GRTiQ Podcast: 147 Mujtaba Idrees

Today I am speaking with Mujtaba Idrees, Blockchain Solutions Architect at Deutsche Telekom. As you may already know, Deutsche Telekom is a leading global telecommunications giant, connecting millions through mobile, fixed-network, internet, and ICT solutions, known through brands like T-Mobile and T-Systems.

Mujtaba is a key member of Deutsche Telekom’s blockchain team, which recently ventured into the web3 space and launched an Indexer on The Graph. In this episode, we explore the intriguing journey of a telecommunications giant’s interest in web3. Mujtaba shares insights into Deutsche Telekom’s vision for web3 and provides valuable perspectives on how the team discovered and took on the role of Indexer within The Graph’s ecosystem. During the conversation, we also delve into Mujtaba’s educational and professional development, his passion for travel, what sparked his interest in web3, and much more!

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Mujtaba Idrees (00:00:19):

So this was pretty fascinating and interesting for us. So once we went deep into the use cases, we knew that we have to run the Indexer. And of course, as I said, that if we see ourselves as a reliable infrastructure provider, this is our goal, to become the biggest infrastructure provider in blockchain space, in a decentralized way, of course. So The Graph makes a lot of sense.

Nick (00:01:09):

Welcome to the GRTiQ Podcast. Today I am speaking with Mujtaba Idrees, blockchain solutions architect at Deutsche Telekom. As you may already know, Deutsche Telekom is a leading global telecommunications giant who features prominently in web2, connecting millions all over the world through mobile, fixed network and internet through known brands like T-Mobile and T-Systems. Mujtaba is a key member of the Deutsche Telekom blockchain team, which recently ventured into the web3 space and launched an Indexer on The Graph. In this episode, we explore the intriguing journey of a telecommunications giant’s interest in web3. Mujtaba shares insights into Deutsche Telekom’s vision for web3 and provides valuable perspectives on how the team discovered and started their role as an Indexer in The Graph ecosystem. During the conversation, we also talk about Mujtaba’s educational professional development, his passion for travel, what sparked his interest in web3 and more. As always, we start the discussion talking about Mujtaba’s educational background.

Mujtaba Idrees (00:02:13):

I basically have done a master’s in distributed systems engineering, so that’s my latest degree. I did my master’s from Germany, but before that I studied in Pakistan. For the most part, I completed my software engineering from Pakistan. Actually, I studied in one of the best universities or top universities back home in Pakistan. And I’ve always been a high achiever, so I was always a position holder during my school, my college and all that time. Also, the university that I went to in Pakistan was also pretty accomplished, you could say it’s very competitive, it’s really hard to get in. And the acceptance rate of this university is actually even less than MIT.


So that’s really a big deal because in Pakistan actually, there’s a huge young population. So people less than 25 years of age are actually more than 60% in population. This is a young population and of course then everybody’s studying and the universities are not that much. So at that point when I was taking admission in this university, it’s called NUST, by the way, National University of Science and Technology. So there were around 60,000 applications and I think only 1,500 or over selected, so that was crazy. And I felt very fortunate to actually get in, because everybody told me that you have to go in this university, this is the only chance that you have at life. So it was pretty intense, my education there. And also the life was not easy once I was there. So I think if I have to just say that what education experience defined me as a personal or as a personal, I would say that university, those four years there were crazy for me.


And also there was a lot of pressure because once you get into this university, the university doesn’t get easier. Because the goal for this university is to prepare you for international level and they have pretty high standards and they believe in putting a lot of pressure on you. So they follow American model of education, which is very different to the European style, which I came to know when I was doing university here in Europe. So I was like, “Yeah, what the fuck? This is a piece of cake.” But anyways, in Pakistan they put a lot of pressure on you, so you have 10 things going on in parallel. And it’s humanly impossible to actually do everything.


And I think I also adopted a coping mechanism during my studies and my coping mechanism was that I just prioritize on one thing. I knew right in the first semester that I cannot score positions here, so it’s not like I’m not going to be the person who scores top As and going to graduate with the highest grade possible, but I focused on technical subjects. So I realized that all this philosophical stuff or theory and requirements engineering and all that stuff is not for me, I need to probably delve into the programming. So that’s what I did. I just had lots of nighters online programming, completed all my assignments on time. Basically just went deep on the technical stack and try to establish myself, because I was doing software engineering, so my goal was to focus on the engineering part and focus on programming. And I think that defined me and my career moving forward.

Nick (00:05:47):

What types of hobbies or personal interests did you have, especially given this environment where as a young person studying at university, you were under a lot of pressure? It sounds like you were doing a lot of work. Did you have time for hobbies and personal interests?

Mujtaba Idrees (00:06:01):

Back in that time, as I told you, there was just not enough time. So of course hobbies, at least in my university life, my hobbies are paused and could not really pursue a lot of stuff. Although I tried to participate in different co-curricular activities, but not too much. Before that, I had, during my early age in schools and stuff, I was very much into gaming. And this is also pretty funny, because if you go a few steps back when I was a kid, my father actually bought me a personal computer when I was very young, you could say nine years of age or something. And I guess I was the first person in my family or in the extended family to have a personal computer. And I’m talking about early 2000s or so.


I think in Pakistan, the computers were not as ubiquitous in that time. So the computers came to Pakistan a little bit late as compared to America or the West. But they were becoming more and more common in early 2000s. And then I guess somebody gave a million dollar advice to my father that if you want your kid to be future-proof, then buy him a computer. And my father had no idea what the fuck is this computer. He had only an idea, it’s good for typing, better printing as compared to a typewriter, because my father was actually working for the government. So he used to work with files and typewriter stuff all the time. But he bought me a computer.


And then I had this box of this machine that is pretty interesting and a lot of things are possible. But I had no idea what to do with it. And of course, like any other kid at that age, I liked playing video games. So I just bought some Sega games and those were the time that got me hooked into the wonders of computer. And I remember at that time internet was also very, very, very much horrible. So we used to have a dial-up connection, so of course there was no DSL or anything at that time. And it used to take 10 minutes to actually connect the connection to your phone line and then nobody can use the phone. And then once you need to load a website, you need to put it on load and then you could actually make a coffee at that time and even drink that coffee and come back and by that time [inaudible 00:08:18]. So that was very interesting time.


