Episode 03: Today I’m speaking with Tegan Kline, Co-founder and Business Lead at Edge & Node, a software development firm created by the team behind The Graph. The conversation with Tegan covers a broad range of topics, from her background working in the banking and investments industries, the relationship between Edge & Node and The Graph, and her own experience working as a Delegator in The Graph.
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Tegan Kline, Co-Founder and Business Lead at Edge & Node, helping to ensure a vibrant decentrlized future. Tegan is working on The Graph, an indexing and query protocol organising the world’s open blockchain data and making open data a public good. Tegan helps leaders and innovators connect more deeply with stakeholders across the blockchain ecosystem.
Tegan Kline is the former International Business Development Manager and OXT Relations Lead for Orchid, an A16z and Sequoia backed blockchain company that created tools and protocols for users to obtain digital freedom and an open and accessible internet. Tegan successfully helped to launch Orchid at a 400m valuation on Coinbase.
Prior to Orchid, Tegan was the Executive VP of a patent marketplace powered by blockchain, analysed by AI. She began her career in Investment Banking at BAML and, prior to discovering blockchain, worked in Sales and Trading at Barclays.
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I envision that in the future, everything will be queried and indexed via The Graph. You know, no matter the blockchain, no matter the layer view, I think The Graph will potentially become a household name, just like the web is a household name, you know, lower casing that the and lowercase D and the D and graph and then it just becomes kind of The Graph, which is a public good for open public data.
Welcome to the GRTiQ podcast. Today I’m speaking with Tegan Kline, co-founder and business lead at Edge & Node, a software development firm started by the original team behind The Graph. My conversation with taking covers a broad range of topics from her background working in the Banking and Investment Industry, the relationship between Edge & Node and The Graph, and her own experience acting as a Delegator within The Graph. Days prior to this interview, The Graph released query data for the month of March 2021, showed an astonishing 19 billion queries for the month. So I started the conversation with taken by asking more about this data, and what it means for the future of The Graph.
So in March, there were 19 billion queries, as you mentioned, which is 600 million daily queries, and that’s on the hosted service. So assuming that same kind of growth rate, it’s pretty wild, it’s about 30% month over month. And so within The Graph ecosystem, there’s over 10,000 lifetime subgraphs that have been deployed and almost 16,000 lifetime developers that are kind of actively building those subgraphs. And that’s also over 100x growth in the last year. So really exciting, it kind of speaks to a lot of the development within Web3 and Ethereum. And kind of beyond as The Graph expands to other blockchains. So that’s really exciting.
Can you take us behind the scenes and explain your role in business development, and how it relates to all this recent growth in these new partnerships?
So Edge & Node, which is one of the many companies within The Graph ecosystem, Edge & Node has a service agreement with The Graph Foundation, and that includes marketing and BD. So as The Graph kind of moves to a more decentralized ecosystem, there will be probably 1000s, and millions of folks similar to me helping with this. But there’s so much that that goes into that, I think, really listening to what the community wants, which blockchains, which Layer-2 blockchains, they’re excited about expanding to where the development activity is happening. I think all of that is really a kind of listen to you. And if anyone has any blockchains or Layer-2 blockchains, they’re excited about that they haven’t seen on The Graph foundations radar, you can let me know, like, even though, but I would say you know, it’s numerous conversations, it’s really kind of having your ear to the ground, listening to what the community is excited about. And then also just meeting with the founders of those teams, you know, making sure they kind of understand how they can benefit from incorporating The Graph technology. So yeah, with a few of the announcements we’ve done are around expanding to multi-blockchain. So the first blockchains, we are enabling and actually Celo was just integrated. So that’s really exciting. And then we’re working on NEAR Polkadot and Solana and some of the next blockchains that are added with The Graph foundation. And then we are also expanding to Layer-2. So we have now announced Polygon a few weeks ago, and then many EVM compatible blockchains have also been added to The Graph, including Binance Smart Chain, Fantom, Fuse many, many others.
Once The Graph is fully decentralized, should we expect all future growth to be organic?
