between you and The Graph? Or how does that work?
Yeah, so full disclosure, yes, I’m compensated for my time, you know, there’s a lot of time spent behind the scenes, not just, you know, in the public forums, engaging with people, you know, making sure that questions that haven’t come up before that there is a response either from the foundation, or from Edge & Node since they play such a leading role still at this point. And, you know, it’s an honor to work with, with people like Tegan, and Yaniv, and Carl and Yanis. Because they are obviously incredibly bright. They’ve built something that is incredibly important to read decentralizing the web. And while I’m, you know, compensated for the time, it’s still it’s still a privilege to be able to do that. And even if I, even if I wasn’t compensated, I’d still be in there helping people out because, you know, it’s something I really care about.
That’s interesting. Let’s talk more about that, outside of your professional commitments. Why do you feel a personal draw to The Graph?
Because having worked at a digital agency for several years, myself, I know just how hard it can be to build the types of things that people want, in a centralized way, you know ‘old way’ or the traditional way I’ll say… versus the complications that come with trying to get data from the block from the blockchain directly. We’ve seen some facetious, you know, sarcastic remarks, that make a really good point about how we’ll see sarcastic posts about like how The Graph isn’t needed, because, you know, I could just run a query and in a few days, I’ll get the response. Like, that’s quick enough. That’s exactly what it’s been like. And you can see the firsthand accounts from the teams that Uniswap and mStable and foundation and elsewhere, where they rely on some sort of indexing protocol. If it wasn’t The Graph, they’d be going out and either building their own thing, which of course, completely detracts from the core decentralized app that they’re trying to build and the core protocol that they’re trying to build, or, you know, they’d be relying on some sort of centralized solution, which, of course, can go down at any time, if Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure can have downtime, which they do, or VH, one of the world’s largest data center providers can have a fire in one of their data centers that, you know, literally takes massive websites offline, which literally just happened, it just goes to show how important decentralized solutions are to these problems. And, and something faster and quicker, like nobody, nobody wants, you know, Uniswap.info doesn’t really work without that data being indexed, right, all those transactions and all those token queries and everything else, you can do it but it is much, much harder, it takes much longer and in a completely detracts from Uniswap ability to just build a great AMM, so yeah, we just we kind of can’t live without it at this point. Whether it’s The Graph or something else, it’s absolutely necessary. And for that reason, and a lot of others, I’m sure centralized app developers are relying on it, and will continue to rely on it as far as I can tell for the foreseeable future. So it’s, it’s a key part of some of the dAppps I use every other day right now. And if that were to go away, that would really suck to be honest.
So let’s talk about some of the most common questions you receive as you act as community manager in The Graphs Telegram group, or in The Graph Discord.
I’ll stick to the ones that I’m allowed to answer because, of course, every any organization, you know, operating, at any level, has rules and regulations that need to adhere to, you’ve probably seen yourself, you know, there are certain things we avoid, or we remind people that there are rules and you know, certain niche, certain topics we can talk about in the official venues and platforms. But, you know, besides those more speculative related ones, a lot of people just you know, they want to know, you know, when is The Graph going to support their favorite blockchain. So whether that’s Binance Smart Chain (BSC), or NEAR or Bitcoin or Cardano comes up really often, for a variety of reasons. They want to know that basically Want to know, you know, how far How deep is The Graph gonna go in indexing? What are we adding, you know, 15 to 20, potentially viable layer-one blockchains. The hosted service code does quite a bit already. But obviously that needs to be decentralized as well to the Indexers. Because the hosting service already does Binance Smart Chain (BSC), Fantom supports Fuse, it supports Polygon, which is a layer-two scaling solution. And it’s kind of going down the same path as Cosmos with their IBC. So you can have Polygon chains interacting with each other incredibly inexpensively as opposed to having to come back to Ethereum. And then back to another layer-two, that’s a big one, you know, when is it going to support X blockchain? Besides that, you know, obviously, a lot of questions right now about when more subgraphs are going to migrate to the decentralized network. So that Indexers are responsible for handling the queries for those subgraphs. I don’t have any secret answers at this point. But that’s a big one that comes up. And then we actually get, you know, whether it’s in Telegram or Discord, we get a lot of people asking questions about how to do certain things like how to, you know, where do I learn Graph QL? How do I how do I change the code to look at Binance Smart Chain (BSC) instead of Ethereum? You know, we get people who are, I don’t know what skill level development they’re at. But they’re coming in and asking questions about how to do all sorts of things with their, with the actual code, because they’re trying to build a dApp. And then of course, we have Curators who are people who want to be Curators who are saying, you know, when can I use a dApp to curate, and you know, curate more subgraphs. And ultimately, that’ll probably come roughly around the same time when we know more. subgraphs are actually migrating to the decentralized network, because that will be the time to go out and actually curate, you know, signal on those subgraphs that they are worth indexing. Those I’d say, are probably the four most common questions that come up.
