Episode 12: Today I’m speaking with Pranav Maheshwari, a Solutions Engineer at Edge & Node working on The Graph community and ecosystem. Our conversations covers a variety of topics, including Pranav’s perspectives on crypto in India, his home country; his role as Solutions Engineer at Edge & Node; his long-term vision for The Graph; and how he first became interested in The Graph.
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Because as I was saying, the web3 stack is incomplete without The Graph. Decentralized applications cannot be called the decentralized without The Graph. So that’s if you are in the right mindset. If you are in the right directions of the Web3 ecosystem if you’re here for the longer duration, if you’re here for the longer term, if you have that kind of vision. That’s where I see people talking a great amount about The Graph.
Welcome to the GRTiQ podcast. Today I’m speaking with Pranav Maheshwari, a Solutions Engineer with Edge & Node recently joined The Graph community and has made quite an impact already taking the lead on several community-based initiatives and making contact with stakeholders throughout the ecosystem. Our conversation was insightful, ranging from Pranav’s background in academia and crypto, his vision for how The Graph fits into Web3, and why he decided to join the team at Edge & Node. We started the conversation talking about how the people of India, Pranav’s home, feel about crypto and when he first became aware of The Graph.
I must say that there is a lot of misinformation that’s you know, currently spread. So there are two kinds of people, one, were totally ignorant and think that crypto is a scam. Every project that comes out of something like blockchain is a scam. That’s one kind of people and always the thing that you know, if you work in this whole Web3 community or this industry, you’re working, or you’re being a part of the scam, those are the people who are the ignorant ones, then there is second kind of people, the people who just want to put in their money and want to 10x it because of the volatility of the crypto industry. And you know, they have nothing to do with the whole, you know, Web3 revolution, the decentralization, the whole reason we buy we are part of this whole blockchain as ecosystem, they don’t, they have to do nothing about it. What they want is that, you know, they put 10 bucks, and at the end of let’s say, two months, they wanted 1000 bucks, that’s something that they actually, you know, consider prosper. So for them, crypto is just a way to make money. And, you know, those are the second type of people who are very ignorant, and they just, you know, want to have some things out of the whole crypto community and industry. Then the third kind and which are very rare and very, you know, difficult to find are the people who really value Web3 as a community and then look into crypto. And that was actually my part as well, in the whole Web3 community. First of all, I attended the hackathon I understood the Ethereum Foundation, I understood the whole concept of blockchain as I actually, you know, even gave lectures on blockchain. I understood this whole community, this whole ecosystem, why this whole crypto exists, why blockchain exists? Why, you know, decentralized applications come up? Why do we think there is a need for Decentralized Finance? Why banks are ripping us off? And that’s why we need Decentralized Finance. Why do we need Non-Fungible Tokens? Why, you know, is all this making up actual sense? And you know, why will this in future come up to make something like Web3, where web two will be something which will be forgotten, and Web3 will be something which will be a part of the new internet? That was my beginning in the Web3 community? First, I understood that I understood blockchain and then I understood crypto also being a part of this. If you talk about this whole community, I would never say that crypto is something which is not a part of it. It is definitely one but that’s not something that we should focus on that just you can say, you know, just one aspect of it. What you should focus on is the innovation involved in this whole ecosystem, different pieces, making up different things and how this whole community as a whole is working in a decentralized fashion, where all the people together are a part of making decisions and not just one centralized body that we are used to in the web 2.0 community. So those kind of people are the third people who understand the whole value of the Web3 community but they are very, very rare. But thanks to many projects, for example, Polygon or EPNS, or even The Graph is doing currently, you know, great work. So these are the people who are educating the whole community, the Indian developer community in the Indian finance community and related people about crypto public blockchains, and how they can be used to leverage the best out of internet of the future.
What would be the impact on the people of India, and some of the challenges faced in that part of the world if crypto were more widespread or accepted?
