Stake Machine validator Web3 Indexer The Graph Slava Grafana delegator rewards GRT

GRTiQ Podcast: 145 Stake Machine

Today I am speaking with Slava, the Founder of Stake Machine, an Indexer at The Graph. Slava has been participating in The Graph since Mission Control, the initial testnet program that launched the network, and is well-known throughout the Indexer community.

During this interview, Slava talks about his background in web2, working as an entrepreneur, and how he became interested in web3. We then talk a lot about Slava’s first experiences working in web3, how he discovered The Graph, and how he went to work as an Indexer. Along the way, Slava provides some great insights into the early days and Mission Control, The Graph’s new roadmap (called New Era) and the Sunrise of Decentralized Data, how he works full-time in web3 and still manages to operate Stake Machine, and the incredibly useful Grafana dashboard Stake Machine maintains.

The GRTiQ Podcast owns the copyright in and to all content, including transcripts and images, of the GRTiQ Podcast, with all rights reserved, as well our right of publicity. You are free to share and/or reference the information contained herein, including show transcripts (500-word maximum) in any media articles, personal websites, in other non-commercial articles or blog posts, or on a on-commercial personal social media account, so long as you include proper attribution (i.e., “The GRTiQ Podcast”) and link back to the appropriate URL (i.e.,[episode]). We do not authorized anyone to copy any portion of the podcast content or to use the GRTiQ or GRTiQ Podcast name, image, or likeness, for any commercial purpose or use, including without limitation inclusion in any books, e-books or audiobooks, book summaries or synopses, or on any commercial websites or social media sites that either offers or promotes your products or services, or anyone else’s products or services. The content of GRTiQ Podcasts are for informational purposes only and do not constitute tax, legal, or investment advice.



We use software and some light editing to transcribe podcast episodes.  Any errors, typos, or other mistakes in the show transcripts are the responsibility of GRTiQ Podcast and not our guest(s). We review and update show notes regularly, and we appreciate suggested edits – email: iQ at GRTiQ dot COM. The GRTiQ Podcast owns the copyright in and to all content, including transcripts and images, of the GRTiQ Podcast, with all rights reserved, as well our right of publicity. You are free to share and/or reference the information contained herein, including show transcripts (500-word maximum) in any media articles, personal websites, in other non-commercial articles or blog posts, or on a on-commercial personal social media account, so long as you include proper attribution (i.e., “The GRTiQ Podcast”) and link back to the appropriate URL (i.e.,[episode]).

The following podcast is for informational purposes only. The contents of this podcast do not constitute tax, legal, or investment advice. Take responsibility for your own decisions, consult with the proper professionals, and do your own research.

Stake Machine (00:18):

And if you can store that data in a decentralized way and in an efficient way and can expose some APIs that can give you information in a such way that will eliminate difficulties with basic APIs, it’s just a game changer.

Nick (01:04):

Welcome to the GRTiQ Podcast. Today, I’m speaking with Slava, the founder of Stake Machine and Indexer at The Graph. Slava has been participating in The Graph since Mission Control, the initial testnet program that launched the network, and he is well-known throughout the Indexer community. During this interview, Slava talks about his background in web2, working as an entrepreneur, and how he became interested in web3. We then talk about Slava’s first exposure and experiences working in web3, how he discovered The Graph, and the journey he took to become an Indexer at The Graph. Along the way, Slava provides some great insights into the early days and Mission Control, The Graph’s new roadmap called New Era in the Sunrise of Decentralized Data, how he works full-time in web3 and still manages to operate Stake Machine, and the incredibly useful and informational dashboard Stake Machine maintains on Grafana. As always, we start the discussion talking about Slava’s educational background.

Stake Machine (02:06):

I didn’t finish my tertiary education because I started working in an industry and it took all my time. And because our curriculum was outdated, I started to do everything on my own. So basically I’m not finished yet, but at some point I probably will finish it, but I can call myself a self-educated barbarian because I ruined so many systems during my way up.

Nick (02:33):

Well, that’s not an uncommon thing for guests to come on the podcast who didn’t finish. And while we were meeting in advance of this interview, you talked about how during your education you became interested in Linux. Do you remember that time and what drew your interest in studying Linux?