For anyone who wants to understand The Graph, they need to start with understanding two important terms. What a dApp is and what a subgraph is. So how would you define a dApp?
At the end of the day, a dApp should be an app that is hosted in a decentralized manner. So there’s a service called fleek. It’s spelled exactly the way it sounds like my hair is on fleek, that sort of thing. Fleek.co which will take your dApp or take your app. And upload it to the Inter Planetary File System IPFS, which is a decentralized file storage system. And that essentially, you know, prevents a downtime. Because if there’s an issue on one server or one computer that’s hosting your app, that’s fine. You know, there’s another place to get those files and still use the app. So you know, it’s not perfect, you know, things can still go wrong, especially if there’s a problem with your code. But a dApp is ideally an app that is hosted in a decentralized way and interacts with smart contracts and a wallet. Right? So it’s really taking full advantage of the capabilities of building on Ethereum or NEAR or Solana or CELO or some other, you know, layer-one or layer-two blockchain and giving you all the capabilities that you would never be able to do before without a username and a password. And any a lot of this stuff that we’re used to.
Let’s define a subgraph. How would you explain what a subgraph is?
Oh, good question. A subgraph. A subgraph defines the type of data that an Indexer is going to index for you. So for example, it could be all the wallets that own a particular ERC-20 token. That’s all you want to do. It could be all the transactions and all the wallets for an ERC 20 token. It could have to do with transfers of a particular NFT Non-fungible Token. So like a Crypto Kitty, for example. Yeah, it can be all sorts of things. It could be in mStables case, it could be the Annual Percentage Yield (APY) generated on a particular day, based on a variety of factors. All sorts of things can be defined in a subgraph. And basically, it’s whatever data you want to show in an app or dApp, you need to define in the subgraph so that you can then query it. So developers will obviously have all sorts of ideas on what data they want to show. I’ve seen lots of cases where users come in and say, ‘Hey, is it possible to show this other thing?’, and the developer thinks about it a little bit, and they come back, and they’re like, ‘Yeah, actually, that’s a great idea!’. And within a day or two, it’s done, as opposed to, because the data obviously already exists. You need to make a quick change to the subgraph. Write a new query, and then you know, expose that query to the dApp and, you know, you’ve got all this amazing addition amazing data that already existed, but otherwise would we would be incredibly difficult to identify and sort and expose. And then of course, it would be days old by the time you did all that. So, yeah, that’s essentially what a subgraph is.
So subgraphs are very important. And they’ll become more important as more of them move from the hosted service to the mainnet. How do you think things will change? Once all those subgraphs migrate over to the mainnet?