Yeah, I mean, I would argue that a lot of it is already organic, I would say you know, many developers within the ecosystem are able to look at the documents and create subgraphs and kind of a permissionless way without ever needing to interact with anyone from The Graph Foundation, or from Edge & Node. But that being said, you know, Edge & Node is is committed to The Graph ecosystem and supporting The Graph Foundation and the ecosystem for many years to come, you know, will continue to be a force in this ecosystem, but there are many other forces that have formed and are continuing to form. The Graph foundation actually did an announcement that they allocated 5 million In Dollars in GRT, do over 50 teams, which is really exciting. So all of those teams are kind of building and doing things in a decentralized autonomous way.
How would you describe the relationship between The Graph, The Graph Foundation, and Edge & Node?
The Graph foundation created GRT. And Edge & Node is kind of many of the individuals that live within Edge & Node were among the early days of The Graph being formed. And so decentralization takes time. And so The Graph we started in a centralized way. And you know, we’re providing indexing and querying and it kind of centralized way, but creating subgraphs was permissionless than and has grown to be decentralized. And then in December of last year, The Graph was decentralized. So The Graph protocol is now kind of decentralized, and The Graph foundation is overseen by a technical Council of 10 different individuals that represent kind of key individuals within the community. So they kind of take a polls through a Graph Improvement Process (GIP) with the ecosystem in the community, anyone can vote, so any of your listeners can vote within the GIP process. And then Edge & Node is kind of one of the many organizations that live within The Graph ecosystem, really focusing on building a very vibrant and decentralized future and making sure that we kind of grow into blockchains becoming the future of the Internet.
What’s the story behind your move from traditional Investments and Banking to the Crypto space?
So I learned about Bitcoin in 2011, right when I kind of arrived in New York City or college, and I was, you know, kind of fascinated by Bitcoin, but kind of chose to go a more traditional route with my career, go into Wall Street, get that experience under my belt. And then five years ago, I learned about Ethereum. And I really saw the opportunity to redistribute resources and kind of create a new financial system outside of the one that existed. And so I was working at Barclays on the sales and trading floor, when I learned about Ethereum, I turned into the kind of that crazy crypto girl on the trading floor that was telling everyone about Bitcoin and Ethereum, and just kind of the unlimited possibilities with this technology, and then made the change over I joined Orchid, which is a distributed VPN backed by Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia, kind of coming from Wall Street, it felt like a more safe bet, just kind of joining a company that had the backing of so many great VCs. So I focused on Business Development there, then took on Investor Relations. So really kind of keeping those supporters up to date, and then help them launch the Orchid protocol. And then shortly after that, I resigned and moved over to The Graph. And the reason for that was it just felt like a lot of the applications that we’re launching on Ethereum just we’re not competitive with centralized applications. And I do believe that blockchains are the future of the Internet. And so I want to make sure we kind of get to that future. So The Graph was really kind of providing key infrastructure to developers, and really enabling a lot of innovation within you know, the Ethereum blockchain and now we’ve, we’re kind of exploding that view to many other blockchains.
I’m curious about the fact that Ethereum is what originally pulled you into the crypto space. What is it specifically about Ethereum that caught your attention?
So I think Bitcoin really revolutionizes finance. And I think Ethereum really revolutionizes all use cases in all asset classes. And I think The Graph kind of takes that a step further as well. And really kind of enables developers to access that data on the blockchain to really build more applications and innovate in a quick and seamless way. But really smart contracts really exploded this into any use case or any asset class. And within Ethereum, it’s where a lot of the development is happening, a lot of innovation is happening, especially at that time. And it’s currently kind of about for me at that time, I was very much about kind of empowering the individual. Ethereum just has such a vibrant community. And, you know, I just saw so many kind of exciting use cases. And so I really found my passion once I learned about Ethereum. And for me it what’s interesting is just kind of this peer to peer concept that you can have this contract with using smart contracts with no middleman, you know, you just need kind of the code. And coming from Banking, where I saw a lot of inefficiencies, and banks are paid so much money for kind of being middlemen in this ecosystem. I really kind of saw the opportunity there. And so it was exciting for me to see that you could do this kind of on chain without a middleman. So no banks, no lawyers, and then kind of seeing that opportunity within many different spaces. So finance, governance, real estate work, you know, the internet in and of itself, social media, art, gaming, you know, many, many use cases that we’re kind of seeing come to fruition today. And what’s exciting is that everyone involved can kind of be compensated can measure it to the value that they’re putting into something. Whereas, you know, in traditional spaces like the traditional internet or centralized finance, I don’t necessarily think that’s always true. I think there’s a lot of really hard working people in those ecosystems that aren’t really being compensated. And instead, a lot of that money does kind of trickle up to the centralized organization at on top.