Stake Machine (02:49):

I think it started in the late classes of the school. I think it started because my brother introduced some Linux systems to me and we had a pretty old Pentium II I think, 135 megahertz and it was laggy as hell, and windows was lagging, so we couldn’t do anything except play some basic games. And at some point my brother installed Linux and we just had some old outdated modem that couldn’t work in Linux because it didn’t support plug and play systems and we had to compile drivers for it from scratch.


And because at this moment we had no internet connection to the system, we had our friends downloading some sources so we can compile it to make it work on our own. And at that point it’s just suck me in. So I just started to explore it and I remember that it was Debian 2.2, so it was way long time ago. And when everything started to work, I started to explore different distributions like Gentoo because system as I mentioned was very slow and pre-built packages from Debian was way too slow. I started to compile from sources everything, and Gentoo Linux was one of the best solutions for that approach.

Nick (04:25):

Well, that was a long time ago, and that’s early interest in technology and you’re building and tinkering here. Do you remember what it was at that time in your life that sparked your interest in technology and working on these types of things?

Stake Machine (04:40):

If I remember it correctly, I wasn’t up to technologies at all. I was a hyperactive boys doing some breakdance, attending to street culture, and all of these things. And at some point my brother just asked me for help. And it was that crucial moment when I realized that it’s something new, it’s something interesting, and that access to the internet just changed everything. And probably at that moment I realized the opportunity and started to spend more time exploring the ecosystem, how everything works.

Nick (05:16):

At this time in your life, are you able to draw the distinction between Linux and Windows? Are you able to see that these are different philosophies or approaches to software?

Stake Machine (05:27):

It was a time when it was very slow… We had very slow internet, so it was dial up connection, and when you want to install something you have to buy CD offline somewhere and install from there. And CD with different operating system like Windows were way more expensive than open source Linux. And at that point I already felt the difference. So that’s why it was easier for me just to use reopen source software pages, maybe some for CD drives and so on, but it gave me more freedoms to explore and it gives you more control of different aspects of the system so we can even maybe push the boundaries a little bit further than the packed system like Windows.

Nick (06:21):

I’ve asked this question to other guests that have come on and you are not the first guest that had early understanding of the difference between open source and something like Windows. But do you think when the history books are written, and we’re talking about web3 and how it emerged and stuff, do you think those early open source things like Linux were precursors or set the environment by which web3 and all the protocols could emerge?

Stake Machine (06:49):

Oh, definitely they were because it’s the first approach that you take just to share your knowledge with others, and you just not use it only for you solely, but you share your expertise and software that you’ve built for your own, but everyone can use it on their behalf. And at that point I think it’s created that kind of philosophy that sharing and giving is more than just using.

Nick (07:20):

So, Slava, you mentioned there, your brother got you interested in technology by asking for your help, but then you had this light bulb moment and you got super interested in it. So then how did your career in tech begin?

Stake Machine (07:33):

So after school I started to work as a support engineer in the hosting company. So my basic duties were supporting customers by fixing sites or we are starting some servers because they overloaded or something like that. So basically I started to help people run their services in our company, their sites, so giving more access for their consumers and support high uptime for their services. And during that period, I was in contact with our system administrators, so I watched a lot of their actions and started to ask more responsibility, and at some point I started to administer systems on my own.

Nick (08:25):

Slava, when you think back to this time in your life when you’re working in web2, this part of your career, are you coming across or finding ways to work on web3 type things? Something like decentralization for example?

Stake Machine (08:39):

Oh, at the beginning I was only focused on running something that’s still working under high load and didn’t think about any type of decentralization because it was something out of scope. But during the development of different services, we found out that sometimes you can reduce impact on the service by eliminating the central part, like single point of failure is more vulnerable for different attacks. And if you can spread it across different services, it would be more reliable. And probably we couldn’t call it web3 at that moment, but it was some kind of redundant services that helped you maintain higher time.

Nick (09:27):

As you got started in that role and started a career in tech, were you happy? Did you think to yourself, “This is exactly what I want to be working on. I’m so glad I started a career in technology”?

Stake Machine (09:41):

It’s hard to answer and just straightforward. It was a problematic period because consumer related services are always just a nightmare to support because different customers have different needs and their expectations is hard to meet because they think that if they pay some money, they can get everything from you. But at some point they need to upgrade their plans to higher prices. And at that moment it was very hard to feel yourself confident about anything because it was a lot of strain on you and you wanted to eliminate everything. And then when I stopped supporting and communicating with customers directly, it was a relief for me because I was working purely with the systems and no people interacted with me. So it was my favorite period because… Yeah.