Honestly, I think that’s where we’re when we’re really going to find out which Indexers are best, right now delegating to an Indexer, or a lot of people rely on using some third party built, some community built calculators to figure out, you know, who’s going to give me the most GRT at the end of the day, right? I delegate 1000 GRT or 5000 GRT. And I want to know, who’s going to give me a 30 or 40, or 50% APY? That totally makes sense. I don’t blame them for thinking that way. I did the same thing. But I did I first I did that, knowing that eventually I’m gonna have to, you know, probably make some changes. And that’s totally fine. Like it that’s kind of to be expected. At this point, people are acting very much rationally and in their best interest. And I don’t think anybody blames them for doing that. But really, you know, there are there are some Indexers who have massive own stakes, right, they’ve got 10 million, maybe 100 million GRT, staked on their own, which, of course, means that they can support like a billion additional GRT delegated to them, because the max is 16 times what yourself with your own stake is, you know, that means that they’re giving you great rewards on Indexer rewards, potentially, but it doesn’t mean they’re going to be really good Indexers. And that they’re actually going to provide a great service for the queries themselves. So all really, you know, something to really watch out for us to actually, when this move starts, and I suspect it’ll be more low traffic subgraphs at first, to make sure everything’s super stable, and working as expected, the Uniswap subgraph will probably be one of the last to move over, if not the last because it is a beast. I’ve seen the transaction volumes. It is its heavy. So you know you we really more I’m sure the team and the foundation want to really make sure that Indexers can handle it before that happens, but in between now and then, you know, you have some really, highly queried obviously popular because it’s not a popularity contest, but some other subgraphs they get lots of queries per day, if not, you know, and plenty per hour as well. So we’re going to start with, I think they’re going to start with some more low volume, subgraphs. But you know, shortly after that happens, we’re really going to see who’s a great Indexer Is it protofire? Is it p2p is that steak squid, you know, is it one of these other ones, we really don’t know. But what that’ll be that’ll be a really exciting time, to be honest is the see, you know, who’s dialed in who’s tuned their hardware and software to make sure that it is, you know, as responsive as possible, you know, who’s closer to the gateways, because there’s, at least for now, there’s, you know, gateways running in between to make sure that that queries get routed to the closest Indexer, depending on where the user is versus where, where the nearest Indexer is. So if you’re in Germany, obviously, you want your query, you know, when you load up, you know, swapped out info you want that query to go to the nearest data center is it in maybe it’s in Germany, maybe it’s in the Netherlands, maybe it’s in France, you want it to go to the nearest one. So that’ll help keep speed for now, which is still, you know, slightly centralized, obviously, not ideal, you know, there’s, there’s going to be that running for now. You know, over time, we’ll get to 100% decentralization, and, and that journey between now and then is really the most exciting part. It’s been tons of fun, being part of the token sale, and just before that, and posts the main that launch in this beta phase. But really, the next phase of growth is probably the most exciting because after that, you kind of end up in stabilization land. And, you know, just getting your GRT as a Delegator and you know, trying to pick the best Indexers based on which one which subgraph they are indexing and how many queries those are producing, and whether they can handle that load, as opposed to Oh, who’s giving me the biggest APY based on index of rewards that honestly, frankly, that’s boring, it’s step 0.1 of, you know, probably the next 10 steps.
Lots of Delegators are interested in knowing more about how The Graph is currently being used in the market. Can you give some examples of how we might interact or see The Graph being used in the market?
Yeah, I’ve mentioned a few already. mStable.app, posted on IPFS uses The Graph to so basically every piece of data that you see there whether it’s token prices for stable-coins or the analytics dashboard in particular I think the link is in the footer there that is all driven by The Graph all that data is queried through the through mStable subgraph to right now the hosted service Indexer and then brought to you to back to your face today you can actually see it through The Graph. Uniswap.info tons and tons and tons of data about Uniswap ecosystem liquidity pools token depth all sorts of things that’s all through The Graph or at least 99% of it is comes through The Graph that use as you can imagine and as far as I know is still the most heavily queried subgraph because of all the data that exists there SushiSwap (SUSHI) uses it and Matcha uses it and that’s a decentralized exchange aggregator Foundation.app you know one of these relatively new Non Fungible Token dApps where you can see really well known artists and the NFT’s that they’re auctioning off that runs I know on The Graph there’s all sorts of examples that you’ll just run into on a day to day basis and I know that there are dApps in development now that hopefully will be really popular and are relying on The Graph for data.
Do you have any concerns about present or future competitors to The Graph?