So when you talk about India, you can say that the INR when India got independence, when INR was equal to $1. Just think about it, what kind of inflation we have gone through. Of course, it’s not that bad as Venezuela. It’s not that visible as other countries fortunately, but it is something of significance right now. $1 is equal to 75 rupees. Just think about it 75 times. So if somebody had put 75 rupees in his bank account, that’s converted to one rupee right now, the value of that 75 rupees is one rupees, somebody had 75,000 rupees, that’s what 1000 rupees. And that’s really painful for the people of India, because Indian mentality is all about spending less, and saving more, saving more money, so that you can look into future Indian people are very futuristic and save a lot of money for the coming events are coming future, let’s say different things that can happen. So there is a lot of inflation around this Indian economy. And crypto can actually solve that. I won’t say that should be a starting point for a person to understand the different projects in the Ethereum ecosystem. But that does give somebody a power that, you know, in total, there’ll be only 21 million Bitcoin, right? There’ll be no person in the world who can increase that to some other value. It’s not an inflationary value. And that’s what gives somebody a trust that it is not an inflationary asset. And definitely, I can look into this, once that guy understand the basic ethos of the crypto community, which definitely has a lot of projects, but one of them is Bitcoin, one of the most important one is Bitcoin, that can actually get people get started into it, that can actually get the government talking about it. So Bitcoin does play an important role in this whole economy and economic awareness. So if people understand the INR that they are having, is losing its value day by day, and they start being a part of the Bitcoin community, they will start understanding Ethereum. Because what second to Bitcoin, right? It’s definitely Ethereum. They will start understanding Ethereum, Ethereum as a productive asset, you know, then they’ll understand the technology behind it. That’s something like blockchain. And that’s where, you know, they will understand the whole Web3 as a paradigm, Web3 as the new internet. And that will bring the people off the mainstream to Web3 through. This is one of the routes of people coming who are just very much concerned of their money. Then they come to know about Bitcoin, they come to know about Ethereum, they come to know about blockchain, the company where three as a whole stack, and definitely they understand different projects that have been built in this whole new thing, right. So that’s what I really, really want to happen. And this is an economic entry to the Web3 space for Indians. That’s one part. The second part is where the government can look into there is a state in India that is known as Telangana and they wanted to put land records on the blockchain. There were somewhat we call us shipments and related which documentation we’re going to get verified on the blockchain and related. So if people start understanding blockchain, the ethos behind blockchain understand you know, different applications of blockchain that can also bring a lot of people into this whole space and make them understand this because India has been having this problem of corruption. And that is something that can be solved by a public ledger, which can only be provided by blockchain. So this particular way of application where people start using blockchain without knowing it, and later they come to know about oh, this was built on blockchain. That’s why the problems that we used to face before we don’t have to face now, that is the second way where people start using or interacting with the blockchain directly via different you know, portals and they understand this whole process was not tedious, just because we use blockchain at the backend. That is a second way you know, people can just understand this the whole nation can get into from Web3 to Web3. The third way and definitely a thing that many people currently modern Indians talk about is the foreign direct investment. Currently, you know, Bitcoin Miami happened. Many people flew to that particular conference. Why? Because the mayor of Miami was very supportive of the whole Bitcoin Miami thing happening right and that brought a lot of this culture into this whole city right? At the end, who were the people who have benefited? The people of Miami were benefited because you know, different hotels got occupied and in a whole way, the economy got boosted just on that particular city. Why? Because they were in line with the Bitcoin community and the Ethereum community and the web tech community and related, right, this community has a lot to offer, if you just show some of your support. So if any particular state any particular city supports this particular community, the community will overwhelm that particular city with lots and lots of events, lots and lots of economic activity happening, and add a very, you know, larger scope, what we call us the foreign direct investment happening. And that’s what is definitely something that a developing nation like India requires. So I’m definitely very optimistic about India, and the government’s approach. And I’m also very optimistic about people adopting blockchain, public blockchains, and you know, interacting through it. So there are three ways one is economics. Second is directly interacting by a decentralized application. And third one is very, you know, these kind of events start happening, where people just are so much hyped up, they are making so much value out of it, that they start understanding and learning about this whole asset. They are not forced, but they are delighted to learn.
What can you tell us about your professional and educational background?
I’m an engineer, I did my Bachelors of Technology in India. So while doing my bachelor’s, I started researching around blockchain and found this very, very interesting, intriguing. And at that point, in time, I was doing a lot of freelance work, because that really is well paid tuition fees. So at that point in time, I was very much engaged with the backend work, and you know, Node JS, full-stack web development and related stuff. But I found that, you know, many people were crowded around that particular place, and many people were doing that particular thing. And it was the same kind of thing, you know, people doing it again, and again. And that’s when I was doing a lot of hackathon. Because that really, you know, pushed me to make a particular application and two days and make it to production and things like that, in a way, actually, you know, that really helped me to push forward my level of skills, and you know, make it better. So that’s why I was doing a lot of hackathon. And I found this ETHIndia hackathon to be really exciting, because they had a lot of great prizes, and many great people that I really admired from Twitter, and related places were a part of it. So I just when applied for that particular ETHIndia hackathon and went through that, and really enjoyed my two days at India, talked to a bunch of founders, they were very open to any kind of ideas, and more than other hackathons that I had been to, or any other spaces or any other hackathon that had been through, I really like that particular space, and the people who were communicating to that, because they were also very much enthusiastic, and with you with all the