Let’s talk more about that. How do you think people will benefit in a world where decentralized finance exists?
So with DeFi it’s really, really exciting, because you know, you’re there’s so much innovation that is happening within the DeFi space. But I think one of the most exciting things and really why DeFi took off was mostly around the transparency it brought. And looking back to the 2008 crisis. Many banks had those mortgage backed bonds, but they just couldn’t identify where those bonds were. And if we had blockchain technology, this might not have been such a bad crisis. You know, many of the banks owned those bonds, they just couldn’t identify where they were. And you could also look to kind of the Madoff scandal like that couldn’t have happened if I if it was on the blockchain, because of the transparency that blockchain brings. And new there’s also innovation with this transparency. And then also the open API’s, which on The Graph are called subgraphs that bring so much more innovation, because they’re Lego building blocks, you can iterate and develop so much more, so much faster. Because this technology is open source, it’s decentralized, and it’s transparent. And you can kind of look to Uniswap, Uniswap was super innovative being one of the first DEXes that existed and, and then we saw a lot of other blockchains, kind of copy that code and put it on their blockchain. And then, you know, we’ve seen Uniswap v3. And in that there’s actually a licensing agreement for two years, which I don’t know if we should be making a precedent or licensing agreements and open source technology, it’s been kind of difficult for me to grapple with, but I do understand why they did it, you know, they as they innovate, you know, they don’t want to see people kind of take their code and replicate it on another chain. So it’s kind of a philosophical dilemma for me at the moment. And I invite your listeners to kind of think about that. And I would love to hear their opinions on licensing agreements, done in a decentralized way, such as what Uniswap has proposed, which in and of itself, is very innovative. But I would also say another thing around DeFi that is really great is just the amount of inclusion so anyone in the world can participate and use these products. So for example, you know, Uniswap, anyone can get on there anyone with a crypto wallet in the world can get on and trade assets with the Uniswap Decentralized Exchange, and you know, with Aave you know, interest, you have this interest bearing account, or you know, alone from Compound, whereas traditionally, these types of products are kind of restricted to the select few. And, you know, now anyone can participate in finance. And then an example is just, you know, in the US, if you are kind of, you don’t have a lot of access to funds or support, credit cards are so prevalent within the states. And so what happens is, people kind of start to use credit cards, maybe there’s zero interest to start. And then after a year, they start charging, like 30% interest, which once you have, you know, a substantial amount of debt, you and you’re being charged 30% interest, it’s really difficult to take away the principal, and instead, you’re just kind of paying interest. And then if you get behind on your payments, you get a bad credit score. And if you have a bad credit score, you’re left out of so much within the space, you can’t get a loan, you can’t get a mortgage, and it might be difficult to take out a lease on a car. And so it’s really, really difficult to recover from that, you know, and I would say you almost need to be in kind of a privileged place with support to, you know, individuals that can help you or, you know, financial support. And so what’s cool in the crypto space is you know, no matter your credit score, you can kind of participate. And so that’s, that’s very important to me that it is inclusive, and then also obviously lower fees, because there’s few fewer middlemen and more transparency,
Based on your experience in traditional banking and investments. I’m curious, how do you think about regulation and its potential impact in the crypto space?
It’s interesting to talk about regulations, because there’s so many libertarians, especially within I would say, the Bitcoin space that are like vehemently opposed to regulations. But I would say, you know, like, let’s think about why do regulations exist? So at the end of the day, I would argue that the reason we have regulations is to make sure parties abide by a set of rules. In blockchain and DeFi those rules are kind of encoded in the smart contract. So I would say there’s less of a role for regulators from kind of this standpoint, and the smart contract and kind of the blockchain itself is regulation, we can encode the regulations into that smart contract. And so for example, in Banking, In depositories There are a lot of regulations to ensure that you know, depositories are not fractionally reserved or that assets are not re hypothecated. With the blockchain and smart contracts, it’s easy to audit exactly what’s happening and ensure that the depository is not fractionally reserved. So you can take like $10,000 in deposits, and deposit, you know, $20,000. So it’s kind of like this double spending that could happen in bank. And so a great example is how the blockchain itself ensures double spending isn’t happening without the need of an entity or a regulator kind of imposing or enforcing specific rules. And I think it’s also important to say that, you know, regulations didn’t really come in to Banking, until, you know, the banks acted and kind of behave poorly. And so I will argue that there’s a need for self-regulation within the blockchain space, you know, especially when it comes to scams or kind of people only in it for the money, not really providing value and acting in a greedy fashion. That is, when I would say, you know, we need to kind of help protect people within this space, potentially, and not to kind of pontificate too much. And you know, I won’t name names here. But within the blockchain space, you know, you’ve seen blockchains go down, because there was only one node, or you’ve also seen that the nodes are all kind of being paid for by the centralized company. And that’s really not the point of this space. The point is that, you know, it can live on without a centralized company. And so I would argue that that’s not really like distributed ledger technology. And so I will caveat on that first point, you know, and there is a role for regulators when kind of exposing these scams. And so that’s why I think it’s important to kind of self-regulate, as much as possible, you know, don’t be scammy. Don’t be greedy, and also don’t financially support projects that are.