it’s a good question because you know solutions like Dune Analytics and Parsec and then you know people have asked about Bluzelle in the past they exist Dune Analytics as a centralized service does some really cool stuff but I haven’t seen anybody take that data and then you know reexpose it in their own format the way people do with The Graph it’s very much like login you know figure out how to do this SQL query and dunes interface and then you make like a dashboard in Dunes interface so it’s all duneanalytics.com/blah blah blah that’s cool and that works you know on a on a in a way that you can keep track of stuff if you are technically inclined but the free service is incredibly limiting there’s a paid service that I think starts at $50 a month so you know if you’re just doing stuff for fun on your own clearly you don’t want to pay that you know it’s unlikely you want to pay that $50 a month similar to Parsec you know I think they’ve got a free level but with any centralized service or with any you know service that makes you pay for access to the data there’s always limitations I investigated them a few times last year when people were really just starting to learn about The Graph and the token sale just been announced and I was answering those sorts of questions about like how does it compare to Dune how does it compare to parsec and in my mind I still came out on the other end thinking The Graph is still the superior solution so you know the maybe Dune Parsec Bluzelle etc maybe they’ll change things up and become more reliable or go decentralized or something like that and they’re gonna have to deal with all the exact same things that The Graph has already been overcoming or you know potentially try to fork all the code and do it do it on their own which I don’t think would be smart you know you’re trying to recreate an entire ecosystem of developers and Indexers and Curators and Delegator so it’s just not nearly as simple as anybody would like it to be to simply fork somebodies code and you know start over again and think you can do it better than the team who already did it so again it’s not really something I’m worried about. Hi this is Derek Silva with CommComm if my conversation with the GRTiQ podcast has been helpful to you please consider supporting future episodes by becoming a subscriber visit GRTiQ.com/podcast for more information on GRTiQ.com slash podcast thanks for listening.
Sometimes we characterize the relationship between Indexers and Delegators as a business relationship how do you feel about that characterization or how would you describe it
Yeah I think that’s a fair characterization overall I think there’s a little bit more camaraderie than that but you know certainly if you’re not in the community engaging you know every other day like a lot of other people that’s fine and you know you’re going to act on whatever information you can get from graphscan.io from depth query from you know all these some of these other community built tools And that’s totally cool. Whereas if you’re in the community, you’re in the Discord, or in the Telegram, or even on the subreddit. And you’re engaging with some of the Indexers I mentioned earlier, and some others, fat-talks, cryptovestor, or wavefive, rather, you know, these are, these are people who have been spending their own money for the last six to eight months, been running the testnet, and now running, they’re part of the mainnet, and are super engaged. And so I just talked to them sometimes, you know, we don’t we don’t always talk about The Graph, I’ve exchanged private messages with Indexerpain from steaksquid, from with Jim from wave five, also known as cryptovestor, fat ox back in the fall, you know, before before things got really rockin. And they’re nice people and, and so that’s always, you know, a good thing to see. And if you’re on the forum, especially those conversations get deep, and they get technical, and and you can tell that they are really thinking about the overall health of the protocol, I would argue, I know that there are some others who feel otherwise right now. But yeah, you know, it’s Yes, there’s a business relationship. But I like to think there’s also this sense of, we’re all in this together. So you know, let’s move forward together, as opposed to sniping at each other over, you know, what I would argue are very, very short term issues that are largely going to get resolved, either through governance, or through further decentralization, and, and you know, more of subgraphs moving to the mainnet, and you know, everything else that’s going to happen next. So, yeah, I think a lot of the angst is very temporary. And certainly this level of centralization with a hosted service handling, the vast majority of subgraphs is very temporary. You know, if you’re, if you’re focusing on the next two or three months, rather than the next two or three years, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
How would you advise Delegators to go about selecting an Indexer to stake their GRT with?
right now, probably the ones that are in the Telegram group, and in the Discord server, orally, one or the other, at least, those are the people who are the most committed, they respond to Delegators questions, they help Curators, with their investing token wallets, and all this other stuff, you know, they are in their day to day and responding to everybody else, that’s part of the ecosystem. If they’re not in the Discord server, or the Telegram group, I would argue that they are, that they’re almost like rent seeking, right, which is, which is a term that most people involved in web 3.0 use as a derogatory term. I don’t want it to be to come across, you know, super rude or anything. But you know, if you’re, if you’re just camping out, or if you’re not engaging with the larger community, are probably not going to delegate any GRT to you. In the short run, that might be to my detriment to be honest. But in the long run, I think it’ll be very much to my benefit, and to anybody else’s benefit. Who follows that advice. If you don’t want to, that’s totally fine. Definitely not financial advice. Just you know, one guy who’s also in the ecosystem, just like anybody else, I don’t I really don’t have any secret knowledge, I find out about announcements, sometimes minutes before everybody else does. If that, and, you know, sometimes, like with the Fuse support announcement for the hosted service, I found out when Fuse posted it, you know, that’s part of this decentralized architecture or organization is that people like me who are helping out the foundation, you know, we don’t get secret information, partially so that we can go, you know, speculatively trade on it. But also because we don’t need to know ahead of time, right? So we didn’t make the deal. We didn’t organize anything. We’re just sharing the information and making sure people have had the information and we get them our answers to any questions they have. So get involved with the people who are involved. Right. So if you if you know them you see them about in the community. I think in the long run, those would be the ones to stick with.