hackathon, you know, all the stuff that you’re doing, and that really excited me to go through that. And that’s how I got started with Ethereum. And, you know, that actually got me into this particular whole space of wild west, you know, crypto Ethereum, Web3 space blockchain and related things. This was more of an on that particular hackathon. Unfortunately, didn’t win it. But I took a lot of information out of the hackathon, and made up my mind that I’m going to do this full time all the time. And that’s how I got started into the blockchain space, the Web3 space. And after my college, I, along with two of my other people that I was into in that particular hackathon that were not from India, but rather from Europe and, you know, related places, wanted to build something like Peepit that is, you know, people is decentralized twitter. And, you know, those people have created, we only created it and wanted to build something like that. And that’s how we got started with a decentralized Twitter kind of idea. But in that point in time, you know, the Crypto Kitties was booming. Ethereum was, you know, having these issues of scalability and related and while we were making and testing that particular application, every tweet, or every, you know, small blog post that we are putting it was taking something like $10, to make it happen on Ethereum. And that’s where we decided that, you know, this is not something which is practical, and this is not something that we can really work on. But at that point in time, I had already, you know, finished some of my work and was already or wouldn’t want to be a part of any of these, you know, what we call as a web to industry or a part of any web or code part of it or, you know, be a part of the full stack web development and related things, because that was very monotonous. And I wanted to be a part of this wild wild west. And that’s where I started doing a lot of freelancing work, you know, made some other smart contracts, connected those things with Web3 and really enjoyed the time because I was making good amount of money at that point in time, but eventually build a company out of it, which is a service based company, and that was working great growing great, but I didn’t feel like that was my calling. And that’s how I got into a lot of teaching and related things. I used to take a lot of workshops, I’ve taken works also many colleges, you know, not just taught one or two days. I’ve also taught for six months being, let’s say, adjunct faculty or what we call us, the visiting faculty in India, right for many, many reputed colleges and Bengaluru and related places. And that actually was the time where while I was explaining those kinds of concepts, I myself started getting a lot of admiration for those kinds of concepts. Because then you are teaching, you even understand in a deeper sense about blockchain about how, you know, this whole beautiful concept on off chain list is created and why blockchains cannot be hacked and why Ethereum is a really great innovation, how Bitcoin started and you know, what was the backstory behind it, how beautiful the blockchain is, and related things that that’s actually you know, how my even more admiration while I was teaching, my admiration for a blockchain and Ethereum actually grew. And that’s where he was WazirX contacted me, which is a good exchange in India for doing some of their workshops. And you know, I happily agreed and try doing those kinds of things. So I got involved in WazirX community did some of their workshops for, you know, different colleges and different places that were a part of I met a bunch of really interesting people with really great ideas, and, you know, really wanted to implement those kinds of things. And yeah, while I was in between all these kinds of things, I was actually looking into, you know, I want to be a part of any kind of project and get into the mainstream of crypto or in other terms, I really wanted to get into the mainstream of Web3. And that’s where MATIC struck me in, I think, is what a great project in India, for, I would rather say at that point in time, the only project that was, you know, doing great in the Web3 space, or was which was building something solid that was required for the Ethereum infrastructure and related and since I had used the Ethereum infrastructure, before that, I already knew that it needed some kind of development. And that’s how I got interviewed for Polygon. At that point in time, it was more like MATIC. And that’s how I got started being a part of Polygon. And you know, little by little while I was exploring the whole Polygon industry. In other words, while I was exploring the whole Web3 industries, Polygon really helped me to understand the core values of Web3, understand the whole prospect of how Web3 works, or the blockchain work for the crypto works. And that was the whole story of how I actually, you know, got started into crypto, and how I really became a part of the Web3 community a part of the Web3 industry, I understood the ethos of how decentralization was, why it is important for us why this whole new paradigm of internet is coming. And that was actually my calling for the web. So you can say that I got started with something like, you know, I would say, by a hackathon by meeting these kind of, you know, very cool founders, what, in my terms, I call them hippies. I believe I’m also a hippie, you know, in that term, so yeah, in a good way, right. So I really like those kind of people, I really got into that by a hackathon, then, by levels educating, I really, you know, understood the whole value of blockchain on a technical level. And then, you know, while I was a part of Polygon, I really understood the whole community and the ecosystem and why we are doing this. And what are the future prospects of this?
This idea of hackathon comes up all the time in the podcast? I’ve never actually been to one, how would you describe what a hackathon is to somebody who’s never been?
Oh my god, it’s definitely an experience to go for. It’s a place where you are in for, let’s say, two days, or one day, depending on what the duration of that hackathon, and you come up with those crazy ideas for implementation. So there are some sponsor of that particular hackathon, which you know, just present their particular product, and you’re using that particular product, let’s say API’s, for example, in the case of Graph, you’re using subgraph to create really awesome stuff, which can actually be used in the future, for example, you know, while I was in ETHIndia 1.0, there was this particular application, which was InstaDApp of those people created that InstaDApp in two days, and now currently it is like, you know, in the top 10, in DeFi Pulse and related things, so you know, that is the place, actually, you know, it is a high volume, high intensity, that kind of square box, where everybody is kept in ideas flowing around everything, you know, people are getting crazy about what can be built, what cannot be built, what are the do’s that have to be done, and compressed in the two days, the don’ts that should not be done, and you know, different design decisions just made in that small amount of time. And the implementation also happening at that point in time and judgment also happening, lots and lots of feedback also given at that point in time only because many veterans of that particular industry are also present in that particular market. So it’s a bunch of crazy people gathered together at one particular place trying to innovate things.