And I had a lot of time at my hand. So after school, I used to be on my computer all the time and I had no idea. I used to spend a lot of time trying to break things, trying to install a lot of software. And I don’t know what sort of software I was installing, but video editing, pictures editing, whatever was possible at that time or whatever the state of that. We used to just go to some CD shops and buy random shit. And then I just wanted to install software. I don’t know what kind of obsession I had. And then with friends, because of the gaming of course, you need to install the games and that’s how you get into the installation process. And I think that was a pretty big feat when you’re actually able to do that.


And then of course at the next step you want to also hack things. So what we used to do was that we used to change the avatar in the video games and put our pictures in it. And then if it is a FIFA game, football, so basically this is not Ronaldo, this is Ronaldo with my picture and that used to be so cool. So I guess in general, I could say that computing pretty quickly became my hobby as a kid. And I was not really understanding it, I was just breaking things. I was upgrading RAMs and stuff because my games were not working with the lower RAM.


So basically changing hard disk because I think my initial hard disk was 10 gbs or shit, or maybe only 20 gbs or something. So upgrading the hardware, installing more and more software. So I was pretty much into computer, I learned installing Windows from a friend at a very young age. And I know that all the people around me actually did not know how to install a Windows, I was actually very much a pro, everybody wanted me to install their Windows. And I used to also charge for it as kid. So those were the interesting times.


But I could not travel a lot during that time as well, but I always wanted to travel. So when I came to Europe, then I focused on traveling. I’ve been to now more than 20 countries. I’ve also been to North Pole. Similarly, I’ve been to the highest mountains in the world, one of the highest mountain ranges in the world. I’ve also been to very nice beaches. So I guess pretty recently I have done a lot of traveling. Other than that, I also like to try adventure of sports. I’ve done skydiving and stuff. So now I think after completing my education, I dwelled into this traveling side or this stuff. But it’s a mixed stuff. As a kid, I was more of a geek kid, the ones that are always playing with the computers and doing weird stuff.

Nick (00:10:51):

What’s the one place in all your travels that you would recommend every listener should visit or see for themselves?

Mujtaba Idrees (00:10:58):

I’ve traveled around the world and I’ve seen different places, but it’s very cliche when I say, but I think in Pakistan it’s really amazing. And I think not many people actually go to Pakistan for traveling. Maybe people think that it’s not really a travel destination, but maybe it is not in a classic sense. But the wilderness in Pakistan is amazing. I’m not sure if your listeners actually know, but Pakistan actually hosts one of the highest mountain range in the world. So the highest mountain peak that’s called K2, Karakoram 2. That’s number two, actually not the highest, sorry. The second highest actually is in Pakistan. And there a like I think 26 top peaks in the world, they are also in Pakistan.


So the mountain, they are amazing. They’re very beautiful glaciers. And you can also take a slide that actually goes through this mountain range, and then the plane is not flying over the mountain, the plane is flying through the mountains. It’s amazing. You can actually see from the windows that this is this peak and sometimes they’re even giving you then our tour, because there’s a specialty. They tell you, “On the left side, you can see this peak. On the right side, you can see K2.” And it’s amazing. And I guess because I am now in Europe, and I think the mountains here, I mean because I’m the mountain guy, basically I’m talking a lot of mountains. But the peaks here are very small.


And when you go to Pakistan, you have no… I mean this is so significant. It cannot be explained in words. I mean, you can see a picture, you can say, “Okay, nice mountain.” But as you go there and you’ll see how huge is it, and it’s really starting from your foot and you are seeing all the way, and you can see a person far away, and this person looks very small, just like a needle to you. And all of a sudden you realize you’re actually standing on the same mountain as you are, it’s just miles apart. And this mountain is miles, miles, miles huge. And you see the other person maybe on another level of height, and that person is just like a small needle to you. So this is the significance of how big those mountains are.


And I think it’s amazing to be there. And also, it’s not as developed and there are not many tourists. So you can really go there and get lost. And normally the telephone service is also pretty bad. So these are some advantages of now not having good technology so you can really be at peace with yourself and do not have a lot of distractions. The food there is also good. I mean, if you can go, I think you should just at least go to mountains in Pakistan. And I know many pros actually do it, and the mountaineers, they do it.


But if you’re a beach person, then I would say I’ve been to some interesting beaches in Malaysia. So those are nice. Or Indonesia, they’re very nice. They also have these offshore, how is it called? Psycho planters or something? This is something, they lit up water at night, so I forgot the name, but the water kind of close. So if you go there at night, it’s in Indonesia, you can basically just touch the water or splash into it and the water, they produce light. So there’s like a bacteria in the water, in those beaches, and this bacteria, when you touch it and the water moves, it produces light and you can see it in the dark, not in the day. So it’s amazing. You can have a barbecue session there and then you can just go into the water, play with it. And it’s amazing, because the water around you is lighting up. So it’s amazing experience. So I think it’s called Raja Ampat Island in Indonesia. So those are also amazing stuff. Yes.


And of course North pole was really crazy, if you get a chance. I mean, I could not see aurora borealis when I was there, so I really wanted to see the northern lights, but maybe that is why I will probably go there again. But it’s also amazing. So I would say these three things, one should do these three things in their lives.

Nick (00:16:16):

So Mujtaba, going back then to your education, you mentioned you went to Germany and you studied distributed systems and received an advanced degree in that. Talk to us about the backstory there. Why did you choose to pursue an education in Germany, and what was the vision there? Why did you want to pursue distributed systems?

Mujtaba Idrees (00:16:44):

It’s an interesting question actually. When I completed my bachelor’s degree back in 2015 in Pakistan, I had no plans of doing master’s actually. So I wanted to just see how the software is being built in the industry. And I quickly transitioned into an industrial job actually in Pakistan. So I joined a telco, so a telecom company in Pakistan as well. So I’m actually from Deutsche Telekom now. I was also working in a telecom organization in Pakistan. It was an internet service provider, and I was in their software department, you could say. So I was building tools for them to make the service possible.


And it was great, everything was fine. I was very closely working with the cloud infrastructure, so they had a big cloud, they had a knock also, they had a physical bare metal servers they used to manage themselves. I was not on the cloud team, but of course I was building, so deploying my services on the cloud, you could say. So building and deploying, so more like a DevOps approach. It was not pretty common at that time as a DevOps term, but still we had this TechOps approach over there.