So Derek, how did you first get involved in crypto?
Oh, man, well, I am a sysadmin by trade I can I also network administration. That’s what I went to college for. I was hosting Canadian tech podcast back in 2017. A couple of the gentlemen who run fireside conference out in the middle of nowhere not too far from Ottawa, but out in the boonies reached out to my co-host and I and asked us if we wanted to come and record an episode of Canadian tech podcast at fireside conference. Of course we said yes, because the conference looked amazing. There were many conferences each day one was about cryptocurrency and blockchain one was about the legalization of marijuana in Canada and some other topics so being a tech podcast of course I was drawn to the cryptocurrency day and so I agreed I brought along a different co-host because unfortunately the main co-host Stuart couldn’t come that that weekend a guy named Jamison and I went up and on the Saturday personally and I know Jamison was to we were just blown away the amount of brainpower here in Canada around blockchain and cryptocurrencies with people like Anthony Diorio who was part of the inception of Ethereum. Ethan Buckman who is certainly even more well-known now than he was back in 2017 but he’s a co-founder of Tendermint and Cosmos which has been making waves recently with the launch of their inter blockchain communication service I got to meet people like that and hear about smart contracts and Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens and everything else that was happening or other ICO’s of course that were happening around the time and I just got hooked I went home started doing some research I found out about Ethlend which is now Aave I participated in that ICO I sold way too soon clearly or else I’d probably be a millionaire by now and that led me to Bloom protocol which also blew me away with the problems it was solving mostly overseas not so much here in Canada in the US but certainly overseas with the incredibly terrible reporting systems or lack thereof in a lot of European African and Asian countries and yeah I just kind of got hooked I dove right into bloom big part of the community eventually got handed a contract as the head of community relations that was a little over three years ago now and I haven’t looked back since I’ve been full time in blockchain and cryptocurrencies since then
Delegators are curious about the history of The Graph before the ICO what can you tell us about that story and how involved were you?
Not any more than you Yaniv has already told people. I’m not going to pretend like I was one of those people who was originally on original team member and you know spending years on this I’ve been all over the ecosystem over the last three years I came into helping out The Graph with our community back in I think September and things obviously kind of took off from there especially once the token sale was announced what I do know is that Brandon and Yaniv I think worked together at mulesoft one of them already had a connection with the honest maybe Jannis was or was already friends with them like these are friends turned co-founders and you know we’re searching for problems to solve and in building their own decentralized apps ran into this exact issue and instead of continuing to bang their heads against the wall or doing it the way everybody else was doing it with hosting your own archive node and trying to speed up the queries and that sort of thing they decided to build a solution to this problem that they knew they had and that everybody you know everybody else they talked to had. And so that was kind of the inception back in I think it was late 2017 maybe early 2018 so you know we’re here three years later and as the result of a ton of hard work and the backing of some earliest supporters which is you know all that information is available on the blog and lots of other hard work like it is not…it’s much easier than it was three years ago to build something like The Graphs network dApp where you can see the Indexers and the Delegators and interact with the smart contract and all that but it’s still way more difficult I would say than just building a typical app like a PHP or React app or something like that where these patterns and User Experience and User Interface designs and all this other stuff have existed for damn near decades you know wallets and smart contracts are still incredibly new there’s still a learning curve for a lot of people even if they’re let’s say native to the space you know they’re relatively young and have been using dApps for a couple of years already it’s just an entirely different beast compared to building apps that rely on MySQL or PostgreSQL, or even a no SQL database like MongoDB like there’s you know these things have existed for years and they’re well established and all that but they don’t solve on their own the problems that people are having in this read decentralization of the web, getting back to the way the web was supposed to be where no one corporate entity owned you know what feels like the whole thing like it’s so disappointing to me when you see just how many web sites go down when a single Amazon data center runs into BGP routing issues or something like that or Google has a power outage or one of their data centers or what have you know the number of websites that go down big websites from big companies who could definitely host their own infrastructure but choose not to you know I want to see us get to a point where in a few years that just doesn’t happen anymore you know whether and that doesn’t mean you know Amazon web services and Google cloud and Microsoft Azure etc. go out of business it means that they change their business models hopefully and they’re part of the cog in the system as opposed to being the system
How should we think about the future? Are you optimistic about the future of The Graph?