Can you take a minute and tell us a little bit about your role at Edge & Node and what you’re doing in The Graph?
Yeah, I’m currently a solutions engineer. So what a solutions engineer does is like, you know, whatever issues, so let’s say, you know, there is this particular decentralized application, which is trying to build upon the product that we have, right? And they are facing some kind of issue. So we help them to go through the whole process, understand, or even point out to the docs, which are, you know, required to make this or implement that particular aspect or phrase, which he might be lacking through, and also help them troubleshoot if you know, there is a particular error that might be occurring over there. Also, like, you know, I am very, very active on Discord and, you know, having my eyes over there just trying to understand what are the developers current issues, and where we have to put our messaging even better, so that our documentation are good, even the product that we have is, you know, going great. So I will give some of my feedback to my team, who will take it really greatly on their part to improve on the developer experience, because I believe The Graph is a developer first approach, we always believe in facilitating the developers who build subgraphs. And that’s where you know, the whole ethos of The Graph foundation and Edge & Node lies in. So you know, I’m always on Discord, trying to understand what particular places a developer might be lacking through or, you know, what particular places are subgraph developer who’s trying to develop a subgraph is actually lacking. And that’s where, you know, I try to help him understand the whole combination of why he is lacking through. And that particular question that he has put in is not just something that I have to answer, that’s also a feedback for me to understand, ‘Oh, this is a place where most of the developers might be lacking. And I have to take that back to the team’ and try to, you know, facilitate this in whichever way possible, maybe integrate in the documentation, or even, you know, make the product that we are made even better.
So I want to ask you a follow up question about your role as Solutions Engineer. From my perspective, it seems like you’re the glue between the network and developers going back and forth, building the system, what can you share with us about that unique perspective, and what developers think or say about The Graph?
So there are two kinds of people. One are the people like, you know, just trying to copy some of the other success. And that’s also like, you know, understood, they just see a particular subgraph try to imitate that on a particular, you know, let’s say chain or something for sale, and hope that it works. And then there are second kind of people who really want to innovate. These are the people who want to go into the deep aesthetics of how a subgraph is made, how can we make it you know, even more efficient, how the queries that we are getting from the blockchain, via subgraphs can be, you know, made more efficient with the querying can be very, very fast. How can you parallelize upon that, right, so these other two kinds of developers that are normally good, and normally, I focus on the second kind of people who really want to innovate, and make the project even better by, you know, asking the right kind of questions by being always involved and keep on questioning, you know, why this particular thing? Why that particular thing? Why As I was saying, our innovation, as we have also made, you know, our own TypeScript library, so that something like wasn’t can be created, and the whole integration can be done. So they keep questioning for like, you know, for example, we need subgraph composition and related things. So all the feedback that we get are normally from the subgraph developers who are trying to push the line of innovation, because they also know, in the future, when there will only be Web3 people will have to get the data, and they will only get it via The Graph protocol. So currently, we are making the baseline of innovation so that in the future when everything is Web3, and we’ll have to get the data, The Graph protocol is ready with everything. And you know, we have all the things already sorted off for a developer to require. Those are the people I currently work with. I understand their perspective, tried to make the decentralized application work. And whenever they have questions, we deep dive into it. If their query if they have made it work somehow, but it is not efficient. We try to make it efficient, we paralyze on things. And that’s how the ecosystem is built. That’s how the product is made into a great product. And that’s what I try to focus on.
I’m curious if you can remember when you first became aware of The Graph and what you thought at the time?
I was already in Polygon, I was leading the integrations over there. So my role over there was not just you know, helping the dApps building on Polygon to make things happen. But rather, it was also integrations with different facilitators of blockchain, for example, Chainlink, and The Graph and related pieces and puzzles, right EPNS and related things. So at that point in time, while we wanted to integrate with The Graphs, and the whole team wanted to push it very hard. That’s where I learned about The Graph. Because the whole team at the Polygon, and because many decentralized application that we were integrating with Polygon was asking for a decentralized indexing protocol that only The Graph could provide. And, you know, there was a major requirement of The Graph on our particular network. And many applications could not go ahead, without The Graph being a part of it just because of its essentialness to the whole blockchain ecosystem. I read through this to understand, you know, why is it so essential? Why many applications cannot do without it? And why is it a very critical part in the whole puzzle of making a decentralized application? And that’s what increased my curiosity in The Graph as a project to understand, you know, why, why is it so critical, and that actually got me started to learn about The Graph, read their documentation, which was sleek, very, very nice, understood the whole picture, made some subgraphs and played around with the Uniswap subgraph, which also a template and found it like, you know, very beautiful because of different automation that the whole team had done, for example, a simple command, that is Graph codes in, and could generate so much good amount of code, which will save you so much amount of time that I really fell in love with the whole product.