And one day I was, actually even before that, I got a little bit exposed to blockchain during my university. So there was a person, very old person, he’s one of the pioneers of internet in HTML standard. I think he had some contribution over there, he’s called Babel White. So he actually visited our university and he gave a very inspirational talk on internet and HTML and stuff, how the technology is impacting lights. And he also talked about blockchain, and that was back in 2015 or ’16. And he went into a great deal about the blockchain technology and Bitcoin and decentralization and financial economy. And that kind of fascinated me. And normally I was a geek sort of person, and like I told you, I used to prioritize my time in technical stuff. So I was probably one of the few persons sitting in that room listening to that talk, because other guys are busy with all the other cool stuff. I was a boring one listening to these talks. But that was a very inspirational introduction for me for the blockchain.


So then of course the next thing I wanted to do was to learn more about the technology. And at that point there was no FT education or something, so you could just buy some book. And I think I also bought, I did not buy a book, but I got one book from one teacher on Bitcoin. And then in parallel, I started doing my research how to buy a Bitcoin. And at that point, if I’m not wrong, it was around $250 or something on Bitcoin. And I even had that kind of money, but I had that much money as a student I wanted to buy, but there was no way to buy cryptocurrency in Pakistan at that time. So I missed it.


 But soon, of course, there was no infrastructure around in Pakistan to do anything in web3 at that time or buy crypto or there were no companies who were working with blockchain and stuff. So for me, it was just a research topic, a very interesting, cool futuristic topic. Just like right now you could say space travel. So a topic that makes you curious, but it’s probably not practical or something. So I then moved to this boring IT job. And then one day somebody told me that, it’s 2017 actually, the bubble of 2017 was starting at that time. And somebody told me that crypto prices are going through the roof and Bitcoin is, I don’t know how much, but it was pretty insane. I think it cost 1000 or 2000. And I was jumping off my shit, “What the fuck? I wanted to buy this at 250.” But then I focused on Ethereum, and by that time I already had done some research on Ethereum.


But on Ethereum it was still under control, I think 245 or 80, something like this. But pretty soon it also jumped. So things were getting out of hand and I had so much FOMO and I could not buy it from anywhere around. I mean, there were some illegal shady ways to buy it. For example, you could contact somebody in America and just send them money via a bank transfer and stuff, and probably if you’re lucky, they’ll send some things to you in your wallet. But I mean the exchanges were not open to Pakistani, so I could not just [inaudible 00:21:21], just buy it. So this was a huge full start problem for me to actually buy a crypto or maybe do something about it.


And I was also seeing it from the technology perspective. So due to the FOMO and also because I was generally interested in the tech, I just learned Solidity. And what I did was that I started doing freelancing in the crypto space, because I think this is something that will be much more relevant. I mean, at that point I thought that that would be much more relevant in the future and would be very interesting. So it’ll grow, because I had seen the growth of the cryptocurrency. And of course I was sitting in the bubble at that time, but I was not mature enough to understand the difference between a bubble and the bear market. At that point for me it was, “Okay, it’s growing, it’ll always grow. And I cannot buy, or maybe I cannot be a trader or an investor, but I can actually be a technological person. This is the moat that we have. This is the strength that I have as a developer, I can just develop in that field and I can actually build stuff here.”


So that’s what I did. So I learned Solidity and at that point it was all about ICOs and creating ERC-20 tokens, and I figured out how to do it. It took me a while to actually figure everything out, to create ERC-20 token or to program an ICO and different vesting cycles and stuff in a part contract. And once I was able to do it, I realized that this sells pretty easily, so everybody wants an ICO, which is actually not very different from each other. And everybody wants a ERC-20 token, that’s basically the same thing, you just need to change some variables and the token symbol and the total supply and that’s it. And I was doing the freelancing and I was asking a hundred dollars, $200 per ERC-20 contract, which I was able to change in 10 minutes.


So on one weekend I was maybe writing 10 contracts and earning 1000 bucks. So that was a peak for me. Because I was thinking I’m spending money. And through the year, it was interesting time. I think from 2017 to 2018, I actually continued it and then slowly the demand started diminishing because the [inaudible 00:23:28] was over. And also during this time I realized that I had this feeling of an imposter syndrome. Okay, I’m acting as a blockchain professional and I can do stuff but this is not blockchain, I’m actually building ICOs and ERC-20s. But actually I don’t really know what is happening behind it, how this is being deployed and who’s running it and what’s actually happening. I mean, I know theoretically there are some miners doing some mining, but the whole…


And also the topics became more and more complicated. This is always with the bear market, in the bull market, it’s all about very fancy stuff, which can be easily done and everybody wants a quick win. But when the bear market comes in then people have more and more complicated ideas and they want all of a sudden build [inaudible 00:24:10] solution or roll out what we want to. And they’re crazy enough to come to freelancers to build that. But people just want to do some research on these things and people were coming to us to create exchange platforms now and also swaps. And pretty soon I realized that I should probably read more into it and I should actually learn it in a deeper way. And at that time I basically saw, “Okay, what are my options? Where can I learn more about blockchain technology?” Really understand it in a deeper way, not only as somebody who can just program stuff in crypto.


So I think at that point, I mean at some point a certain level of maturity hits you. And that hit me in 2018 and I realized that I don’t have enough money to actually pay for masters in USA or somewhere else. And the scholarship was also pretty complicated at that time. I didn’t have enough time. I wanted to be very quick and college processes are way too long. And I was also not focusing on a research area or research topic. I wanted it to be a very specific program, blockchain specific program, because I was pretty much hooked at that time that this is going to be my future. I want to stay in this field.


So I was fortunate enough to find this program in Germany, it’s called Distributing Systems Engineering, this was the closest to blockchain program that I could get in 2018. Now, there are many blockchain specific programs, I think web3 education has also taken off pretty well now, but at that point, so distributed systems engineering is more about infrastructure and how the stuff is being managed in the cloud. And for me, this was the exact thing I was lacking that how the blockchain infrastructure actually works. So my first instinct was that I understand the cloud first and later, of course, I will connect the dots. And also I did my research. So this university by the way was in Dresden, Dresden University in Eastern Germany. While I was doing the research and figuring out different universities, I saw that there is a blockchain center of Deutsche Telekom and Deutsche Telekom is the biggest corporate in Europe. And that was also pretty insane for me.