I do think it’s really bright days ahead I think it’s fairly well entrenched at this point in so much that going away from The Graph building your own thing or trying to rely on a different option would require a lot of re-architecting and that’s probably not worth anybody’s time especially when you consider the costs of doing this sort of thing in house it doesn’t it’s kind of you know six of one half dozen half dozen of the other yes there’s going to be query fees and that sort of thing they are incredibly inexpensive at least at this point you know the estimate is 0.00001 cents you know American cents so you know you’d have to hit like 10,000 queries before you hit a penny and for a lot of dApps that’s incredibly affordable and probably even for the really big ones like Uniswap that’s something they can afford and it still removes the need to build something on their own and hosts archive nodes and all this other stuff that the Indexers are doing instead so you know once there are more subgraphs on the mainnet maybe you know a few subgraph developers or a few developers and then there’s subgraphs maybe they’ll choose to do something else instead but I think for the most part the strategy I’ll call it I don’t know if it was a strategy or not but I’ll say the strategy of building the hosted service making sure that really works really well, scaling that to 1000s and 1000s of transactions per second has been really smart because it gave developers a way to just use it and use it for free for what has essentially been an incredibly long free trial period and but the paid service through the Indexers will still be incredibly cheap so I think it’s been great as a way to get people to use it try it out become familiar with it and lead to long term usage i really don’t think as somebody as a Delegator myself I’m really not worried about the long term health of the protocol and the decentralized governance ecosystem around it there’s been some minor controversy I’ll call it recently I understand where delegates are coming from I totally understand as somebody who has run you know multiple servers myself as running my own web hosting service in the past that infrastructure costs got to be paid somehow and you know your time needs to be covered somehow and obviously that lie in an ideal world that comes through generating revenue through the protocol and obviously realizing some revenue probably in fiat because or you know some sort of some other token that an infrastructure provider or hosts will take as payment
So no I I’m really not worried I’ve got five figures worth of GRT at stake or in delegation to various Indexers so far I’m happy like it’s every protocol every launch has bumps in the road The Graphs are hitting theirs you know as somebody who’s working through the foundation I’m not worried about it I think we’re going to be in great shape you know within a few months and things are going to be rocking and I think everybody will be happy.
What’s your view of the future for crypto in general and how The Graph will fit into that?
I wrote a thing on medium last year I think about what life what i think life will be like in about four or five years with people having a decentralized identity you know the core of their lives the craft really doesn’t play there but I overall I think more autonomy more agency right the ability for individuals to have more control over their lives and more opportunities to better their lives in long run governance honestly I think is going to be a really interesting thing to play out because the centralized governance is incredibly messy definitely look like it’s going to get much cleaner in the near future until we get to a point where the tools we have available and I know some of them already run on The Graph for grabbing data whether it’s from Ethereum or IPFS until they make it really easy for people to really vote with their money or vote with their feet, in the sense that, you know, I could be seen as people could be delegating votes to me for to you or to Tegan. And, and allowing us to vote on their behalf, knowing that, you know, seeing the arguments we’re making in a forum and that sort of thing, that we’re more or less aligned, and in the end, something resembling democracy where people prevail. Because, you know, trying to convince 15, 20 thousand people to vote on a good day is difficult in a place where, you know, some of the issues go over their heads go, some of them go over my head is even more difficult. So, you know, what I think a lot of projects are suffering from right now is low voter turnout, despite best efforts to get out the vote. So I think that’s something to really be solved over the next few years. I don’t think The Graph is anything special at this point to offer there. But that’s still a really key component there.