Nick (10:40):

So you did that for about five years and then you decide to leave that job and join a startup. What’s the story there? How did you get involved and what did you do?

Stake Machine (10:53):

During that period, we built a lot of different services. And one of our customers was a big social network that decided to build their own data centers, and we were hired like a initial team to bootstrap the services for new data center company. So it was more about just applying all the expertise we acquired during these five years in a new tech without writing everything but writing from scratch. So it was a new opportunity for us and it was very excited moment.

Nick (11:35):

Your role in the startup was chief product officer, so you changed a little bit from what you were doing five years before to a more product centered role. Did you enjoy that change?

Stake Machine (11:46):

As a chief product officer, I became after a few years because I started it like a support manager who hired all the team to bootstrap the services, who hired a team of coders to write control panels for all these teams. And during this four or five pages, I think it was about bootstrapping every server and every service on our own because we didn’t have any compliances in this and it was writing from scratch almost any service. We even launched one of the first cloud services that was using pay-as-you-go system because it was based on same hip hypervisor and it gave us opportunity to just split their huge systems and smaller virtual machines that we could sell easily.

Nick (12:44):

It sounds like to me in this role that you were working on the whole stack, essentially the whole tech stack. Is that right? I mean, is that a good understanding of the responsibilities you had in this role?

Stake Machine (12:54):

Yeah. If we will review my career path, I started like a manager of support team, then as a manager of project team, then as a TTO of the company, bootstrap in the network environment, and all these things like administrating BGP networks, bootstrapping different data centers. So we made a lot of routing testing across the company, and after that we focused on product itself just to give it more usability so customers would use it much easier than before. And during that period, I had all the competencies across the company from the start to the top, so ended up with chief product officer, and I also was chief operating officer, chief technical officer. So it was a very fun experience and my warm journey.

Nick (13:55):

When you think about your first experience into technology where you spent five years in an established company and then this second part of your journey where you join a startup and like you said you worked on just about everything, which one of those did you prefer? I mean, did you catch the bug for entrepreneurship and say, “Startup is fun. I want to do more of this type of stuff”?

Stake Machine (14:15):

It’s hard to say because I understand all responsibility that we have during all these processes and because the complexity of the things, you always need team behind you to support you in any initiative because it’s hard to do everything on your own. And when you think about entrepreneurship, it’s definitely a way to go, but it’s sometimes could be too hard to start on your own because you need something that will help you to go up. And definitely if you can and you feel that you have some energy and resources to start the company and become maybe a serial entrepreneur, there’s the way to go. But sometimes you just want to help someone else to do any… more, maybe, related to the market, but it’s just hard to distinguish between your business skills and your technical skills. Sometimes you won’t just do your technical part because you understand it better and someone need to cover you behind your back to support business part. And definitely I hope at some point to start a company maybe and support some services helpful for the society.

Nick (16:37):

At this time in your life, like we said, you were working on the full stack and this would be the web2 stack if you will. Now you’re working in web3 and we’re going to talk a lot more about Stake Machine and how you got interested in The Graph. But I do want to ask you this question about the web3 stack. So how did this experience that you had this multirole, multifunctional experience as an entrepreneur working on the web2 stack, how did that inform your opinion or perspective of where we are right now with the web3 stack?

Stake Machine (17:07):

Oh, it’s complex to answer it in a simple way, but for a web2 stack, it’s not something different from the web2 stack, but it’s more about philosophy and the service that you run on it so you can delegate more to the community because you are not the single entity to control the protocol or anything. So it’s more like social way to develop different things. And if we call web2 like outdated services, it would be wrong because we still use them to run web3 on top of it. So web3 is complimentary to web2 and you can’t run web3 solely without any web2. So basically it’s just a symbiotic connection between them and you just need to help them grow.

Nick (18:03):

Does that change in the future? I’m asking because I think there’s this idea in crypto in web3 that web3 eventually just replaces web2. And so if you think about that web3 stack, it’s something new and novel and the web2 stack goes away, but like you said there, there’s still web2 rails throughout web3. Does that change over time?

