Marc-Antoine Ross CEO Co-founder StreamingFast protocol infrastructure The Graph dFuse Intel Passwordbox Montreal

GRTiQ Podcast: 15 Marc-Antoine Ross

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Episode 15: Today’s podcast is a special release – I’m speaking with Marc-Antoine Ross, the CEO and a Co-founder of StreamingFast, a protocol infrastructure company.

On June 17, 2021, The Graph and StreamingFast announced a new partnership, which has since received a lot of news and industry attention. Due to the nature of this new partnership, and the impact it will have in The Graph community, I wanted to record a conversation with Marc and make it available as quickly possible.

My conversation with Marc is incredible! In addition to sharing his professional background and entry into crypto, Marc discusses his life-long passion for entrepreneurship, insights into the origins of StreamingFast, the problem he and his team initially set out to address, and what this new partnership will mean for the future of The Graph.

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., GRTiQ.com/podcast[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.

SHOW NOTES:

  • Marc-Antoine Ross (Twitter)
  • StreamingFast (Website)
  • StreamingFast (Twitter)
  • StreamingFast to Join The Graph as a Core Developer Team (Blog)
  • 06/29/21 – Indexer Hours with StreamingFast (Recording)
  • PasswordBox; purchased by Intel (now: TrueKey) (Website)
  • Multicoin Capital (Website)
  • Alex Bourget (Twitter)
  • Tech in Montreal, Canada (CNBC)

SHOW TRANSCRIPTS

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., GRTiQ.com/podcast[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.

00:22
And so, unless The Graph is successful and sustainable that bridging that gap of querying a smart contract platform, it will be very hard for the [Web 3] space to grow, accelerate and succeed. To me, it is, you know, essential.

01:10
Welcome to the GRTiQ podcast. Today’s podcast is a special release. I’m speaking with Marc-Antoine Ross, CEO and Co-founder of StreamingFast, a protocol infrastructure company. On June 17, The Graph and StreamingFast announced a new partnership, which has since received a lot of news and industry attention. Due to the nature of this partnership, and the impact it will have on The Graph ecosystem and community. I wanted to record a conversation with Marc, and then release it as quickly as possible. My conversation with Marc is incredible. In addition to sharing his professional background and entry into crypto, his life-long passion for entrepreneurship. Marc also shares compelling insights into the origins of StreamingFast, a one-time competitor of The Graph, and the nature of the problem he and his team initially set out to address. We also talk about what this new partnership will mean, for the future of The Graph. We started the conversation, talking about Marc’s educational and professional background.

02:15
This is a funny part because I’ve been pretty successful at school, like high school and so on, kind of had easy math and science, you know, it was always high scores. But at some point, I started becoming less and less excited about school, didn’t know what I wanted to do with that, and didn’t work enough. And my grades started, you know, being less exciting. And at the same time, I was 18 years old, I started working in IT, you know, weekend, summer, part-time, all of that. And I realized how amazing this world was, that was back in like 98, approximately. And I completely dropped out of school, started working in IT full time, and really found my place. And at the time, it was really basic work. I started learning how to program and take care of, you know, mainframe cues and stuff like that really basic. But I found this world really fascinating and started working really hard to overcome the fact that I didn’t study in that field. And I guess that self-drive or desire to really succeed in that space was essential for me to work hard, learn a ton and find smart people to collaborate with to be able to learn with them, and bring them to their success. And a few years later, I started my first company, doing web design for brick and mortar companies. That’s early 2000s. Right? But a long time ago. And that’s how my entrepreneurial journey started at 21.

03:59
So that entrepreneurial journey is a major part of your history in researching you and preparing for this interview. I can’t help but note that you are at heart an entrepreneur. So I guess I’d like to know, where does that entrepreneurial fire come from?

04:14
Yeah. So you know, being a little bit older now. I think I look back at trying to understand where that drive came from. And very young, I moved to France. I was 10 years old, moved to France and met a family over there that I believe is a part of the influence. The entrepreneurial desire that grew on me. The story is this. The father of my friend that I met in high school, bought back a company with a few of his colleagues and they grew the company from basically almost bankrupt to a multi-billion dollar public company, extremely successful. And I saw that by taking risks and working hard, you can really, whoever you are, whatever you have, in terms of background, you can really change your destiny and you can impact the world in many different ways. And so I knew I had something in terms of passion and science, you know, desire to contribute to the world. And so when I started seeing that I could control my destiny, I could work with smart people and try to excite them about, you know, some vision or some dream or some journey that I want to go through. It was just so exciting compared to just being an employee and receiving orders and so on. That very early on, I decided to start taking risks and building companies. And I will never regret taking those, those decisions every time. I end up an entrepreneurial part of my life, quite exhausted. And I say I’ll never do this again. But it generally takes a few months, and I started having those ideas, those dreams, this vision and this desire to bring a team to new levels. And it’s the… I think, the most fulfilling carrier that I’ve ever seen.

