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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Tegan Kline (00:23):
I envision that in the future everything will be queried and indexed via The Graph. No matter the blockchain, no matter the Layer 2. I think The Graph will potentially become a household name just like the web is a household name, lower casing that The and lower facing the G in Graph. And then it just becomes 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 Tegan 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, that showed an astonishing 19 billion queries for the month. So I started the conversation with Tegan by asking more about this data and what it means for the future of The Graph.
Tegan Kline (01:56):
So in March there were 19 million queries as you mentioned, which is 600 million daily queries and that’s on the hosted service. So assuming that same growth rate, it’s pretty wild and 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 actively building those subgraphs. And that’s also over a 100X growth in the last year, so really exciting. It speaks to a lot of the development within web3 and Ethereum and 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 and these new partnerships?
Tegan Kline (02:43):
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 moves to a more decentralized ecosystem, there will be probably thousands and millions of folks similar to me helping with this. But there’s so much 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 listened to and if anyone has any blockchains or Layer 2 blockchains they’re excited about that they haven’t seen on The Graph Foundation’s radar, you can let me know, let Eva Beylin know.
But I would say it’s numerous conversations, it’s really having your ear to the ground, listening to you, what the community is excited about, and then also just meeting with the founders of those teams, making sure they understand how they can benefit from incorporating The Graph technology. So yeah, a few of the announcements we’ve done are around expanding to multi blockchains. So the first blockchains we are enabling and actually sell low was just integrated, so that’s really exciting. And then we’re working on newer Polkadot and Solana as some of the next blockchains that are added with The Graph Foundation. And then we are also expanding to your Layer 2s. So we 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?
Tegan Kline (04:24):
Yeah, I would argue that a lot of it is already organic. I would say many developers within the ecosystem are able to look at the documents and create subgraphs in a permissionless way without ever needing to interact with anyone from The Graph Foundation, or from Edge & Node. But that being said, Edge & Node is committed to The Graph ecosystem and supporting The Graph Foundation and the ecosystem for many years to come. We’ll 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 GRT to over 50 teams, which is really exciting. So all of those teams are building and doing things in a decentralized autonomous way.
How would you describe the relationship between The Graph, The Graph Foundation, and Edge & Node?
Tegan Kline (05:17):
The Graph Foundation created GRT, and Edge & Node, 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 we’re providing indexing and querying in a centralized way, but creating subgraphs was permissionless 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 key individuals within the community. So they kind of take a pulse through a graph improvement process with the ecosystem in the community. Anyone can vote so any of your listeners can vote within the GRP process. And then Edge & Node is 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?
Tegan Kline (06:32):
So I learned about Bitcoin in 2011 right when I arrived to New York City for college, and I was fascinated by Bitcoin, but 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 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 that crazy crypto girl on the trading floor that was telling everyone about Bitcoin and Ethereum and just 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.
Coming from Wall Street, it felt like a more safe bet, just 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 keeping those supporters up-to-date, and then helped them launch the Orchid protocol. And then shortly after that I resigned and moved over to The Graph. And the reason for that was I just felt like a lot of the applications that we’re launching on Ethereum just were 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 get to that future. So The Graph was really providing key infrastructure to developers and really enabling a lot of innovation within the Ethereum blockchain. And now we’re exploding that to many other blockchains.
Tegan Kline (08:20):
So I think Bitcoin really revolutionizes finance, and I think Ethereum really revolutionizes all use cases and all asset classes. And I think The Graph takes that a step further as well and really enables developers to access that data on the blockchain to really build more application 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 clearly about, for me at that time, it was very much about empowering the individual, and Ethereum just has such a vibrant community and I just saw so many exciting use cases. And so I really found my passion once I learned about Ethereum. And for me, what’s interesting is just this peer-to-peer concept that you can have this contract, using smart contracts, with no middleman, you just need the code.
And coming from banking where I saw a lot of inefficiencies and banks are paid so much money for being middleman in this ecosystem, I really saw the opportunity there. And so it was exciting for me to see that you could do this on chain without a middleman. So no banks, no lawyers, and then seeing that opportunity within many different spaces. So finance, governance, real estate work, the internet in and of itself, social media, art, gaming, many, many use cases that we’re seeing come to fruition today. And what’s exciting is that everyone involved can be compensated, can measure it to the value that they’re putting into something. Whereas 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 hardworking people in those ecosystems that aren’t really being compensated. And instead a lot of that money does trickle up to the centralized organization on top.