So I thought it’s something, I had no idea about Deutsche Telekom because it doesn’t have any branches in Pakistan. But when I googled it, I had this feeling that maybe it’s as big as Google. And I had this idea, there’s a company at the level of Google and it has a blockchain center in this city, and this university is offering a degree program that’s very close to blockchain, so maybe this is my chance. And I then worked hard for it, targeted it, and I came here for master’s in Germany. And then of course the next thing I did was when I registered in the university, in one week I was standing in that office of Deutsche Telekom, asking that I want a job here. And they were like, “How did you find us?”


I just told them the story and I guess somehow I got this audience with this head of Deutsche solutions center at that time, and I actually did not know that I was talking to this person. He was fascinated by my story and how I targeted Deutsche Telekom, and I was just there. He immediately offered me a student job. Of course I was studying at that time. I guess that’s how my journey with Deutsche Telekom actually started. Then of course, by the way, they were also at a very early stage of this unit. So the blockchain unit at Deutsche Telekom was also started in 2017 actually. So they were just 1-year-old, very young department, and they just took me in and a few people as working students that year. And then I started studying and working on the blockchain topics there in parallel. So in Germany you can work for 20 hours a week and then the rest of the 20 hours you can do some internship or some work. So I was doing a student job there.


So that’s pretty much it. That’s how I entered to the blockchain and also how I did this master’s program and I got into Deutsche Telekom.

Nick (00:28:04):

So one thing that listeners are going to find interesting about your story is the amount of effort and drive you had into, first of all, studying at your home in Pakistan, you clearly did very well. It’s very competitive there. But then you went to Germany, told your story, got in front of the right people and started studying there. What’s driving you? Why not just stay home in Pakistan and work for a local telecom company until you can retire? Why take all this risk and move around the world and pursue a profession in emerging technology like blockchain and web3?

Mujtaba Idrees (00:28:39):

That’s an interesting question. I didn’t really think about the why as much personally, but I think that’s something that’s coming from my parents. So I guess they always try to instill this curiosity in me and also they always told me to reach to my full potential. And also it’s not like I’m saying that I am very intelligent or I can do all this. No, I’m not saying this. The only thing is that if I have my eyes set on something and if I want it, if I’m curious about something, I just want it, I want to do it somehow. And my way probably, I don’t think I choose the best way possible, but I just try too hard, I would say. That’s the way I try to do stuff.


And other than that, I think growing up I always wanted to change things around me, because I’m from a Third World country. So in Pakistan things are not great. I mean, I don’t come from a very rich family. We’re from a middle class family, you can say lower middle class or. So of course I wanted to make it big. I had dreams growing up. I also wanted to change life for people around me. And I think the thing that keeps on driving me still is that there is a lot of value that we can provide to the society around, and even I can still provide to the society around me, especially in Pakistan. And for this, I need to do something big and if I just stay in Pakistan and do my job, probably I cannot. So I can just make my life probably better or just simpler, but I cannot probably scale it and I want somehow to scale it.


And I don’t know if there’s a deeper meaning to life or not, but my idea is always to uplift as much as people around me to do something, maybe start a company. So I mean deep down I always wanted to start a company. I think it’s also my university by the way. As I told you, university in back in Pakistan, they instill this thing in you that you have to be larger than life. The life is very big. So if you just focus on tiny things that only impact you, then you’re just going to be doing something because you guys are intelligent and we are filtering the cream from Pakistan. That’s how they used to call it. Of course, from 60,000 people per year, if they’re taking 1000, 1500 people, of course there’s a high chance that these people will probably… I mean of course the companies will also pick us, because they’re like a certain brand that is now attached to us.


But this also puts you in a place of a responsibility where you have to provide jobs to other 59,000 people. They also, of course they’re learning something, they’re going to different universities and stuff, but the kind of opportunities that we are open to, my university has a good reputation so we get easily access to Fulbright scholarship programs, all the universities are well-connected to this university. So when I go apply somewhere even internationally that I am coming from this big university, just like MIT has that check right in USA. So of course I’m taken seriously, but then this is also my responsibility to do something and also increase and try play my role to improve the bigger ecosystem also in Pakistan. Or in generally do something that’s larger than life, that is at least larger than me. And I think that thing instilled a lot of drive in me and they instilled a lot of grit in me.


And their method was to just dump in huge stuff at you. It’s, as I told you, it was impossible, humanly impossible to do those kinds of assignments. And they had so many random quizzes, random exams, the amount of subjects that we were studying at one time, around 10 subjects in one semester. It’s crazy. And all these things are new. So at one side you’re studying advanced calculations and then advanced physics and then advanced programming and then advanced electronics, and the context switching that you’re doing in a day, it’s crazy. So then they put you in this perspective that you pick and choose what you do and then you become a survivor. And of course it breaks a lot of people. I’m not endorsing this behavior that they had, it was not ideal.


I know many colleagues, they got a lot of depression and they also had, it triggered their mental health issues or maybe just triggered all these deep down things that they had. So I’m not really supporter of that anyway, but as the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I think for me, I was quickly able to just adapt to that kind of lifestyle. And because of this adaptation, I just learned to pick and choose. And also it instilled this drive in me that I have to do something.


And that’s why I think now I don’t want to stop. I never thought I will go to this university when I was in my college. When I was there, it was a surprise to me. And when I was there I realized, there are so many intelligent people around me, I’m not going to survive. Then I survived. And after that I survived. All my peers are achieving a lot. Nobody was sitting in Pakistan and doing a corporate job in Pakistan also. They were doing great stuff. Some people even started their startups right out of university. Some people were actually went to MIT and Stanford and stuff. So there was a lot of FOMO. I also wanted to do something and now I’m here in Germany and once you do the migration, you have done a lot of hard work to be integrated into a different society, of course for better opportunities.


And for me, the opportunities are not only financial, also the access to that [inaudible 00:34:32] market that we have, that they have here, the ecosystem that’s there, the growth that you have here. So of course after this, and of course you have to learn a language, so when I came to Germany, also learned German to some extent. So after this then you are addicted to it. So that’s how I would say it. And probably moving forward also, I now have this age, I don’t know, sitting in just a corporate company or waiting for my retirement is something probably not for me. I think I’ve gotten used to this kind of lifestyle.