Why did you decide to join Edge & Node and begin working on The Graph?
So I don’t really want to boast about it. But I think I always have an eye for the coming things, right. And that’s something that, you know, I’m very proud of when I was into full-stack web development. At that point in time I understood, you know, something like blockchain is coming, I have to be a part of this community, I have to be a part of this that three, which is the future of internet, what in 1990s, or 2000s the Dotcom, was giving us the blockchain is giving us in 2017, 18, 19, and 20. So I have to be involved in that. So I made the decision to move full-time into you know, blockchain. That was the time right. Secondly, while I was you know, in between things, teaching, also doing some of my freelance, at that point in time, I, you know, researched about this whole concept that Ethereum cannot do without scaling. And the Ethereum 2.0 has a road in line with, you know, something like layer 2.0’s, and, you know, scaling solutions. That’s where I joined the Polygon network grow at that point in time, it was always MATIC. And that decision also included, you know, the team and the ethos and the people who are very much committed to making Ethereum scale Web3 scale, making it the future, and onboarding the next million users to Web3, right, that was my reason for joining Polygon. And similarly, my decision to join The Graph, there were many things which actually motivated me. And, you know, I started dreaming about being a part of The Graph because of these reasons. The first one is innovation, The Graph team never stops, if there is a roadblock, they always research find out the solution, and you know, solve for that. For example, I can give you one example that is something like the scalar. While The Graph team was making The Graph protocol, they thought that state channels is something that can be used for paying for the queries right, by the end users. But that had some issue, the state channel in itself had some issues around that particular thing, you know, Yanis explained very, very beautifully. But that was an issue, right? And The Graph team solved for it with an example that is scalar, they innovated to that it was not just state channels, but a combination, a very beautiful combination of scalar and vector making this whole micro transactions in a scalable fashion in a fast fashion without any issues. Right? That is just one random example I’m giving you that The Graph team has innovated on. Mind you it’s not that easy to query the blockchain, which is already decentralized query that adapt to in a decentralized fashion, right? It does require a bunch of innovation. And you it is not like, you know, you can just copy Ethereum you can just copy a particular project and make it happen. It requires a lot of planning, then, you know, when see implemented then still, you know, you have to get back research through the roadblocks that are there, then innovate and then move forward. And it was something that I really wanted to be a part of, because I believe The Graph team is on a mission to make the web decentralized. And their particular piece that The Graph is working on is something that is very essential to make the web decentralized, or what we call as the Web3 without The Graph, web cannot be decentralized, because we won’t have decentralized querying from where the dApps will get the information, right. So I definitely matched up with their ethos and their whole motivation to innovate, rather than, you know, finding out some short term solutions. That was the first reason. The second one was that they really, really focused on big issues, as well as very, very small things as well. For example, you can talk about every GIP that is created that has a craze around the Discord, you know, people start discussing, oh, this is something that will bring, you know, that kind of innovation, you know, what can be done, what cannot be done, so many people are excited. And, you know, GIP’s is a great way to portray them, you know, that we want this particular change in the network. And many people proposing that and, you know, related discussion happening around it. So this whole buzz without even, you know, let’s say incentives, or any kind of, you know, benefit, just because people want to see The Graph, succeed as a project, because of it are very important, as in the Web3, space was another motivation for me to be a part of it. Again, many people like you, or there was this guy named as Toby who I talked to before joining The Graph, he keeps on answering people on Discord. And he might even take one or two hours, but he makes sure that that particular guy, you know, has his question solved. That is just because of the sheer love for The Graph as a project, because they also understand what The Graph is doing, which is making indexing in a decentralized fashion is not easy, and how much ever we can help them we should. And that’s what, you know, there’s this whole feeling of being a part of the community is something that I really wanted to be a part of, I really wanted to be a part of this community. That’s why you know, I joined the Discord I, you know, actively interacted with these people who are very, very active over the OGs of, you know, subgraph creators or Indexers or who are a part of this whole network. Before that I understood, why were they a part of it, and believe me, none of them talk about any kind of price action about the idea related, it’s all about innovation. It’s all about Web3. It’s all about the future. And when I saw Yanivs talk on, I saw it on YouTube, I was I was not that fortunate enough that, you know, he called me on The Graph day and, you know, made me listen to that live Otherwise, I would have become a fan at that point in time only. But, you know, I listened to it on YouTube, while he was talking about the internet, the web, and the next web, what was wrong, what was not done, right? What has to be worked upon? And what are the particular goals issues ends, and that you’re solving for, and you know, what our particular vision to make The Graph, and that made me definitely crave to be a part of this whole community. So to say, not just a project, or a protocol, goal, or this community, and you know, why not join the team, if you really want to be so much into this whole community, which is on a mission to make Web3 great to make Web3, the next future to make Web3 really decentralized? And that was my reason to join.