Let’s talk more about that. How do you think people will benefit in a world where decentralized finance exists?
Tegan Kline (10:26):
So with Defi, it’s really, really exciting, because 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. Many of the banks owned those bonds, they just couldn’t identify where they were. And you could also look to the Madoff scandal. That couldn’t have happened if it was on the blockchain, because of the transparency that blockchain brings. And there’s also innovation with this transparency, and then also the open APIs, which on The Graph are called subgraphs, that brings so much more innovation because they’re Lego building blocks. You can iterate and develop so much more so faster, because this technology is open source, it’s decentralized and it’s transparent and you can look to Uniswap.
Uniswap was super innovative being one of the first DEXs that existed. And then we saw a lot of other blockchains copy that code and put it on their blockchain. And then 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 for licensing agreements in open source technology. It’s been difficult for me to grapple with, but I do understand why they did it. As they innovate, they don’t want to see people take their code and replicate it on another chain. So it’s a philosophical dilemma for me at the moment. And I invite your listeners to 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, 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 with [inaudible 00:12:48] interest you have this interest-bearing account, or a loan from compound. Whereas traditionally these types of products are restricted to the select few and now anyone can participate in finance. And an example is just in the US, if 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 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 a substantial amount of debt and you’re being charged 30% interest, it’s really difficult to tick away at the principle. And instead you’re just 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, it might be difficult to take out a lease on a car. And so it’s really, really difficult to recover from that. And I would say you almost need to be in a privileged place with support to individuals that can help you or financial support. And so what’s cool in the crypto space is no matter your credit score, you can participate. And so that’s very important to me that it is inclusive. And then also obviously lower fees, because there’s 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?
Tegan Kline (14:20):
It’s interesting to talk about regulations, because there’s so many libertarians, especially within I would say the Bitcoin space that are vehemently opposed to regulations. But I would say 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 roles are encoded in the smart contract. So I would say there’s less of a role for regulators from this standpoint. And the smart contract and the blockchain itself is regulation. We can encode the regulations into that smart contract. And so for example, in banking and depositories, there are a lot of regulations to ensure that depositories are possnot fractionally reserved or that assets are not rehypothecated. With the blockchain and smart contract, it’s easy to audit exactly what’s happening and ensure that the depository is not fractionally reserved.
So you can take $10,000 and deposits and deposit $20,000. So it’s like this double spending that could happen in banking. 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 imposing or enforcing specific rules. And I think it’s also important to say that regulations didn’t really come into banking until the banks acted and behave poorly. And so I’ll argue that there’s a need for self-regulation within the blockchain space, especially when it comes to scams or people only in it for the money, not really providing value and acting in a greedy fashion. That is when I would say we need to help protect people within this space potentially.
And not to pontificate too much, and I won’t name names here, but within the blockchain space, you’ve seen blockchains go down, because there was only one node, or you’ve also seen that the nodes are all being paid for by the centralized company, and that’s really not the point of this space. The point is that it can live on without a centralized company. And so I would argue that that’s not really distributed ledger technology. And so I will caveat on that first point, and there is a role for regulators when exposing these scams. And so that’s why I think it’s important to self-regulate as much as possible. 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’s a success, how’s the world different?
Tegan Kline (16:53):
So I think blockchain in and of itself is a revolution that’s happening, decentralized peer-to-peer technology, empowering the individuals, removing middlemen, getting to a more efficient space with more innovation, less monopolies. There’s so much to say there, but with this specific tweet, I believe I was speaking about subgraphs, which are open APIs on The Graph ecosystem. So one thing that’s interesting within The Graph ecosystem is this subgraph piece. So APIs are generally closed. For example, 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 user’s data, the centralized organization owns those APIs and thus the data. And so we’ve seen them do crazy stuff with this data that I’ve alluded to earlier, which is a problem and not what the internet was created for.
But secondly, these closed APIs really stifle innovation, because I can’t take that LinkedIn data and port it to Crunchbase, or I can’t port it to my own application. So within The Graph ecosystem, those APIs are open. So anyone building can take that data from those subgraphs and add it to their own application. It’s like Lego building blocks, which is one really exciting piece. And the developers own and maintain those subgraphs, so they are theirs. That’s their application, it’s not owned by anyone else. And so double clicking on this is decentralized applications, which are dapps. These dapps, some of them have closed APIs, so they’re like centralized companies that are disguised as being decentralized. And so they’re trying to reap the benefits of being decentralized without actually decentralizing.