You recently tweeted that there’s a revolution happening. I’m curious if you’re right, and the revolution is a success. How’s the world different?
Yeah. So you know, I think blockchain in and of itself is kind of a revolution that’s happening, decentralized, peer to peer technology, empowering the individuals kind of removing middlemen, getting to a more efficient space with more innovation, less monopolies, there’s so much to kind of stay there. But with this specific tweet, I believe I was kind of speaking about subgraphs, which are open API’s and The Graph ecosystem. So one thing that’s interesting within The Graph ecosystem is this subgraph piece. So API’s are kind of generally closed, for example, like LinkedIn has a closed API, Facebook has a closed API, Twitter has a closed API. And so even though that’s our data, or many users data, the centralized organization kind of owns those API’s. And that’s the data. And so we’ve seen them kind of do crazy stuff with this data that I’ve alluded to earlier, which is kind of a problem and not with the internet was created for. But secondly, these closed API’s really stifle innovation, because I can’t take that LinkedIn data and port it to Crunchbase. Or I can’t afford it to my own application. So within The Graph ecosystem, those API’s are open. So anyone building can kind of take that data from those subgraphs, and add it to their own application. It’s kind of like Lego building blocks, which is one really exciting piece. And the developers own and maintain those subgraphs. So they are theirs, you know, that’s their application. It’s not, you know, owned by anyone else. And so double clicking on this is new decentralized applications, which are dApps, these dApps, some of them have closed API’s. So they’re kind of like centralized companies that are disguised as being decentralized. And so they’re kind of trying to reap the benefits of being decentralized without actually decentralizing. And so you know, as, especially with the DeFi boom, there’s a lot of these so called dApps that have closed API’s. And so I think it’s important that we understand which applications have open API’s are building in a decentralized way with subgraphs and kind of be aware of that behavior. But I think, you know, this, the world will, you know, I think it’ll be a better place, if we have a more decentralized open source, permissionless technology, less kind of rent seekers, more people that are getting, you know, receiving contributions for the value they’re bringing to ecosystems to protocols, I think people will have, you know, more purpose, more meaning and, and then being rewarded for that.
What then, is your long term vision for The Graph?
Sorry, I think The Graph is really kind of tackling the data market, the ad market, SaaS, again, as a business model, many different bases within the ecosystem. And as I mentioned, I believe blockchains are the future of the Internet. And I think The Graph is how we’ll get to that future. And we’re seeing kind of an exodus from Web2 into Web3, you know, the internet, the centralized internet, which is what I call Web2, it wasn’t created to monetize ads or sell people data, but that is very much what it’s incentivized to do. And so that’s what it’s become. And so you have really brilliant minds within you all of these centralized tech companies that are really focused on selling ads or monetizing data, and now that we have decentralized infrastructure and kind of tokens as a business model, you don’t really need to partake in those weird behaviors. And you know, the payments can flow peer to peer within the ecosystem. And so now this infrastructure is being created, as you know, coming to fruition, all of those brilliant minds are kind of coming and building within are many of those brilliant minds are coming in building within this space, you know, hey, Edge & Node, we have many examples of this. We just hired someone from Google, who was, you know, managing 100 person engineering team, another person from AWS just joined us to focus on DevRel, you know, the exodus has begun. But I think it’ll kind of continue to ramp up more and more as we build more stable infrastructure in in Web3. And so yeah, I envision that in the future, everything will be queried and indexed via The Graph, you know, no matter the blockchain, no matter the Layer-2, yeah. And then I think The Graph will potentially become a household name, just like the web is a household name, you know, lower casing that the and lower casing the G and graph, and then it just becomes kind of The Graph, which is a public good for open public data.