Stake Machine (18:25):

If we will have a technologies trust list and permission list that we can use to build new services on top of web2, eventually it will become web3 only. So it would be web3 native services that won’t rely on web2 services, so eventually it could happen, but web2 won’t go away anytime soon.

Nick (18:49):

And then one follow-up question on that web3 stack, in your mind as you project out into the future, every layer of the web3 stack from top to bottom, does it all have to be decentralized to be considered web3 or do you think there might be centralized components somewhere in the stack?

Stake Machine (19:08):

There would be some centralized stack because centralized entities is easier to scale because you can’t scale the centralized protocol without doing something special to the network itself because you need to develop a protocol in a such way that every entity can scale it infinitely, but protocol itself would scale when any participant of that protocol would be able to scale as well. So it’s just the question of the architecture of the protocol that we can use to support the consumers of that protocol.

Nick (19:49):

So going back to your personal story, you leave school, go to work in technology, do five years in a really cool established company working on a couple different things, then you join a startup and you’re doing everything and you’re learning a lot more about technology and the tech stack. What did you do next?

Stake Machine (20:06):

As you could imagine doing everything for a couple of years, it’s very time-consuming and it has a lot of strain on you. So eventually I got a burnout and left the company. I had some savings at that moment and went for a long holidays thinking about different ways of what I would do next. And during that period, some of my ex-colleagues introduced me to some company called Somm, it’s a decentralized cloud computing platform. So it was almost like my previous experience with infrastructure projects, but it was already trying to use decentralized approach. So it’s a trust list hosting decentralized platform and I was curious what’s the market there. And I attended a few their hackathons and want some grants because of doing some automation on their platform. And at that point, I started to dig in to the blockchain protocols and networks.

Nick (21:16):

When you think about that time in your life when you got burned out and like you said there, you had to take a break, you went on holiday for a while, what did you learn about the nature of burnout, and can people avoid this? And I’m asking it because it seems like web3 is full throttle all the time. Almost everybody I meet is working a lot of hours and I think there’s a lot of burnout creep in the industry. You went through it, you recovered clearly, you’re back to work and doing great things. What did you learn about it? What can we learn to avoid it?

Stake Machine (21:46):

I think one of the good books about it is the Essentials, but I don’t remember the author already, but doing only the necessary. So don’t try to be a hero to do everything around you, delegate as much as you can, and don’t try to be a single entity of responsibility for leveraging. So it would be just help you to overcome different problems and you will preserve some resources for your life and maintain work-life balance.

Nick (22:22):

Essentialism has come up on the podcast a couple of times, I think it’s a great book. I’ve read it as well and it’s a good recommendation. So let’s now talk about when you first became interested in crypto. You’re at a point in your career where you’re starting to venture into web3 type tech, but when did you actually first become aware of crypto and do you remember what you thought of it at that time?

Stake Machine (22:42):

It was during data center company period. So me and my colleague bought some Asic, so we use V1, so simple one and we were running it for a couple of days and they started to mine Bitcoin because hash rate was so low and we just, for a couple of days, mined fraction of Bitcoin and just wanted to send them back and forth just to think what it is and how it works. After that, I think we stopped exploring it because it felt like some geeky thing without any real application, and after that we didn’t do anything about it. So hosting company wasn’t interested in services like that because there were no use cases for that.

Nick (23:35):

So you left the idea alone for a little while. You go on to do this startup work, your friends tell you about Somm, you get involved in some decentralized protocol type of work. Is this when crypto starts to creep back into your life and you start understanding there’s some utility here or did that happen before?

Stake Machine (23:52):

At this moment, Ethereum has priced around 100 bucks, so it already had some value. And because I got my grants in Ethereum, I already started to think, “What’s next? How it can help me to develop in this field further?” And I started to explore different networks and different blockchains, and how it works, how it source the data, and how everything can be connected to each other. So just trying to imagine the new things that we can build with this type of technology.

Nick (24:28):

How was that transition for you moving from a web2 background into web3? Did you look around and recognize things and it was pretty easy to get started or did you feel like you were starting over?

Stake Machine (24:39):

Because it was related to infrastructure solution that I had experience with web2, it was a seamless transition. And only problems I had to just understanding how different side chain works, how the value transfers from one participant to another, what can we build on top of that? And it was only the difference between web2 and web3 at that moment.