Nick (00:35:06):

So Mujtaba, part of the reason we’re talking today, as you mentioned there, you went to work at Deutsche Telekom, which is a web2 behemoth, a very well-known large company. And you work on the blockchain team and of course people that follow The Graph know that Deutsche Telekom has a Indexer on The Graph. And so there’s a lot of different angles to this story that are super intriguing, a web2 Goliath entering into the web3 space, and then this team that wants to go to work on The Graph and serving as an Indexer. Before we get to all of that, can you just set the table for listeners that aren’t familiar with Deutsche Telekom? What it is, what it’s traditionally been working on, and set some context about that.

Mujtaba Idrees (00:35:50):

Deutsche Telekom, as you mentioned, is a big centralized company and it’s basically the official telecom company from Germany. So in English it’ll be translated as German Telecom. So I think German government still has a lot of stake in Deutsche Telekom, it’s pretty much privatized now, so it’s a semi-government organization now, but still heavily funded and backed by German government. And it’s very international. It’s not a simple traditional German government organization anymore. It has a huge presence around the world. So I mean there are different subsidiaries and brands. I think everybody has probably seen a T logo, a pink T, capital T anywhere, especially on football fields. They endorse a lot of football teams. So in America it’s very famous by the name of T-Mobile and also T-Mobile is also I think everywhere around the world. So also in Europe, in other countries.


Then they have a big subsidiary, T-Systems, T-Systems international. It’s a systems company. They do a lot of software services and software business. So Deutsche Telekom is all over the place. We have products, we have internet solutions, we have of course traditional data and GSM or web LTE stuff. We have towers around Europe, especially in Germany, we are laying off fiber optics cable, so enabling communication basically. Deutsche Telekom also has a cloud of its own, so it’s called Open Telekom Cloud. It’s just like Amazon and Azure. Similarly, Deutsche Telekom, they’re working with different governments implementing various standards. They have their own products. They even have a mobile phone so many people don’t know about, but I think it’s called T Phone. It’s not launched in Germany yet, but I think they’ve launched in America and some other countries, maybe Eastern Europe. Yeah, I think it’s called T Phone, but you can just look it up. So just like iPhone.


So they have their own brand of phone as well. So they’re doing a lot of stuff. And of course when there’s a huge product lines, there is huge investment into research and tech as well. So that’s why they also have a blockchain department. And this blockchain department is of course started as a research department. So we also have something called T-Labs. T-Labs is basically the research labs here in Berlin and they basically research on various kind of stuff. I’m sure there’s something on AI these days going on. So whenever there’s a new tech, of course using their resources and connections and context that Deutsche Telekom has, they invest in these kind of tech. And normally we are also very early in adopting new technology.


So this is how we are surviving. Deutsche Telekom is, they don’t invest because there’s a bull market or they don’t start working on technology, they just spot out tech, they see it’s growing, it can’t provide value, and they can build some solutions around it and add some innovation to their product lines. They start building on it. And then this is how we were conceptualized as a department. So actually we were spined off from a security department. So Deutsche Telekom also has a security and compliance department. We were mainly a consulting unit, a security consulting unit there, but of course in security consulting unit there are a lot of cryptographers and they understand the keys. And of course that was the starting point.


So we started as a lab, we called it the trust lab or digital trust lab. And then slowly we delve into web3’s tech, so from private chains to public chains. And now we are providing infrastructure. We are also doing solutions. So we are also building some solutions, but our main focus right now is to provide staking infrastructure. And basically we have our own staking infrastructure that we used to run various validator notes for different blockchain networks and also indexing notes for The Graph for Oracle Notes for channeling and stuff. So this is a summary of what you’ve been doing for these years.

Nick (00:40:42):

What’s the backstory then for how you and the team got interested in The Graph and went to work starting an Indexer?

Mujtaba Idrees (00:40:50):

Yeah, I think the backstory is basically how we went into actually infrastructure first or web3 infrastructure, because Graph is just an extension of our web3 infrastructure strategy, that we have since many years actually. So I think, like I told you, initially we were just exploring stuff in web3 and we were seeing that how we can become part of the whole web3 ecosystem. And normally when we go out and we talk to people or tell them that we are also doing something in web3, they’re like, “Get out of here, you’re the big centralized corporate. What the hell are you doing in a decentralized ecosystem?” And we also face a lot of resistance sometimes from different communities and stuff, because the thought that we’re also trying to now… This is a general thing, the web2 companies take over a lot of stuff and they thought maybe we are also against the blockchain ethos and it doesn’t make sense for us to be here.


So of course we were also in a lot of existential crisis for all these years in the past to figure out what is the best way for us to survive in this decentralized industry. I think when we look inwards and saw our stance, we realized firstly, we cannot build a protocol, because protocol is something that’s built, the decentralized protocol themselves, they have been built by the communities. And similarly, we’re not building dapps, the apps are also very specific and centralized corporates are not building their own dapps there. And it’s not like a cloud service that we can provide to somebody or it’s not a license based software that we are providing somebody. So it’s a completely different ecosystem and not the internet that we know as of 2017 and aging.


So we delved into this idea of permission blockchains at that point. And permission blockchains means we had this idea of working with other corporates who have a secure and reliable permission blockchain infrastructure. So then different blockchain services could be built on top of it. We called it German Blockchain Ecosystem, and this was also heavily funded by other corporates as well, but it didn’t fly. There were also different supply chain use cases that we thought would make sense, but in the long run we realized that these things do not make sense. Because if you want two parties to interact with each other and they trust each other inherently, then there is no need for a blockchain and there is no need for this kind of consensus, because they trust each other. So there could be a simple consensus layer that’s agreed upon between them, and there’s no need of a decentralized architecture as such. It could probably work with a distributed architecture as well.


So then we pivoted a little bit and figure out that our core strength is our cloud network and the ability that we can provide infrastructure. And I think generally Deutsche Telekom always sees itself as an infrastructure provider. So if we summarize all these things that I told you before, what we’ve been doing all these years or all the product lines that we have, if I have to summarize everything in one word, that is infrastructure. So before a hundred years we were still laying out cables so that people can talk to each other on telephone. So these cable lines is also physical infrastructure that Deutsche Telekom telecom maintains and owns and then installs. Similarly, when the mobile services became more commonly installed, ours, so that the communication could be broadcasted. Similarly, we enabled GSM, LTE data, like the internet that comes to home of people. Even right now we are laying out fiber optics in Germany and in Europe, generally in Eastern Europe. So basically we always see ourselves as actually technology enabler and infrastructure provider.