Overall, I think that The Graph is going to be the main indexing protocol that pretty much every app developer or dApp developer is going to have to interact with, it doesn’t matter if they’re building dApps on Ethereum, or, you know, these, all these layer ones that are Ethereum RPC, and VM compatible, like Fantom, like Binance Smart Chain, like xDai, like Fuse, if you’re building on there, or if you’re building on one of these other completely different but eventually Ethereum VM compatible blockchains like Solana NEAR CELO Avalanche, you know, I know is they already have an Ethereum bridge up and running, you’re just you’re just as a front end person, at the very least, you’re going to need to know a little bit of a Graph QL and how to define a subgraph and making you know, get it deployed. And hopefully Fingers crossed, you know, an Indexer picks it up and starts indexing it. And if not, while you’ll have the tools to run your own index, or cure, signal your own subgraph, and visit, basically pay yourself as a worst case, scenario two to index and offer up the queries. So yeah, I just I don’t see it going away. In a way. It’s almost like the new Google Analytics where you know, you need an analytics solution. Google Analytics already exists, it’s super easy to plug into your website, and you probably already have a Google account. So you’re just going to use it in the same way that almost every other website owner uses it. I don’t, because I you know, I’m trying to get away from hosted services like that, but you know, damn near every other website does in a good way, I think The Graph will end up similarly, where it is the de facto solution when you need to pull data from the blockchain and display it in your dApp, so or even if you don’t need to display it in your dApp, you know, I think you can get up and running in less than a day. So compared to rolling your own or compared to a lot of these other solutions that exist today, I just don’t see why you’d use anything else. So as blockchains and smart contracts and decentralized apps proliferate over the next few years, which I do believe will happen. I think The Graph will be involved in every major dApp that people actually care about, and probably almost every other one,
Are there any other crypto projects you’re interested in, or that we might want to check out?
I mean, PoolTogether, I think a lot of people anticipated that being a fairly low volume subgraph, especially as this first subgraph on the decentralized network, but they’re doing some really cool stuff on what I’m hoping to win, you know, 100,000 USDC. At some point in the near future, I’ve put some some money into the pool, I think pulled together is really, really cool. And mStable provides easily the highest APY fairly consistently on stable coins. And more recently, also on BTC, as well, Ethereum representations of BTC. So you should definitely check it check out mStable. Synthetix, of course, had an amazing 2020 they seem to have a decentralized governance, fairly well dialed in, nothing’s ever perfect, but they seem to seem to be doing a really good job in that department. You know, Uniswap, of course, will get you just about any token you ever want to trade. If you want to make sure you’re getting the best price, you probably want to be using Matcha, which is from the 0x team. It’s a DEX aggregator if the best liquidity is on Uniswap you’ll get it from Uniswap if it’s on 1inch, if it’s on a SushiSwap or LinkSwap or, you know, a lot of these other places. It’s all available through there. So and I know that they use The Graph and they say, you know, better gas usage, more efficient gas usage, then going straight to straight to DEX. So yeah, those are you know, a lot of the ones I know about, you know, with NFT’s blowing up recently, Foundation of course, is really well known that Just got for anybody who’s in their mid-30s. Like me or maybe their 40s Aphex Twin just started minting NFT’s there. That’s really cool. If you’re an electronic music aficionado from the 90s, I guess the 90s music and I know some artists there who are well, I’ve not actually known personally for quite some time, and I’ve just been accepted and are going to start minting NFT’s. So foundation.app, I think is the website. I’m looking forward to that. Yeah. And that’s the thing like,because the data is there and it’s needed. You really, it’s almost like you can’t run away from The Graph at this point, even if you’ve wanted to. It’s kind of everywhere. So if you don’t know if you’re curious, hit up the subgraph Explorer, start typing in the name of your favorite dApp. And I’m willing to bet that more often than not a subgraph for that dApp exists, or that protocol. So and that’s something you could do right now.
Derek, thank you for being so generous with your time. If listeners want to follow you or contact you, what’s the best way to stay in touch?
You’re probably best off to follow me on Twitter twitter.com/DerekSilva. You can visit my website CommComm.xyz and I’m gonna start blogging again on my personal website, dereksilva.ca so feel free to hit it up subscribe to the RSS if people still do that. But Twitter’s definitely the best place though.
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DISCLOSURE: GRTIQ is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any other way connected with The Graph, or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates. This material has been prepared for information purposes only, and it is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, tax, legal, financial, or investment advice. The content for this material is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The Graph token holders should do their own research regarding individual Indexers and the risks, including objectives, charges, and expenses, associated with the purchase of GRT or the delegation of GRT.