Nick (25:02):

Was there a moment in time early on here when you’re starting to work on these web3 things where you have an aha moment that shifts your perspective such that you’re like, “I’m going all in. I’m going to build a career here. I’m going to get really active in this space and start devoting more time to it”?

Stake Machine (25:18):

I think, no. It was pretty neutral during that period because it still didn’t have adoption across the market and there were a little number of services running and using crypto, and these regulation questions were totally unregulated. But it was interesting to see what was inside the blockchain itself. And I’ve started to look at the data that stores in blockchain nodes and how we can access it. And during that period, I had an idea to build some, maybe, explorer just to make some interface for blockchain data. I think at that moment, there were only a few explorers existed on different networks. And during that period I also spot the Mission Control of The Graph and decided to jump in right away.

Nick (26:18):

Okay. That’s super interesting. So you’re getting active in web3, you’re starting to gather some interest in how data is stored on the blockchain, and then you become aware of Mission Control. So what did you think about The Graph initially when you came into contact with it? Did you see this seemed experimental, like an opportunity to try something new in web3 or did you catch a vision for the type of problem that was trying to solve and joining that?

Stake Machine (26:45):

I got excited about GraphQL because it was popular to use different JSON or PC APIs or REST APIs that gives you just particular piece of the data that you can use, but GraphQL gave you more opportunity to build queries like you want and it remains more stable across our big data sets. So you just can easier build different interfaces, but you have the same query language for anything. So it was just the moment where I realized that GraphQL is something that can help us build new type of applications because it’s easy. I can say it was scalable at that moment, but it was definitely something that we can use to build something new.

Nick (27:36):

If you had to explain to a non-technical person, somebody that doesn’t have your background, why the data on blockchain is interesting to you versus all the work you were doing in web2. I mean, you had a background in technology, you were a professional, you had established some real skills working on really cool things, and yet something about web3 data blockchain captured your interest. Explain that to us. Like why? What’s different?

Stake Machine (28:04):

Every servers that we use in daily life is built around some kind of database. Database is the crucial part of any application. It’s essential part, you can’t build anything without the data because you just won’t be able to serve any information to any consumer that you have. And if you can store that data in a decentralized way and in efficient way and can expose some APIs that can give you information in a such way that will eliminate difficulties with basic APIs, it’s just game changer.

Nick (28:41):

So, Slava, you mentioned that at this time in your life you become interested in The Graph and you see Mission Control is launching. And for listeners that don’t know, this was the first testnet program of The Graph that really onboarded the first generation of Indexers. And so I always talk about the Indexers that joined in Mission Control as OGs. And there’s no question that you, Slava, and Stake Machine the Indexer that you launched as an OG Indexer. For listeners that weren’t around for this period of time and didn’t have the chance to see the protocol in those early days and this onboarding of all these Indexers, talk to us about Mission Control. What was that experience like? Did you enjoy meeting other Indexers and did you get more excited about the protocol during this time?

Stake Machine (29:22):

Definitely it was a nightmare at the beginning because nobody understood, so it was a hard to follow the instructions and hard to run the stack. And at some point the community built Stake Suite, built a docker file, and docker composer repository. So most of the Indexers started to use it and commit to their development. At this point it started to be more or less usable, but before that everything was so chaotic, nobody could understand the whole purpose of the stack, how indexing works, lack of documentation. So I think every Indexer would say it was a nightmare during the first days of the Mission Control. But after some month, I guess, it started to work as intended, we started to fine tune the different parts of the stack, and everything started to work as it’s supposed to be at that moment.

Nick (30:26):

As an OG Indexer and you look back on that experience and you see where the protocol is now, how do you think about that? I mean, what’s changed? How has it improved? How’s your experience as an Indexer changed?

Stake Machine (30:38):

After all these years, I think it’s evolved a lot because we now have different ways to index the data more efficiently. We can serve queries more efficiently based on different changes in the stack. And now we also have sunset of the hosted services and we are at the moment of Sunrise new roadmap and we will see more traffic migration from the hosted services to the decentralized networks. And I’m excited about it because now it really becomes the thing because it’s real decentralization of the protocol.

Nick (31:19):

So, Slava, in addition to working as an Indexer on The Graph, you also have a full-time job. And again, I don’t think this is uncommon. There’s a lot of Indexers that are running Indexer operations, but they have either full-time jobs or they’re putting their skills to work in a lot of different ways. What can you tell us about your full-time job and how you balance that with running Stake Machine?