So how do you find the balance between being mission and values driven? When there’s so much ongoing chatter and speculation about the price of GRT in the market?
Yeah, I mean, being mission and values focus, first and foremost, makes it really easy. The Graph is technology, protocol. And we’re here to decentralize the internet and empower individuals. And that’s really the goal. And so it’s easy, just kind of staying mission and values focus.
In addition to The Graph being mission and values driven, you’ve mentioned it also checks three important boxes. It’s permissionless, decentralized, an open source. Walk us through that. What do you mean?
Decentralization. So this is there’s no central point of failure so that dApps can kind of build on a solid foundation. And you know, no matter what happens to kind of like a centralized company, you know, that that foundation will be there. So an example of this is like Google or AWS, you know, if that goes down, that’s it. And we’ve actually seen outages with Google recently. And I think anytime you have centralized like one single point of failure, you’re going to see downtime, you’re going to see outages, there’s decentralization is kind of also the ability to validate that the state of the network, you can do that yourself at a low cost. And so The Graph is very much committed to decentralization, the founding team has been committed to that, you know, really early on, I think, The Graph foundation Edge & Node, and many of the Indexers are also very aligned when it comes to decentralization. And so, you know, developers know that no matter what they’re building on, it will always be there. And as subgraphs migrate over to the decentralized network, you know, they will likely have more uptime, because there’ll be a dozen Indexers indexing their subgraph, as opposed to, you know, a handful within The Graph foundation. And so that’s that piece. And then permissionless is, you know, anyone can join without permission, no matter their race, their gender, their wealth, their religion, it doesn’t matter, you know, you don’t have to ask for permission. So The Graph does this with building subgraphs. Also, as an Indexer, a Curator and a Delegator, you know that individuals can become any of those roles within The Graph protocol in The Graph ecosystem without ever needing to kind of interact with the team. The last piece is Open-source. So what does Open-source mean? It means that the code is open and available for anyone to use or change. So you know, for example, if you don’t like something within the ecosystem, you can take that code, and you can add new technology to it, you can fork that code. So it’s kind of open source to anyone building or using that technology.
First at Orchid, then at The Graph, and now with Edge & Node, it’s your responsibility to help communicate these complicated and technical concepts. How have you approached that challenge?
You know, it’s important to translate things in a way that can be easily digested by, you know, the broader ecosystem, and by people that are not within even within the crypto space. And so you know, the best advice I can give anyone is to really find something that people can understand easily and make a connection to. And so early on, when I joined The Graph, it was this vibrant community of developers, many of the founders within initial founders of The Graph were engineers themselves. And so they did a great job at building this very vibrant community. But, you know, we hadn’t done a great job at kind of translating what The Graph was doing and an easily digestible way to the ecosystem. So I kind of sat Yaniv down and you know, asked him for the one liner that would be easily digested by the ecosystem. And so what we came up with was, you know, what Google does for the web, The Graph does for the blockchain. And though you know, there’s a bit of nuance to it. You know, everyone understands what Google does. Google allows you to access data from Web2. Prior to Google, you had all this great data in Web2, but you didn’t really have a tool to access that data. And similar with the blockchain, you have a lot of great data within the blockchain, but it’s difficult to access that data. And so The Graph allows developers to access that data and serve that data to their users. And everyone kind of benefits from this. That being said, you know, what The Graph is doing is revolutionary. And it’s, you know, never been done before. So it’s difficult to kind of compare The Graph to something that had been done before. But it’s, I think, important to start with something that’s familiar to people so they can kind of build upon that. And then, you know, the other difficulty is just making sure that, you know, your tech team kind of approves of the simplifications that you kind of make you translate to the masses.
How important do you think the role of Delegators are to the future of The Graph?
Yeah, I mean, very important. I think each role within The Graph network has its purpose. And it’s extremely important. And though being a Delegator is kind of the least technical role. It’s extremely important to help secure The Graph network. And so you know, I personally am delegating within The Graph network to help secure the ecosystem. And then, you know, one interesting piece is that Delegators can’t be slashed within The Graph network. So their funds are safe or Safu will repeat with what CZ had, but on Twitter that kind of became a meme with within the blockchain ecosystem.