How would you explain what The Graph is to somebody who’s non-technical or unfamiliar with the crypto space?
It’s been it like your five, we can say that currently, you are in a room, which is full of books, you can say you are in a library, and you’re trying to find a particular word, right? What will you do, you don’t have any manual anything. That’s what it is like without The Graph on the blockchain, you’re just there trying to search through every book, every page, trying to find that particular word that is only available in one particular book, one particular page. Now what The Graph facilitates through it. First of all, if you’re in that particular library, it will give you a whole manual which has that letter. So first of all, you will go to the book. And in that book, there will be an index, which will give you the exact word. So what you have to do, first of all, you have to go to that particular manual to find that book. And from that book, you just start to find that word, right. So it is that easy to solve that particular word, if you are in that sense. So I’m just trying to create that analogy, like it’s a five in an even better sense, if I’m trying to make you understand that it is an indexing and querying protocol, or in other terms, it reads from the blockchain. If you want to find out a particular let’s say, white and black Crypto Kitty that was created at that point in time, which has this particular hybrid patient, what you will do if you don’t have The Graph, you will actually query every block, try to understand every event, you know, and make it happen. And that’s not something what we call as user friendly, because that that which is seeing that particular, you know, information, we’ll have to wait, while the whole querying process is going on with every block and mind you Ethereum or all the, you know, blockchain that currently coming are having a lot of blocks that will be first of all, very, very, not user friendly. The second approach, which people you know, try to do if they are not going for The Graph is that they have a centralized Indexer, which is listening to a particular information just to cater to that particular information, people just process that information and get it to the dApp. That is against the whole ethos of decentralization. If you’re trying to make a decentralized application that does not just mean that you have to be on a blockchain. But that also means the infrastructure, or the stack you’re using has to be totally decentralized. And that is only possible if you’re using a decentralized indexing and querying protocol that is The Graph. So what The Graph does, it actually indexes the blockchain so that your decentralized application, when it is required, can read from that index information in a decentralized fashion? Of course.
So somebody who’s new to Edge & Node and beginning work on The Graph, you bring a fresh perspective? What’s the buzz out in the crypto space about The Graph? What did you hear or see before you make the move over?
Again, I believe everywhere, there are two kinds of people while a good kind of people who are there for the right reasons. And then there are you know, I won’t say bad kind of people, but those are the people who are more of driven by things that don’t align with the ethos of The Graph protocol, the Web3 ecosystem, or you can say, even my values, which are more related to project driven things, right. So similar is the case with, you know, The Graph buzz, there are some kind of people who criticize and say that The Graph does not have a lot of PR standing in Asia and related places where I mind you like me, coming from Asia, there is a lot of paid PR that you have to do all the time to get yourself listed and you know, get going and related things. On the other hand, there are some kind of people who always think that it’s all about if the project that you’re working on that particular cryptocurrency is doing great volume that is, you know, making the buzz, you’re doing the right thing. But that’s not at all correct, right? It’s rather about the innovation that you’re doing in the project, the milestones that you’re hitting in the project that really makes sense. And the people in the Web3, who are here for the long term who know that mind, you’re not saying who think I’m saying who know. So the people in Web3, who know that, you know, Web3 is going to be the future, definitely admire The Graph protocol, are active on Discord, and try to contribute their bit to this whole project. Because as I was saying, the Web3 stack is incomplete without The Graph, decentralized applications cannot be called the supplies without The Graph. So that’s if you are in the right mindset, if you’re in the right directions of the Web3 ecosystem, if you’re here for the longer duration, if you’re here, for the longer term, if you have that kind of vision. That’s where I see people talking great about The Graph. That’s where I see, you know, people talking about, oh, this is all about arbitration, this is how you will get a query, which is always proven, you can always, you know, question that particular query that you know, this information that I’ve got, is it correct or not, I can question that. And then there is stake on the Indexer, by disputes and related things, you know, making that happen. This is such a powerful thing, whatever data that currently you get in web 2.0, you have to just accept that without, you know, even questioning that guy, because that’s how the web two revolves around. Similarly, there are some decentralized applications, who use these kinds of ethos, which are a part of the metal space that whatever data you’re getting, cannot question that whatever it is there, that’s all like that. But The Graph via this whole Web3 as a package, is even giving you this power to question the data that you’re getting. And that’s a really powerful thing. So the people who are a part of the Web3 ethos, believe that or definitely talk about The Graph as a mechanism or as a tool to empower the Web3 ecosystem, the user experience the users who are directly using those decentralized applications, and giving them the right you know, authority to question the data they’re getting. So these are the kinds of views are normally here. And I’m normally the second kind of guy.