So this is the core of what we do. And of course in web2 we are providing, as I said, cloud infrastructure. We have our own cloud, Open Telekom Cloud as well. So we are providing a lot of infrastructure, so why not we provide infrastructure for web3. And this is also decentralized, because we’re not the ones doing any centralized malicious stuff here. But there is definitely a need of a reliable cloud infrastructure or you could say blockchain native infrastructure in the whole blockchain ecosystem, because in the end of the day when you’re paying for a transaction fees, you are paying for the block space. And the block space is somehow generated by a cloud note that is running somewhere.


So all these miners, previously they were running all these mining bricks and they were also doing the same thing. They were providing the infrastructure and pretty soon when the mining wars were over and we knew that staking will become mainstream. Of course staking infrastructure will make a lot of sense. And if you need security in any infrastructure system on blockchain, there needs to be reliable partners who actually care for also their reputation. And of course slashing mitigates the risk of malicious activities in the staking process. But there’s also another aspect of it and that’s reputation. Deutsche Telekom has a lot of reputation to maintain and we don’t want to lose it. So it makes a lot more sense for us to provide reliable cloud infrastructure and work hard to maintain and provide it in the best possible way, because for us, slashing is not that big of a risk, rather, reputation is even bigger of a risk.


So that’s how we figured out that this is the best product market fit, if you have to survive in the wider web3 world. And of course we focused then from providing Oracles, because again, Oracle solutions are also very centralized if you need a weather API, so then you go to somewhere, a reliable party that can provide that kind of information. So we became part of the channeling Oracle set and we provided different price feeds and weather APIs and stuff, initially. And that kind of worked well for us. Then similarly, we scaled a little bit more and we started providing infrastructure validator notes for various blockchains. And now we are of course delving a little bit more into The Graph and now running, also we’re providing indexing notes for The Graph as well.


Of course, we are providing Oracles, we are generating blocks on the blockchains. Why not provide blockchain data? So of course this is the extension in the same direction that is on our main strategy for the last three years or so. And generally I think this fits in well with the bigger story and narrative of Deutsche Telekom and I think we will continue to do this for the next years to come.

Nick (00:47:41):

Talk to me about your opinion of The Graph then. So you’re on this team, you realize that your core competency at Deutsche Telekom is providing infrastructure for web3. You settle on The Graph and you decide to go to work partly as an Indexer serving web3. What were your first impressions of the protocol and what’s the experience of being a part of the community been like?

Mujtaba Idrees (00:48:02):

Before I go into The Graph, I think I’ll just start from a funny story. When we started the blockchain department, we of course, I’m talking about 2017 or ’18. Okay, now this is a cool story, we need to sell it somehow. We went to our corporate customers and told them, “Do you need some blockchain? And we can provide our blockchain service” and the customer asked, “Okay, is there an API for this? We need a blockchain API.” And of course we explained to them that this is not how it works. You cannot get an API for the blockchain. Then it’ll become a centralized, because then we’ll be providing you the data. There’s no decentralized way to provide that kind of data. And it’s not like an API, you can make a get set call, you need to do it from your own wallet and stuff. But we always used to get that query of providing the API and stuff. But we used to laugh it off actually at that time.


And then in 2021 we saw a huge, some API providers popping up, Moralis and then ImmutableX and there were actually providing these API layers and we were like, “What the fuck? Now there are some things that are providing API on double blockchain. But I think the need for blockchain data was always there and we were experiencing it in one way or another. We also explored it a little bit and along the same time we also got introduced to The Graph. And I guess once we saw The Graph, we were pretty fascinated by it because we realized that, “Okay, that’s the right way to provide blockchain data.”


Also structured blockchain data for various use cases, so you can structure the data according to the use case that you have and then use it for analytics, let’s say, and run these graph dual functions or aggregation functions on top of it. So this makes a lot of sense and especially when we now have Austin Integration in the blockchain smart code edge as well. For example, IPFS data is also there now. So thinking about a simple NFT use case and there’s also image and a lot of metadata that is coming from IPFS or some cloud centralized sources, then there’s always a chance of rock pooling as well. So you can also write smart subgraphs that integrate that data, the metadata from the IPFS as well, and then you can structure it and index it in a way that it is always available even if at work.


So this was pretty fascinating and interesting for us. So once we went deep into the use cases, we knew that we have to run the Indexer. And of course, as I said, that if we see ourselves as a reliable infrastructure provider, this is our goal to become the biggest infrastructure provider in blockchain space. In a decentralized way, of course. So Graph makes a lot of sense, we are trying to diversify in various sorts of infrastructure. So for example, right now it is Oracle or validation or indexing. In future it could be rollups or it could be something else like peer to peer communication, like world to world communication modes or whatever.


But generally they’re like different sorts of infrastructure out there. And of course Graph is a unique protocol in that sense. And I think one of the biggest one when it comes to providing data, so we have to be there. This was our initial idea that we have to be there, and this year we actually made it our main focus. We also of course focusing on other things, but The Graph was of course definitely on our strategy and is still on our strategy. And we also believe that there is a lot of web2 data that can come on The Graph. So when we talk about, I was also talking to some guys from Edge & Node about this as well, that when we say that we need to index web3 data, why not index web2 data? When you say you have to become Google of blockchain, why don’t become decentralized Google of also web2 data?


So there is a huge potential that we see and at this point, I don’t think it’s only about providing blockchain data in an effective or efficient way. I think it’s more about this is a very nice data infrastructure that’s there. You can provide structured data in different use cases. And this protocol could scale. And I think it’s, generally it’s about time and that we scale the decentralized protocols also to the web2 world, because the data is the thing here. In web2 world for example, there are thousands or huge use cases of data analytics. And so of course we need to think about data infrastructure generally in decentralized space as well. So maybe next would also be web2 data on The Graph. But this is more like a philosophical discussion that I’ve been having with the Edge & Node guys off and on, they call this web2 vampire attack. So basically it was a joke between me and Simon actually. So it’s, we can actually do a vampire attack and check all the data from the web2 world and also put it on chain.