So how did you as a Delegator approach that important decision of selecting an Indexer to stake your GRT with?
That’s a great question. When I approach this, I have chosen a handful of different Indexers within the network to delegate to you and mainly for because, you know, decentralization and distribution is very important to me. And so you know, I didn’t choose the Indexers that had the most stake there, I chose the ones that had kind of less stake. But also kind of just understanding each Indexer has their own economic model. So it’s kind of important to understand that understand their portion of the fees they’re allocating to Delegators. And why. And so also, Brandon Ramirez, one of the co-founders and research leads at Edge & Node, he did a great video at ETHDenver, and I’m happy to share that so you can put it in the show notes around kind of choosing your Indexer and deciding kind of as a Delegator, how to allocate your GRT though, in then you can also check out the Get to Know Your Indexer series that Zuni and Ghostym, which are two community moderators within The Graph ecosystem have put together and they put that out, I believe, every week
As a Delegator. I’d be curious to get your opinion on all the recent debates surrounding GIP-2.
Yeah, I mean, it’s been wonderful to see so much participation within The Graphs governance, like hundreds of votes, 1000s of comments, I guess the one thing I’ll say is that it’s really important for everyone in the ecosystem to kind of keep in mind and remember that, you know, The Graph needs each piece within the ecosystem to kind of live on and, and flourish in a healthy way. And so I think it’s important that the Delegators, and Indexers kind of unite together and not divide, and really listen to one another’s needs. Know, even if it might seem like this could be a negative to one or the other. Sometimes the health of the Indexer or the health of the Delegators is an important goal.
What’s your advice to Delegators to stay in touch about important announcements or information about The Graph,
I would say, you know, keep an eye on the blog. There’s a lot of really exciting things that are happening around product. Curation will be launching soon, which is really exciting. Delegators can also be Curators to help men signal on a bonding curve so that the Indexers know which subgraphs to stake upon and then adding more kind of partnership announcements, The Graph has the potential to become larger than that of any Layer-1 because The Graph integrates every piece of the stack be at the applications dApps as we call them, Layer-2 block chains, or Layer-1 block chains, and then also different storage networks. So we’re really excited to kind of unite Web3.
You make an interesting point there about the vision and future of The Graph. Is it the case that members of the community like Delegators, can wear two hats and be a Delegator and a Curator?
Yes, so I would say you know, Delegators can be Curators, Curators are kind of open data alpha finders, so they are kind of identifying the new cool subgraphs that are coming up. And minting signal on a bonding curve early to capture value. And so many delegates can also be Curators, and vice versa. And so I would say the Indexers are kind of the the more technical role. So for example, I wouldn’t be an Indexer because it’s really focused on kind of DevOps and the Indexers have a really important and difficult job that they’re doing. But if you have and have the technical chops and the desire if that’s something you’re passionate about that. Absolutely. You could be, you know, an Indexer, and a Curator. And then the other piece is kind of the subgraph. Developers can also be Curators because they understand, you know, their subgraph and maybe potential future subgraphs that may be coming out. And so early on and the ecosystem, we expect that many subgraph developers will also be Curators. Hi, this is Tegan Kline, I’m the business lead and co-founder of Edge & Node. If my conversation with GRTiQ podcast has been helpful to you, then please consider supporting future episodes by becoming a subscriber, visit GRTiQ.com/podcast for more information, that GRTiQ.com/podcast. Thank you so much for listening.
Do you think crypto has the ability to address long standing issues related to underserved or underrepresented groups, like women and minorities?
You know, I think, as I mentioned, we’re kind of creating this new financial system and a new internet and we need all voices from all around the table. So diversity is extremely important, you know, both gender, race, you know, class, all of it, we need voices from each of those areas to come in and make an impact within this space. Diversity. If you look at a portfolio diversity is so important. And I would argue that it’s equally as important when it comes to voices at the table. And I would say, you know, within the crypto space, we can do a lot better job at welcoming minorities welcoming women into the conversation, you know, as founders, I really urge you to make sure that there are diverse individuals on your cap tables, you know, make sure that you’re reaching out to the women in your ecosystem to, you know, minorities within the ecosystem to offer them the opportunity. Many of the cap tables I’ve seen are few, mostly, you know, all white male, and I think that, you know, we can start there and make a change there. Also, you know, within this ecosystem within your companies, make sure you not only have women and minorities within your company, but in leadership roles in the company, don’t just check the box and say, you know, this low level analyst or something of the line is, you know, now we’re diverse, you know, if that’s not it, you need to make sure that’s kind of trickling up the leadership level. And so yeah, I think that this is really important, you know, for everyone within the ecosystem to make strides towards, you know, even if you are kind of a white male, you will also have a responsibility to bringing diversity to your team and ecosystem.