Stake Machine (31:42):

Currently, I have a role at company called Mercuryo. I’m a blockchain leader. I support all the infrastructure for different cryptocurrencies that company offers or OnRamp Solutions. And our main goal is to make services for web2 customers in web3 world as seamless as they used to be in a web2.

Nick (32:08):

Having a hobby or a side hustle working on The Graph and then having this full-time job where you’re working with blockchain infrastructure, working with web2, web3, how has that shifted your perspective about the importance of The Graph?

Stake Machine (32:27):

Now I see the bigger picture because FinTech companies want to build products for the next gen services in web3 space. So they can spend crypto as we spend our fiat money nowadays. And based on that we can see that companies like Mercuryo and The Graph are doing this transition from previous generation style services to the next generation because now it’s more about consumer experience and not just purely about the stack or technology behind it, but we want to make services easier to use for just basic user not connected to the crypto at all. So it’s just the question of helping people to understand the new technologies.

Nick (33:17):

Slava, for listeners that might still think web3 is an experiment not inevitability, that it may still not materialize, if you will. If it does, and if web3 becomes everything, it has the potential to become, we’re right in thinking that that web3 stack will need an indexing and querying layer, I mean, something like The Graph. Am I thinking about that correctly?

Stake Machine (33:44):

As I mentioned before, we need to lower the barrier to access the data and the database that called blockchain like Ledger. And because of that, if we can do the same or any type of services that can use that data more easily, it doesn’t matter is it web2 or web3 because it’s just a different approach that central entity can’t offer because it’s to permission in such a way that if you want to get them access, you need to ask for it. And in the web3 world, we try to build things in a permission list and trust list way, so any participant can get access based on different needs and if they can provide value to the network, they can get it even for free. So it’s just the question of applications that we want to be built in the future.

Nick (35:14):

As I’ve mentioned a couple times, Slava, I’ve known that you’re an OG Indexer for a long time, but I think one of the first times I became aware of your contributions to the ecosystem was when I became aware of your dashboard that you run on Grafana. And I don’t know if all the listeners are using it, but it is a dashboard everybody should know about. It’s incredibly in-depth. There’s a lot of different tabs and different ways to access things that are happening on the network. What’s the backstory behind launching that dashboard and providing that resource to the community?

Stake Machine (35:44):

As I already mentioned during the Mission Control, we had no understanding of the network state and because we had to do any movement in the dark, we needed some metrics that we can use to make our next movement just to develop the network. And because I already had built dashboard for another blockchain network called Telegram Open Network, I used that as a precursor to build dashboard for The Graph. And the question was only about the metrics that we can use and the insights that we can get from these metrics. So based on the previous experience, it was made a few weeks just to build it.

Nick (36:31):

So this Grafana dashboard emerged by necessity but evolved into an incredible value add for members of the community. And again, I want to encourage people to check it out. I’ll put a link to it in the show notes. Slava, every time I get the opportunity to interview an Indexer, especially in recent times, I want to get their opinion on the move to L2. Most listeners know that The Graph is moving to Arbitrum, and right now there’s a lot of different things taking place within the ecosystem, meaning that Delegators are moving from Ethereum, some Delegators are waiting for their Indexer to make the move to L2, and a lot of Indexers are moving L2 and waiting for their Delegators to come over. So how are you approaching this move to L2 and what’s your opinion on it? Are you excited about that change?

Stake Machine (37:18):

It is very good way to move forward because at the mainnet we are very reliant on the gas fees, and during some spikes a lot of Indexers couldn’t reallocate because their gas prices just are too way expensive. And to reallocate some allocations we had to spend Fortune. And now on L2 we have an opportunity to be more flexible because of the lower gas prices and you don’t need to wait 28 days just to reallocate. It would cost you just plenty of dollars just to reallocate a lot of different subgraphs.

Nick (38:04):

What are you seeing in terms of Delegators making the move? Are your Delegators on Ethereum joining you on L2 or has it been a little bit of a challenge to get people moving?

Stake Machine (38:14):

Unfortunately, in my experience, it is hard to move Delegators from mainnet to L2. And currently I think I have around the 50% move to Arbitrum. So if any of my Delegators are listening, please move your delegations to the L2.