So before or outside of your solutions engineer role, do you have any other roles within The Graph ecosystem? For example, are you a Delegator or a Curator?
Oh, yeah. Like, you know, as I was telling you, my reason for joining The Graph was the fantastic community. I really wanted to be involved in that. And so I’m currently a Delegator in The Graph ecosystem. I’m a Delegator, I delegate to a particular Indexer. But it’s not just about you know, you can participate by being a Curator being a Delegator or Indexer. You can also be a part of the network by being active on Discord by communicating or interacting with different subgraph developers on Discord by doing different Indexers on Discord on you know, trying to understand how this whole protocol work. If you want to be a part of the network, you can just be a part of Discord, understand and be active over there, try to answer questions, maybe even ask questions, be a part of, you know, Indexer Office Hour, you can be a part of that. So in that, since I believe if you’re a part of Discord, you are already a part of the whole great project and making, you’re already contributing to Web3. So it’s not just about delegated Curator or Indexer, or even being arbitrator or anything, it’s just about being a part of the project, how are you being a part of project how you are giving your two cents to the project. And that’s something you can do by being just involved in the Discord. And that’s how I actually started. I didn’t, you know, just straight away had bought some GRT and delegated it and things like that. That’s not what I did. What I rather did, is that I was a part of the Discord community, I understood that this definitely is a genuine project, these people really care about the ethos of Web3, and these people really care about decentralization. And that’s why, you know already live or doing these kinds of testing, taking some of some time off their busy schedule. Why are they doing that because they believe in the project, they believe in Web3, they know that without The Graph, Web3 cannot be called decentralized, or it cannot follow the whole ethos of Web3. So they were encouraged to you know, dedicate some time, start testing on the network and start doing these kinds of things, right. So how you can be a part of the whole ecosystem by how you can be a part of the project, how you can be a part of the network, by just being a part of Discord, being involved in the community being coming into town halls, just commenting on the forum that we have amazing forum, right? You are already part of the network, you’re already helping build the next web by being a part of The Graph.
I always ask guests of the podcast how they define or would describe a subgraph. So how do you define or describe what is subgraph is?
The Graph which is running and you know, listening to the blockchain. Subgraphs actually, is for your particular decentralized application, and just requires to listen to a bunch of smart contracts, because you just need that particular information. So in a subgraph, you specify that these are the bunch of events that are really want to listen to, and that what subgraph defines. So in other words, what subgraph does is that it actually specifies what particular information from the whole blockchain should The Graph bring to you as a decentralized application.
One question about subgraphs I’ve never really understood is whether they already exist on blockchain, or if subgraphs need to be created. How should I think about that?
Oh, okay. Subgraphs is something that I was telling that subgraph is Ethereum stack. What that means is your application or your decentralized application that you have created is incomplete without subgraphs. So if you’re launching a decentralized application that is incomplete without a subgraph, for example, Uniswap is launching a decentralized application, which is there, you know, AMM. The info page that is powered by The Graph is something that the Uniswap team has deployed, I have made that particular subgraph and or getting that information out of the blockchain or to the info page in a decentralized fashion, of course, in the near future when the network launches. So Uniswap team has created that subgraph and the API’s that are open are actually something that you know, are powering the info page. And they are not just powering the info.uniswap page, but they are also powering other people who require that particular information because we are in an open environment where information is something that is shared by everybody. And so that’s why we have these open API that people can actually listen to. Right. So that’s again, a part of the ethos, as I was saying, The Graph actually checkmarks all the ethos of the blockchain, that is decentralization and openness and all those kinds of things that, you know, we might be talking in the future in this particular episode. But yeah, that was the basic reason of me also joining The Graph.
A lot of exciting things are happening at The Graph, the migration of subgraphs to the mainnet, new people like you joining the project, and community members, creating dashboards, tools and resources, and a whole bunch of other really great things. So to balance this perspective, in your opinion, what are some of the challenges The Graph would need to address?