And so especially with the DeFi boom, there’s a lot of these so-called dapps that have closed APIs. And so I think it’s important that we understand which applications have open APIs are building in a decentralized way with subgraphs and beware of that behavior. But I think the world will, I think it’ll be a better place if we have in a more decentralized, open source, permissionless technology, less rent-seekers, more people that are receiving contributions for the value they’re bringing to ecosystems, to protocols. I think people will have more purpose, more meaning, and then being rewarded for that.
What then is your long-term vision for The Graph?
Tegan Kline (19:25):
So I think The Graph is really tackling the data market, the ad market, SaaS as a business model, many different spaces 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, 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 all of these centralized tech companies that are really focused on selling ads or monetizing data. And now that we have decentralized infrastructure and tokens as a business model, you don’t really need to partake in those weird behaviors and the payments can flow peer-to-peer within the ecosystem.
And so now this infrastructure is being created, is coming to fruition. All of those brilliant minds are coming and building within, or many of those brilliant minds, are coming and building within this space. At Edge & Node, we have many examples of this. We just hired someone from Google who was managing a hundred person engineering team. Another person from AWS just joined us to focus on DevRel. The Exodus has begun, but I think it’ll continue to ramp up more and more as we build more stable infrastructure in web3. And so I envision that in the future everything will be queried and indexed via The Graph, no matter the blockchain, no matter the Layer 2. And then I think The Graph will potentially become a household name, just like the web is a household name, lower casing that The and lower casing the G in graph. And then it just becomes 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?
Tegan Kline (21:24):
Being mission and values focused first and foremost makes it really easy. The Graph is technology, a protocol, and we’re here to decentralize the internet and empower individuals. And that’s really the goal. And so it’s easy to just stay in mission and values focused.
In addition to The Graph being mission and values driven, you’ve mentioned it also checks three important boxes. It’s permissionless, decentralized, and open source. Walk us through that. What do you mean?
Tegan Kline (21:56):
Decentralization, so there’s no central point of failure. So that dapps can build on a solid foundation and no matter what happens to a centralized company, that foundation will be there. So an example of this is Google or AWS, if that goes down, that’s it. And we’ve actually seen outages with Google recently. And I think anytime you have centralized one single point of failure, you’re going to see downtime, you’re going to see outages. So decentralization is 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 really early on. And I think The Graph Foundation, Edge & Node and many of the Indexers are also very aligned when it comes to decentralization. And so developers know that no matter what they’re building on, it will always be there. And as subgraphs migrate over to the decentralized network, they will likely have more uptime, because there’ll be a dozen Indexers indexing their subgraph as opposed to a handful within The Graph foundation. And so that’s that piece.
And then permission list is anyone can join without permission, no matter their race, their gender, their wealth, their religion, it doesn’t matter, 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. The individuals can become any of those roles within The Graph protocol and The Graph ecosystem without ever needing to interact with a 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 for example, if you don’t like something within the ecosystem, you can take that code and you can add technology to it, you can fork that code. So it’s open source to anyone building or using that technology.
First at Orchid, then at The Graph, and now at Edge & Node. It’s your responsibility to help communicate these complicated and technical concepts. How have you approached that challenge?
Tegan Kline (24:01):
It’s important to translate things in a way that can be easily digested by the broader ecosystem and by people that are not even within the crypto space. And so 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 we hadn’t done a great job at translating what The Graph was doing in an easily digestible way to the ecosystem. So I sat Yaniv Tal down and asked him for the one-liner that would be easily digested by the ecosystem. And so what we came up with was what Google does for the web, The Graph does for the blockchain.
And though there’s a bit of nuance to it, everyone understands what Google does. Google allowed 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 it’s 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 benefits from this. That being said, what The Graph is doing is revolutionary and it’s never been done before, so it’s difficult to 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 build upon that. And then the other difficulty is just making sure that your tech team approves of the simplifications that you make to translate to the masses.
How important do you think the role of Delegators are to the future of The Graph?
Tegan Kline (25:52):
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 the least technical role, it’s extremely important to help secure The Graph Network. And so I personally am delegating within The Graph Network to help secure the ecosystem. And then one interesting piece is that Delegators can’t be slashed within The Graph Network so their funds are safe, or SAFU, if we’ll repeat what CZ had put on Twitter, that became a meme within the blockchain ecosystem.
So how did you as a Delegator approach that important decision of selecting an Indexer to stake your GRT with?