And I think that economics is also great for The Graph, because I think the amount of fees that we pay in order to consume data from other APIs, GRT is also, of course it’s sponsored by the protocol itself, but also in the long run it’ll not be that expensive. So the Q rates will also remain low. And of course if the offer of economic makes sense, I guess this is the way to go. And I personally think Graph is and will be much, much, much more relevant in the coming days, especially with AI now. And you need a lot of data on AI to train all these LLM programs, and of course there will be also other kinds of AI coming up in the future. Right now we have main focus on LLMs, but maybe other sorts of use cases are popping up already, by the way.


So of course this data will become more and more relevant, especially with WebPro Systems now trying to block data. I mean maybe you’ve noticed all these WebPro Systems have now introduced paywalls around the data, like Medium has introduced a paywall. Twitter is also measuring these Twitter APIs more and more inaccessible and stuff. So I think it makes more sense that The Graph is providing the data in a most efficient way. And especially with blockchain data is already open source. The only thing we can do is to structure it and so that somebody can make sense of it, or whoever wants, they can make sense of this data. And I think this will be relevant in the next years to come. And we are personally very excited about The Graph and excited about the fact that we are able to run index notes on The Graph Network as well.

Nick (00:54:34):

You were recently at Datapalooza in Turkey during DevConnect. That was obviously a very big event for web3 Data that was sponsored and conducted by members of The Graph community. What was it like at Datapalooza for anybody that has FOMO, wasn’t able to attend? What did you learn there about the future of The Graph?

Mujtaba Idrees (00:54:51):

I think the new era of Graph is pretty exciting. All these discussions, I kind of gave you already a teaser about the discussions that I’ve been having and also the future of Graph. I think this looks amazing. If you’re having FOMO, I would say keep having FOMO, because you actually missed out on a lot of good stuffs. But I guess next time maybe The Graph birthday is coming along, so maybe try to be there. But generally I guess it was a very nice event. Also, Metallic was also there, so this is also interesting now that Graph is getting a lot of interest from the wider Ethereum community.


And I think this is, the event was very well. For us it was a lot of business development, a lot of interesting conversations around The Graph. Basically, I’m also working on a side project right now, so there were very interesting discussions about, because this also deals with the web2 data and integration of web2 data into web3 data. I think this is, a lot of people are now talking about it, especially in context of The Graph. So I think the roadmap is very well structured for the future.

Nick (00:55:59):

Well, Mujtaba, now we’ve reached a point in the podcast where I’m going to ask you the GRTiQ 10. These are 10 questions I ask each guest of the podcast every week in hopes of listeners getting to learn a little bit more about the guest, get to know them on the personal level. But also to help listeners learn something new, try something different, or achieve more with their own life. So are you ready for the GRTiQ 10?

Mujtaba Idrees (00:56:20):


Speaker 3 (00:56:20):

The GRTiQ 10.


10 questions for astronauts floating in space.



Nick (00:56:31):

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

Mujtaba Idrees (00:56:35):

There are actually two. So I think ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ is something that’s a very cliche, many people are talking about it now. Which is good, because it gives you a lot of perspective and I think if you have not explored it, you should. And the concept there are great. So I would say hands down, ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’. And other than that, a very interesting thing that I recently come across was, ‘Manager Schedule, Maker Schedule, this was actually a blog post, but you can also Google it. Many people are now talking about it. So that concept is something that has really touched me to the core, because I think many people have thought about it or experience this in their life.


In this blog post or if you just Google it, they just wrote it in the most effective way possible. So basically a manager’s schedule during the day is 30 minutes meeting, then five minutes break, 30 minutes break, and then in another meeting. And this is some sort of a schedule that a manager has during their office hours. It’s like a lot of distractions, a lot of small work. So basically a meeting, then some two hours of work, one hour of work, and then another meeting. So this is a schedule that a manager has.


And on the other hand, a maker schedule is something that, at least ideal schedule for a maker would be that they need a block of time to do something. As a developer, I need, because it doesn’t help if I’m in a meeting and then I can go one hour code and then go in another meeting. This is something that’s very unproductive for an engineer, let’s say, or for a developer or maybe for that writer, anybody who’s making something. So maybe a writer, let’s say, you cannot get that kind of momentum, when you are doing something you need a certain block of time.


So maker schedule is very different than manager schedule. And if you are working in any sort of managerial role or if you are doing your startup or if you’re working with other people, you need to see what sort of schedule that they are comfortable with or what sort of schedule fits them. And then we need to design this schedule, even during the team, even when I’m working as an engineering manager, I need to see which roles people fit in and how they are most productive. Because in the end of the day, if you get it all wrong, then you’re making all your team and everybody and yourself, most importantly, unproductive.


So I think this is our biggest life hack, if you understand, maybe you could divide some hours where you are working at a manager schedule. So for example, what I do right now is the first half of my day is on manager schedule. I try to schedule all my calls during the daytime, before lunch and then after that I’m on a fully maker schedule and I don’t accept any meetings or stuff. So I think this is a really great time hack and it kind of changed my life. So as a professional, I think just read these ‘Manager Schedule, Maker’s Schedule’, just try to understand the concept behind it and try to then differentiate how you can structure your time based on these concepts. And of course you can then focus, put your work in these kind of schedules. So this is a work for a manager schedule or this is a work for the maker schedule, and then you can really hack your time actually.


So this is something that’s really have an impact on me these days. So I think these two recommendations from my side.

Nick (00:59:53):

Is there a movie or a TV show that you would recommend everybody should watch?

Mujtaba Idrees (00:59:56):

That’s a good one. I think I personally like ‘Shawshank Redemption’ a lot, and it also shows persistence and grit. So the way you can pull off impossible stuff, that’s crazy there. And I think that also impacted me growing up when I watched that movie. So I think there are a lot of huge life lessons over there. And if you’re doing a startup and if you need to know how not to do a startup, I think you should just watch a season that recently came on Apple, it’s called ‘WeCrashed’. It’s on basically WeWork and how it crashed. So I think this is interesting. I mean if you are into startups and stuff, so for people like us who are techies and who are trying to explore stuff, there are a lot of learnings over there.

Nick (01:00:48):

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

Mujtaba Idrees (01:00:53):

Yeah, this is very specific. I am from Pakistan and we are a different culture as compared to mostly the west world. So I’m a sucker for Indian music. So Indian classic music is really, really soothing for me. I think also if other guys here, it’s very peaceful. And I would always, always listen to that kind of music, but that’s what I do. I mean during my free time, that’s what I like to do.