So The Graph is a decentralized indexing and querying protocol, right? What people need to realize is that their decentralized application is not decentralized without using The Graph. So this is the first problem that people need to understand that decentralized indexing and querying is important for your application to be called decentralized application. In other words, indexing has to be as important of this whole infrastructure of decentralization, as what we currently think Oracle’s are as important we can say that, so that’s one part two, you know, which we are currently looking into. Secondly, I believe the Web3 mindset, I believe, that’s something that you know, the whole Web3 community has to look into. But The Graph also has taken this initiative for, you know, onboarding, the next million users or the next billion users to Web3. So this whole Web3 mindset of you know making people realize that why decentralization is important, why permissionless ness is important. Why we are in the space, why we are doing all this stack thing, why we are using Chainlink, why we are using Ethereum? Why we are using Solana, why we are using The Graph, we have to make the developers realize that the current web two apps that are created, have their own issues, and have to be solved for. And they can only be solved if they are upgraded, or they are made from the beginning with the Web3 stack. That is the second challenge that The Graph currently is working on. Thirdly, making people realize that any part in a decentralized application, if it is centralized, then your application has single points of failure. And you cannot call it a decentralized application. So we have to make the dApp developers realize that if you’re using centralized servers to query your information, it is not a decentralized application. And you have to use a decent like indexing and querying protocol to make your application to be called a true dApp, right? So say no to, you know, centralized indexes. And even the people who are using those kinds of decentralized applications have to go deep and understand is the application that I’m using really decentralized, or in other words, is it the correct way of Web3? Is it following all the ethos? We have to educate people, this whole community, this whole Web3 industry is not just about high APY’s, or 400x NFT price? What about crypto punks getting you know, high price, it is about a set of values. And that is the reason why we are here, right. So if any particular piece in the whole puzzle of creating a decentralized application does not fall into a part of that ethos that has to be taken care of, we have to make people aware, we have to make people realize that those are the kinds of challenges that The Graph protocol currently faces, and actually are what you’re solving for. Also, there are some kind of, you know, educational initiatives that we are currently working on, to make people understand and build subgraphs at ease, you know, understand this whole creating a yml file, then an entity GraphQL file and making that mapping.ts file to actually create a subgraph and then deploying it on a hosted service or in the network in the future. Right. So that’s also an educational initiative and educational campaign, so that as people like in a flow, use MongoDB, right now, they can use or build upon subgraphs so that the daps can use the information that are portrayed by those open API’s in the form of GraphQL that I created, that those are the kinds of things that you know, currently, The Graph is currently facing challenges on and I believe we are already working on them make Web3 a reality.
I always like to ask guests of the podcast what their long term vision for The Graph is. So I’d like to ask you the same. What’s your long term vision for The Graph?
That’s a very important question. And what I think is if whenever a person is talking about application, he’s only talking about the decentralized application, if that guy is not making a decentralized application, that’s not something that you know, is worth using. And whenever that guy is talking about decentralized application, you know that that decent light application should be made via the decentralized or the Web3 infrastructure. And I believe that Graph should be an essential part of that Web3 infrastructure. You cannot imagine, dApp with without The Graph, right? I vision that whenever people talk about making a decentralized application, they always build a subgraph for that, right, I envision that if anybody is getting any kind of information in the future, that’s only via Web3. And it is in a way that you know, the information that he’s getting is something which is trusted. And that’s something that’s only possible via The Graph. So that guy already knows that, you know, he’s using The Graph, and it is something which, which is something that can be trusted. So what I have is a vision for Web3, and what and The Graph fits in very, very nicely in that, I believe that web 2.0 is something that will, you know, definitely day by day torn off, and it will get over and that Web3 will be the new internet, people will only use Web3 because of privacy, decentralization, scalability, security, permissionless ness, hundreds of reasons. People will start using understanding the ethos of Web3, the community of Web3, this whole, you know, retail people, or what we call as the end users will understand and start using the people who use web to the current internet, the people who will start using Web3, they’ll start interacting with decentralized applications, which are permissionless. And these decentralized applications can only be called decentralized application if they use Web3 stack, and that a Web3 stack, and I believe The Graph will be an essential part of that.
Pranav, thank you so much for your time, you’ve been very generous, if listeners want to follow your work or stay in touch with you what’s the best way?
I’ve been very, very active on Twitter, like the rest of the Web3 crypto community, as well, I also announced that, you know, I’m going to join The Graph on Twitter itself. And I got a really very overwhelming response. I’m very overwhelmed by the people who are a part of The Graph community and also Edge & Node as a team who have welcomed me. So if you have any questions, or you know, just want to give me any kind of feedback related to this particular podcast, or wherever I speak, you can just you know, DM me on Twitter, all my DMs are open. I’m very, very active there. So also, you know, if there is any questions related to development, you can also just ask them on Twitter and tag me over there @impranavm_ and you’ll be good to go with so there are two ways to interact with me. One is Twitter, directly DM me whatever questions related to Web3 stack and related you have, as I told you, I’ve been an educator, I would love to educate you on Web3. I would love to educate you on The Graph. And if you have any questions while you are having some kind of troubleshooting that you want me to do on the subgraph development, you can contact me on the relevant channel or this one.
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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.