Tegan Kline (26:35):
That’s a great question. When I approached this, I chose a handful of different Indexers within the network to delegate to, mainly because decentralization and distribution is very important to me. And so I didn’t choose the Indexers that had the most stake there. I chose the ones that had less stake, but also just understanding each Indexer has their own economic model, so it’s important to understand that, understand the portion of the fees they’re allocating to Delegators and why. And so also Brandon Ramirez, one of the co-founders in 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 choosing your Indexer and deciding as a Delegator how to allocate your GRT. And then you can also check out the Get to Know Your Indexer series that Zuni and Ghost, 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.
Tegan Kline (27:46):
It’s been wonderful to see so much participation within The Graphs governance, hundreds of votes, thousands of comments. I guess the one thing I’ll say is that it’s really important for everyone in the ecosystem to keep in mind and remember that The Graph needs each piece within the ecosystem to live on and flourish in a healthy way. And so I think it’s important that the Delegators and Indexers unite together and not divide, and really listen to one another’s needs, 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?
Tegan Kline (28:31):
I would say keep an eye on the blog. There’s a lot of really exciting things that are happening around product. Curation we’ll be launching soon, which is really exciting. Delegators can also be Curators to help mint signal on a bonding curve so that the Indexers know which subgraphs to stake upon. And then adding more partnership announcements, The Graph has the potential to become larger than any Layer 1, because The Graph integrates every piece of the stack, be it the applications, dapps as we call them, Layer 2 blockchains or Layer 1 blockchains, and then also different storage networks. So really excited to 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?
Tegan Kline (29:23):
Yes. So I would say Delegators can be Curators. Curators are open data alpha finders. So they are identifying the new cool subgraphs that are coming up and minting signal and a bonding curve early to capture value. And so many Delegators can also be Curators and vice versa. And so I would say the Indexers are the more technical role. So for example, I wouldn’t be an Indexer, because it’s really focused on DevOps and the Indexers have a really important and difficult job that they’re doing. But if you have the technical chops and the desire, if that’s something you’re passionate about, then absolutely you could be an Indexer and a Curator. And then the other piece is the subgraph developers can also be Curators, because they understand their subgraph and maybe potential future subgraphs that may be coming out. And so early on in the ecosystem, we expect that many subgraph developers will also be Curators.
Do you think crypto has the ability to address longstanding issues related to underserved or underrepresented groups like women and minorities?
Tegan Kline (31:08):
I think as I mentioned, we’re creating this new financial system and new internet and we need all voices from all around the table. So diversity is extremely important, both gender, race, 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 our 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 within the crypto space, we can do a lot better job at welcoming minorities, welcoming women into the conversation. As founders, I really urge you to make sure that there are diverse individuals on your cap tables. Make sure that you’re reaching out to the women in your ecosystem, to minorities within the ecosystem, to offer them the opportunity. Many of the cap tables I’ve seen are mostly all white male, and I think that we can start there and make a change there.
Also, 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, “This low level analyst, or something of [inaudible 00:32:20] now we’re diverse.” That’s not it. You need to make sure that’s trickling up to the leadership level. And so I think that this is really important for everyone within the ecosystem to make strides towards, even if you are a white male, you also have a responsibility to bringing diversity to your team and any 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?
Tegan Kline (32:47):
I relate to that fear being someone who has a strong skillset set on the business side, we haven’t done a great job in crypto making non-technical folks feel welcome. And that is one thing I strive to do with The Graph is make it digestible and make those people feel, because I think that we are creating a new financial system and a new internet, and so the crypto space needs voices from all across the table. 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 we are building into the future and we need people to help translate that future to the masses so that we can get to that future. If we just let the people that are technical run with it, they’ll build really great things, but maybe the broader audience might not understand how they can benefit from what they’re building. And so I would say don’t be turned off or don’t be afraid by the technical nature. Get in, understand the technical pieces enough so that you can translate them to the masses, but you don’t necessarily need to be able to sit down and code yourself. Please 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?
Tegan Kline (34:18):
I think that getting involved in this space can potentially help them find meaning and purpose in their lives. Coming from Ohio, there was so much talent within my graduating class, within 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. And 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 get in and add value in many different ways and forms.