Nick (01:01:22):

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

Mujtaba Idrees (01:01:25):

I think follow your heart. So yeah, that’s as simple as that. Do not chase money. Do not chase a lot of things that are beyond your control. You cannot control everything in your life. And also you cannot control the results, whatever you’re doing. What a person can do is only try and then you can just leave it to the nature or God or if you believe in some sort of higher power, because in the end of the day there are a lot of variables that you cannot control in the nature. I mean, you are here in this world also after a lot of random chances and we are here talking to this moment in time, they’re a result of million impossible overlapped chances that led to this moment here. So I think in general, life is just a collection of different chances. So I guess we can try for something, but we cannot control anything. So that’s the greatest advice that I’ve ever had.


And that kind of also relieves me, that doesn’t give me anxiety or depression anymore, because there is a lot of uncertainty around. So for me, the biggest thing is that I try, I give it my best in whatever I’m doing, I’m sure that I cannot blame myself. And once I think I cannot blame myself, I don’t have a regret anymore, and then I just leave it with nature. And then if it is meant to happen, it’ll happen.

Nick (01:02:48):

How about this question? What’s one thing you’ve learned in your life that you don’t think most other people have learned or know yet?

Mujtaba Idrees (01:02:55):

I think ‘Manager’s Schedule, Maker’s Schedule’. So I think this is something a lot of people are not into. I mean, I think it can really change your life if you somehow hack the time. Because I think at this point, at least the phase of life I am at, I think time is a key. And I think many people have that problem. I just heard a lot of people think that they struggle with time management and they have a lot of stuff to do, but they cannot find time to do that. So I think people just need to learn to have time. And I’m also not perfect at it, but I think this manager maker schedule thing helps me. And maybe it’ll also help you.

Nick (01:03:37):

Mujtaba, what’s the best life hack you’ve discovered for yourself then?

Mujtaba Idrees (01:03:40):

I think that goes along with the previous answers. So I’m really bullish on ‘Maker Schedule, Manager Schedule’. So I think that’s the life hack.

Nick (01:03:49):

And how about this question, based on your own life experiences and observations, what’s the one habit or characteristic that you think best explains how people find success in life?

Mujtaba Idrees (01:04:01):

I think there is, as I said before, that you cannot control the results if you need success at life. And also success is a very variable term. You cannot really define it. It depends on the context, what you consider success. For some people doing a startup is success or becoming a huge big professional is success. For other people, having a nice family is success.


So generally, I guess I think one habit that if I have to summarize it, I would say it’s, you don’t give up. So whatever you want to do, you need to have spirit and that’s the only thing that you can control. You can work hard, you can control your efforts. And if you’re doing them in one direction, of course you need to pivot. I’m not saying if you’re doing something wrong, you keep doing wrong or maybe brut force is the right… No, you need to pivot, you need to get feedback, real, straight feedback, real straight. So I think nothing in the life is not achievable if you keep pivoting and trying to find the right way.


So you need to have a big ambitious goal, of course, what you want to do in the life and what you want to achieve, and then you need to find a way to do it. And you think one way is possible. Of course, then the pain need to be big enough that you are willing to put in that kind of effort. But if you put in certain kind of effort, your feedbacks, and maybe that’s not the right way, but you learned a lot, you learned different ways of not doing it, and maybe one way of how you can try again. Maybe this time in a better way. And then you [inaudible 01:05:45] and then you try again. So I guess, if you’re persistent enough and if you’re willing to put in that kind of commitment, anything is possible. And I think that’s how people find success in life.


If you see the examples of people who have made it big in life, I think it’s filled with a lot of failures and a lot of retries, every time with a new approach and pivoting is very important in life. So if you need to restructure and restrategize. This is what also we did in Deutsche Telekom, by the way, initially we started off as a blockchain consulting unit, and later we delved into the permissions blockchain setup. But then we realized that’s not the way, then we now going to the… We also did some blockchain development along the way, then we strategize to our core infrastructure solution. And then we are also changing our approach, adapting to the new protocols, for example, The Graphs.


Probably you can also find examples in your own life. This is something we are programmed to do, actually, you don’t have to think it so much. It’s core of our nature. We do these kinds of stuff in day-to-day basis, even we are not thinking about it. But if you can think about it and you can actually plan it, then of course it becomes much more seamless and maybe you has less sleepless nights.

Nick (01:07:07):

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

Mujtaba Idrees (01:07:16):

Sovereignty. So sovereignty over your data, your transactions, your finances. So in the end of the day, web3 for me puts people back in charge. Whatever data they have, content they have, finances that they have, they are sovereign even on their identity. So I think this is how the web3 will put people in the center of it. So I would say the sovereignty of individual is something that excites me the most.

Nick (01:07:43):

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

Mujtaba Idrees (01:07:48):

Interesting. Yeah, I am not following a lot of people on Twitter, actually. But I would say just follow Deutsche Telekom MMS department. But I don’t have a recommended follower list to be honest.

Nick (01:08:04):

And the final question is, complete this sentence, I’m happiest when?

Mujtaba Idrees (01:08:08):

I’m happiest when I get freedom to take decisions and I’ve given a goal to work for, and then I just do it. I have to find a way. I think I am the guy that likes to build solutions. So I’m happiest when I can find solutions to the problems. And that’s my dream life, finding solutions.

Nick (01:08:41):

Mujtaba, thank you so much for joining the GRTiQ Podcast and introducing listeners not only to yourself, but to Deutsche Telekom and some of the things that you’re working on there as an Indexer at The Graph and exploring infrastructure in web3. If listeners want to stay in touch with you, follow some of the work that you’re working on, and make contact with your Indexer team and learn more about what you’re working on, what’s the best way for them to stay in touch?

Mujtaba Idrees (01:09:04):

We have our Twitter channel, Deutsche Telekom Blockchain, you can just search it. I will also share the links with you. Maybe you can put it in the podcast later on. But you can follow us on Twitter, Deutsche Telekom Blockchain Unit. You can also follow me on Twitter, I’ll also share the links with you later on. And of course, LinkedIn. So you can just follow us on all the various social media platform. And you can also try to chase us in different conferences, because we are going a lot out there in the public these days. So you can find somebody from Deutsche Telekom on various conferences, I guess. Thank you, it was great for being here.


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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.