What’s your message to these groups and others who might be afraid to enter the crypto space, because it might be too complicated, or technical?
I relate to that that fear, you know, being someone who has a strong skill set on the business side, we haven’t done a great job in crypto, like making non-technical folks feel welcome. And that is one thing I strive to do with The Graph is, you know, make it digestible and make those people feel because I think that, you know, we are creating a new financial system and a new internet. And so the crypto space needs voices from all across the table, you know, people who aren’t technical people who are great at marketing people who are great at PR people who are great at partnerships, sales, you name it. And so, you know, we are building kind of into the future. And we need people to help translate that future to the masses, so that we can kind of get to that future. If you know, we just let the people that are technical run with it, you know, they’ll build really great things. But maybe, you know, the broader audience might not understand how they can benefit from what they’re building. And so I would say you don’t be turned off or don’t be afraid, by the technical nature. Get in kind of understand the technical pieces enough so that you can translate them to the masses, but you don’t necessarily need to like be able to sit down and code yourself. Please don’t you know, don’t be afraid and get involved.
In other interviews. You’ve mentioned your hometown in Ohio. And you’ve said that peers of yours weren’t as fortunate when it came to resources and support. I’m curious, how do you think crypto and blockchain can help communities like your hometown, in Ohio and across the world?
Yeah, I think that getting involved in this space and potentially help them find kind of meaning and purpose in their lives. Coming from Ohio, there was so much talent within you know, my graduating class within you know, many graduating classes within the school I was in within Ohio and I felt like a lot of those individuals may have not had the support or opportunity to do some of the things that I was able to do. And so if we can bring blockchain technology to those individuals, I think they could really thrive within the blockchain space, but I don’t think you necessarily need to spend a ton of money at a college to get involved in this space. You can really kind of get in and add value. And many different ways and forms. So I, you know, would love to see more people from, you know, small towns across America and really across the globe who may not have access to this kind of opportunity with the internet, we can really, it doesn’t matter where you are, you can kind of get involved in this space. And so we can bring this opportunity with blockchain technology to those small towns. And I believe that graph foundation is going to be launching an ambassador program soon. So if there’s anyone who is kind of in that kind of situation where you want to get involved, you don’t know how you’re really hungry, you’re really driven, you reach out because there’s so many opportunities within The Graph ecosystem, you could yourself kind of become an ambassador who bring this technology to folks within your region.
You’ve said on other occasions that getting involved in crypto allows you to pursue your higher purpose. I’m curious, what is your higher purpose? What is it about crypto that enables you to pursue it?
For me kind of my meaning to life is very much like to make the world a better place than I came into it and kind of taking that a step further, it’s making every day better than I entered it. And so, you know, I was always kind of searching for a career that would allow me to tap into this, while also kind of making a living for myself, you know, being an independent individual who grew up in Ohio, that’s kind of an important factor. And so during Banking, I volunteered a lot, because that purpose wasn’t really being fulfilled by my work. And in crypto, I now get to feel like every day I’m working to make the world a better place. And you know, I’m still volunteering within the crypto space with organizations like Crypto Underground, Advanced Crypto Asset trading, and then Blockchain for Social Impact, but it’s all within the blockchain space. And so, you know, I feel like every day, you know, I’m working to make the world better. And that’s really what I’m striving to do. And I think that, you know, Ethereum really embodies the values that I have, and The Graph as well. And so kind of getting to work within these organizations, it really kind of expand and expanding that to other blockchains, and kind of bringing those values with us as we move into other blockchains other ecosystems within the Web3 space. And so yeah, I mean, The Graph is really kind of disrupting the ad market, the data market and powering individuals, Indexers, Curators, Delegators, such as yourself and many of your listeners. And you know, The Graph has definitely changed my life and so many people’s lives, but there’s so much more to go. And I think like just ahead of The Graph, network launch, there were many different individuals, of 1000s of people from over 100 countries that were involved within The Graph ecosystem. And one story is just kind of when we launched the Curator kickoff call, there were individuals on that call on video that were in like viscerally difficult situations, and one I recall kind of vividly was one who was in a really tiny room without a door. And you know, that those individuals were really rewarded for that contributing to The Graph protocol so early. And I think within The Graph ecosystem, what we’ve kind of strive to do is make sure that everyone for their contributions, you know, the token economics really enable them to be rewarded for it for that work.