Nick (38:35):

Well, that brings up an important question. Have you thought about how you’re going to handle situations where Delegators don’t move? I mean, I think a lot of Indexers are going to face this challenge where there’s going to be a lot of GRT on mainnet. How do you plan to handle a situation like that?

Stake Machine (38:52):

There is no way to handle it in a proper way because it’s a permissionless network and mostly they all are anonymous people, so you can’t contact them directly just to ask them to move their stake. So unfortunately it would be a hard decision maybe to duplicate their mainnet Indexer or just change their effective cut of the rewards.

Nick (39:19):

But you are putting most of your energy at this point on L2, this is where you’re spending your time?

Stake Machine (39:24):

Yeah. We deployed the new stack for our L2 Indexer that has some database charging and it’s more efficient in the way of operating and serving the queries. So definitely we put a lot of effort to run our L2 Indexer and my net is still working as before, but it’s not outdated and maintained as L2 Indexer.

Nick (39:49):

Slava, you mentioned earlier the Sunrise of Decentralized Data as well as the launch of the new roadmap called New Era. We don’t have a ton of time to go through all of that, but I guess I’d just like to know what’s your opinion of New Era? There’s a whole objective there dedicated to providing tooling in operational support for Indexers.

Stake Machine (40:10):

The most interesting about new roadmap is verifiability of the data so we can be sure that every Indexer shows the same data for the queries that the customers’ need. And because of that, it gives us an opportunity to scale queries amongst the different stack layers because it’s now way easier for us to extend it. Like before, to serve the query, you need to have an index data. And if we have verifiability for that kind of data and we can share it in already a pre-verified way across different services, it’s way easier to scale it and to serve queries in different parts of the world. So basically I want to see when the network would be maintained by the decentralized gateways and not like nodes on the hosted services.

Nick (41:08):

So for any listeners who want to learn more about the Sunrise or New Era, I’ll put some links in the show notes. Slava, before we finish, I do want to ask you this question about advice for listeners that are contemplating becoming an Indexer. And as I think everybody knows, being an Indexer is a technical role. It’s only for those that have some technological background or skillset, but you came from web2, your running Stake Machine is a little bit of a side hustle and you’re successful at it. What’s your advice to listeners that want to do the same?

Stake Machine (41:40):

Currently we have a lot of tools to run your Indexer stack easily. So Graph ops team is building a launchpad that is Kubernetes orchestration. Also, I have an Ansible automation like [inaudible 00:41:57] provides docker-composed solution. So you can run the whole index of stack on a testnet just to see how it works and how you can maintain it in the future. And it’s just something that you need to experience in Euro just to build an understanding of is it time-consuming for you, do you have an expertise to maintain all these things like Postgres databases are an essential part of the stack? And if you are capable to cover all of these, so you definitely can go and spin the testnet Indexer. Community is welcomed for new participants and you will get covered over any aspect of the stack.

Nick (42:39):

How important do you think it is that new Indexers join The Graph over the next months and years? I mean, we talk a little bit about keeping Stake decentralized. I presume an important part of that is having more Indexers involved.

Stake Machine (42:51):

During the Sunrise, I think it’s just a great way to extend our presence of the network across different continents and cities. So the more Indexers we will have, the better service quality we will get because our Indexer is more incentivized to deploy their service in different locations just to cover different customers in different regions. So if we can provide same quality of service in different countries and different cities because of more Indexers joined the community, the better. So it’s definitely a way to go just to build more scalable network.

Nick (43:37):

Slava, I only have two more questions for you before I ask you the GRTiQ 10. The first one is just generally speaking, what makes you optimistic or excited about the future of The Graph?

Stake Machine (43:49):

My take on the future of The Graph would be that it gives an opportunity to get a lower latency to get your data in your application. So it would enhance experience of your customers because, as an Indexers, we have all the data. And if we know what consumers need, we would optimize our stack just to serve it at a better speed.

Nick (44:15):

I also want to ask this question about New Era. So anybody that hasn’t read New Era, there are five core objectives. The first objective is creating a world of data services at The Graph. This includes expanding beyond subgraphs and GraphQL to add support for things like Substreams as a service, Firehost as a service. Of course there’s a lot of discussion right now about SQL as a service and I’m sure there’ll be others, but what’s your opinion on that when you think about adding a world of data services from the perspective of an Indexer, is that got you excited?