So I would love to see more people from small towns across America and really across the globe who may not have access to this opportunity with the internet. It doesn’t matter where you are, you can get involved in this space. And so we can bring this opportunity with blockchain technology to those small towns. And I believe The Graph Foundation is going to be launching an ambassador program soon. So if there’s anyone who is in that situation where you want to get involved, you don’t know how, you’re really hungry, you’re really driven, reach out, because there are so many opportunities within The Graph ecosystem, you could yourself become an ambassador to 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 and what is it about crypto that enables you to pursue it?
Tegan Kline (35:58):
For me, my meaning to life is very much like to make the world a better place than I came into it. And taking that a step further, it’s making every day better than I entered it. And so I was always searching for a career that would allow me to tap into this while also making a living for myself. Being an independent individual who grew up in Ohio, that’s 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 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 I feel like every day I’m working to make the world better, and that’s really what I’m striving to do.
And I think that Ethereum really embodies the values that I have and The Graph as well. And so getting to work within these organizations, and expanding that to other blockchains, and bringing those values with us as we move into other blockchains, other ecosystems within the web3 space. So The Graph is really disrupting the ad market, the data market, empowering individuals, Indexers, Curators, Delegators such as yourself and many of your listeners. And The Graph has definitely changed my life and so many people’s lives, but there’s so much more to go.
And I think just ahead of The Graph Network launch, there were many different individuals of thousands of people from over a hundred countries that were involved within The Graph ecosystem. And one story is just when we launched the Curator kickoff call, there were individuals on that call on video that were in viscerally difficult situations. And one I recall vividly was one who was in a really tiny room without a door, and that those individuals were really rewarded for the contributing to The Graph protocol so early. And I think within The Graph ecosystem, what we’ve strived to do is make sure that everyone, for their contributions, the token economics really enable them to be rewarded 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 Yaniv Tal at The Graph that not only brought you back into crypto, but drew you to that project. What can you tell us about that conversation?
Tegan Kline (38:35):
Yaniv is a visionary. He lives into the future and he’s helping build towards this future. And so about three years ago, Yaniv taught me about The Graph, this open data layer that lived on top of Ethereum. And he told me about a difficult decision he had to make when he was fundraising, and that was to take money to be centralized or to decentralize from the beginning. And he chose the latter, and I have so much respect for him. He’s made so many hard decisions that it could have changed the course of history for The Graph, and thus the web3 space and Yaniv really stays true to his values and goes towards that. And I’ve never seen him sway. And so I’m just really appreciative to work with someone who has such a strong value set, and I think him and I are able to help guide, we both do this, but in different ways. So it drives us to do a very values aligned future.
So what’s the lesson from that moment in your life and how does that inform what you’re doing today?
Tegan Kline (39:45):
Within the blockchain space, we have this really… I got into the blockchain space, because of the mission, because of the values. And what I saw was a lot of people taking those values and hiding behind them to benefit for themselves to enrich themselves. And that’s not what I got into this space for. And so it was really difficult to see people that I respected doing that and actively in that behavior. And I think humans have the potential to be greedy. I think greed can live inside everyone. It’s our responsibility to curb and control that greed. And so, you see people that you really respect, you really admire, but they get lost in the greed of it. And I’ve seen Yaniv choose against that time and time again, as well as many other people within the Edge & Node team. And I’m just really grateful to be surrounded by people that are mission and values focus.
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?
Tegan Kline (40:52):
For me, I always look for decentralized, open source, permissionless technologies. There’s some that I’m really excited about radical, which is decentralizing the code, Connext, which is cross chain payments within the state channel space. EPNS, decentralized notifications, oh, of course, Uniswap v3. I think the Uniswap team is super visionary and always building into the future, and so really excited about what they’re doing there, democratizing finance. And then excited about all the Layer 2 blockchain. So Arbitrum, Polygon, Optimism. I think Connext is the glue helping with composability between blockchain, so 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 now?
Tegan Kline (41:45):
It’s difficult because I wouldn’t want to change the course of history, because I’m so grateful to where I’ve ended up in my career and in life. But I would say just stay true to your values, look for your passion, and don’t sway from your value set. Really try to absorb all the lessons and everything around you. But if you are feeling like you’re in a oppressed situation, or you’re not fulfilled, don’t feel stuck by the “safety” that you have, really step outside of your comfort zone, because it’s oftentimes when you do that that the best things happen to you. And I would also say that the more I’ve stayed true to my values, the better life has become. And so I would give the listeners that advice too, is stay true to your values, look for your passion, and I’m sure you’ll find it.
Tegan, 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?
Tegan Kline (42:55):
So you can find me on Twitter @theklineventure. 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 and 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.