Despite finding so much meaning in your career working in crypto, there came a point after your success at Orchid, that you contemplated leaving the industry and pursuing something else. But you had a conversation with the Yaniv Tal that The Graph that not only brought you back into crypto, but drew you to that project, what can you tell us about that conversation
Yaniv is a visionary, he kind of lives into the future. And he’s helping kind of build for his this future. And so you know, three years ago, about three years ago, Yaniv told me about The Graph, this open data layer that lived on top of Ethereum. And he told me about a kind of a difficult decision he had to make when he was fundraising. And that was to kind of take, you know, money to be centralized or to kind of decentralize from the beginning. And he chose the latter. And I have, you know, so much respect for him, you know, he’s made so many hard decisions that could have changed the course of history for The Graph, and that’s, you know, the Web3 space, and you need really stays true to his values and goes, you know, towards that, and he, he, I’ve never seen him sway. And so I’m just really appreciative to work with someone who has, you know, such a strong value set. And, you know, I think him and I are able to kind of help guide, you know, we both kind of do this but in different ways. So it drives us to a very, you know, values aligned future.
So, what’s the lesson from that moment in your life? And how does that inform what you’re doing today?
You know, within the blockchain space, we have this really, you know, I got into the blockchain space because of the mission because of the values and what I saw was a lot of people kind of taking those values and hiding behind them to benefit for themselves. Kind of enrich themselves. And you know, that’s not what I got into this space for. And so it was really difficult to see new people that I respected doing that activity and that kind of behavior. And I think, you know, humans have the, you know, potential to be greedy. You know, I think greed can live inside of everyone, it’s kind of our responsibility to curb and control that greed. And so you know, you see people that you really respect you really admire, but they kind of get lost in the greed of it. And, you know, I’ve seen you Yaniv choose against that time and time again, as well, as you know, many other people are within the Edge & Node team. And I’m just really grateful to be surrounded by people that are mission and values focused.
You work with a lot of different projects, what can you share with us about different products you’re interested in, or that you’re working with?
For me, you know, I always look for, you know, decentralized, open source permissionless technologies, there’s some that I’m really excited about, you know, radical, which is kind of decentralizing the code. Connext, which is cross chain payments within the state channel, space. EPNS decentralized notifications, of course, Uniswap v3, I think, you know, the Uniswap team is super visionary, and kind of always building into the future. And so really excited about what they’re doing. They’re kind of democratizing finance, and then excited about all the Layer-2 blockchains So, Arbitron, Polygon, Optimism, yeah, I think, you know, connects is kind of the glue, helping with compensability, between blockchains are really excited about that as well.
Last question, before we let you go, if you could travel back in time, and talk to your younger self, right, before you entered into the crypto space, what advice would you give yourself knowing what you know, now?
it’s difficult because I wouldn’t want to change the course of history because I’m so grateful, you know, to where I’ve kind of ended up in, in my career and life. But I would say, you know, just, you know, stay true to your, your values, look for your passion and don’t sway from, from your values that you know, really try to absorb all the lessons and everything around you. But if you are feeling kind of like you’re in a press situation, or you’re in a you know, you’re not fulfilled, don’t feel stuck by the ‘safety’, that you have really, you know, step outside of your comfort zone, because it’s oftentimes when you do that, that, you know, the best things that, you know, happened to you. And I would also say that, you know, the more I’ve kind of stayed true to my values, the better life has kind of become. And so I would kind of give you know, the listeners that advice through is, yeah, stay true to your values. Look for your passion and, and I’m sure you’ll find it taken.
You’ve been so generous with your time. Thank you so much for these thoughtful answers. If listeners are interested in your work and want to stay in touch, what’s the best ways to follow you?
Yeah, so you can find me on Twitter @KleinVenture. My DMS are open there, so feel free to reach out you can also add me on LinkedIn Tegan Kline and following The Graph protocol on Twitter as well as Edge & Node.
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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.