Stake Machine (44:50):

As an Indexer, I’m frightened of the variety of services that we need to rank in our stack because it definitely would be a mess at the beginning because we can see a lot of different technologies involved in that roadmap. And if it would be hard to maintain because of the lack of the tools, it would definitely postpone the growth of quality of service of the network. But I’m really excited that we can see new services coming because they offer a totally new way to interact with the blockchain data.

Nick (45:30):

Slava, now we’ve reached a point where I’m going to ask you the GRTiQ 10, and these are 10 questions I ask each guest of the podcast every week. Listeners know I ask it to help them learn something new, try something different, or achieve more. But of course it gives us an opportunity to meet the guest on a personal level, get to know some of their interests and things. So, Slava, are you ready for the GRTiQ 10?

Stake Machine (45:50):

Let’s go.

What book or article has had the most impact on your life?

Stake Machine (46:06):

I will take a Cyberpunk approach because I think it took me in the beginning of the millennium and it was a book called Web and it’s from local asteroids, it’s not translated there in the English. And it’s about some future world where we use different applications like immersive experience for our daily routine. And it’s just based the… field with different AI programs that help you in different aspects and also it’s just a futuristic world with different technologies that didn’t exist at that moment. I think the book started at 1997 and it was completed during 1998, and it’s just a pleasure to read it for me especially. And I even bought a paper cover for it lately, so I will definitely reread it soon.


And another one is called Labyrinth of Reflections from Sergei Lukyanenko. And it’s cyberpunk, about virtualized world. And again, it’s about immersive experience, the virtual reality, so everyone interact with each other, in that version, reality didn’t work, and everything is connected to this reality. So it’s something that we can see from Facebook, Quest platform that is going in a such way. So sometimes when you have an opportunity to compare the book in your previous life, I guess with the technologies nowadays, it’s just fun to see that what we thought is impossible exists nowadays.

Nick (48:02):

And how about this? Is there a movie or a TV show that you would recommend everybody should watch?

Stake Machine (48:07):

I love to watch movies about nature because nowadays, it’s hard to explore everything on your own, but we need to preserve our nature and keep in touch some of the species. And because of that, it’s great to watch nature in different two series like Blue Planet or anything like that that gives you just a relief when you watch animals or anything. So it’s just not about self-improvement, but relaxation, meditation, and just thinking that not everything is connected to the IT world.

Nick (48:50):

If you could listen to only one music album for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?

Stake Machine (48:55):

Oh my God. It is Korn. Follow the Leader album.

Nick (49:00):

What’s the best advice someone’s ever given to you?

Stake Machine (49:04):

Ooh, that’s a tough one. But I think from my experience, don’t touch it if it works.

Nick (49:14):

What’s one thing you’ve learned in your life that you don’t think other people have learned or know quite yet?

Stake Machine (49:20):

That your stomach controls your brain?

Nick (49:23):

What’s the best life hack you’ve discovered for yourself?

Stake Machine (49:27):

Eat healthy.

Nick (49:30):

Based on your own life experience and observations, what’s the one habit or characteristic that you think best explains how or why people find success in life?

Stake Machine (49:40):

I think that commitment and determination is the way for success.

Nick (49:46):

And then, Slava, the final three questions are complete the sentence type questions. The first one is, the thing that most excites me about web3 is…

Stake Machine (49:54):

Opportunities it creates.

Nick (49:56):

And how about this one? If you’re on X, formerly Twitter, you should be following…

Stake Machine (50:00):

Definitely it’s the Stake Machine and Mercuryo. Subscribe for our weekly mailing list called Explain with Mercuryo, where we can share our weekly blog posts with summary about different events across the industry.

Nick (50:16):

And then, Slava, the last question. Complete this sentence. I’m most happy when…

Stake Machine (50:22):

Everyone in peace,

Nick (50:32):

Slava, thank you so much for joining me. This was a lot of fun. I’ve been wanting to interview Stake Machine for a lot of years, and in fact, for listeners that would’ve been able to hear us talking before we pushed record, you and I met a long time ago. It took a long time to get here, but I’m grateful you took the time, shared your story, talked about your perspectives and your journey into web3 into The Graph. If listeners want to stay in touch with you, contact you, follow the things you’re working on, what’s the best way for them to stay in touch?

Stake Machine (51:01):

I’m always available at Discord. And also subscribe Twitter, so we’ll get in contact easily.


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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.