06:19
How does an entrepreneur like you find his way into the crypto space?

06:23
So towards the end of my last startup called PasswordBox that was sold to Intel in 2014, I started working with Alex Bourget, who’s our co-founder at StreamingFast. And so together, we had an engineering challenge we were working on at Intel, from 2014 to 2017. And Alex was sitting next to me working with me every single day and every single day would talk about blockchain and crypto to me, and I’m a very, very focused person in life, I tend to really stay focused on one thing that I’m supposed to be doing really well. And so he’s been slowly infusing me all these ideas, all these dreams for three years, and I was kind of listening but not really, you know, biting, not really digging to try to, to understand it for myself. But when I left Intel, towards the end of 2017, I was exploring different opportunities in the FinTech world. And then as I started digging more of the blockchain side of things, I called back Alex and we started exploring together. And at some point, I remember, what really got me excited was the permissionless composable aspect of blockchain as a developer that really resonated strongly with me, like being able to build this world, and contributing to this infrastructure in many different ways. And every projects building on top of each other, and growing and securing and improving the space was alignment for me to the different contributors, the innovation, the science of IT, and all of that coming together for this new financial future. And when it clicked, that was my new focus at that point. I didn’t want to do anything else than that.

08:20
Marc, you mentioned that permissionless composability was somewhat of the hook that drew you to crypto, can you explain why that’s so important to you?

08:30
There’s many aspects, I would say. Maybe one of them is that if we want a fair and transparent world to live in, we want anybody on earth to be able to have the same access the same potential, to innovating to discovering, to building to succeeding. So wherever you are, whatever your background is, and maybe that speaks to my personal path of being lucky, although I didn’t take the easy path. I didn’t feel although I had great education, great support from my parents, I felt that I had to work really hard to find my path. But being able to contribute, it’s a little bit of a meritocracy. You know, you do something that others value you’re going to earn from it, you’re going to benefit from it. And others will be able to reuse your work to keep contributing, and it’s not about one path to success is about how do we all build this together? It’s like rewarded collaboration without having to ask for permission. Like how often as a developer, do you want to try something or do something but you need to contact sales. And you feel that if you’re not big enough, if you don’t have the financials to be able to get access to that service, you won’t have the benefits of that service and therefore you’re not going to be able to compete with others that do have this service, for example. And so it’s just leveling the playing field for everyone. And the open-source aspect of it means a lot to me, like really trying to innovate in the open so that we build this future a little bit better.

10:23
Can you compare and contrast your entrepreneurial experience? As an entrepreneur in the crypto space? And an entrepreneur outside the crypto space? How are those two experiences different?

10:35
That’s a tough question. There’s definitely big changes. I would say one of the big change is how you evaluate things. How do you work in these very different dynamics? For example, what is the potential of a project with strong marketing versus the potential of a project that has built such a strong network effect, such as The Graph, the level of network effects that we’ve been talking for over a decade. So those network effects that we see in crypto are just completely different. When you have 1000s of contributors that have a different role, different level of contribution, whether it’s more financial, or more governance, or more content/curation/you know, animation of the community, the potential of this to bring better ideas, to create better software, and to align 1000s of people towards a goal that is much bigger than anyone in the community. It’s just very different. And so as an entrepreneur, as a CEO, as a leader, you want to excite your team towards one goal, one mission. And you need to make sure that you have funding from investors that is aligned with your team’s goal. And you need to find customers that will want that. And it’s really aligning all these different stakeholders towards one team performing a mission. In the crypto space. Like there’s macro movements that will impact your day to day, there’s 1000s of people contributing to the same mission that you’re working on. You need to be a little bit more patient, I think, and seeing through your vision. But the core beliefs that you’re bringing innovation, for a better world is really different. And when you’re interacting with potential users, rather than customers, you feel that the conversation is much less about how are we able to extract value out of you as a customer and for the customer, How are they able to extract value from the service and pay as little as possible? And now becomes ‘How do we make this work really well?’ in a sustainable way so that we never have to worry about that again, or we just keep iterating and improving it. And so I think it dramatically changes how you operate and how you think about problems to be solved.

13:31
So Marc, based on your experience as an entrepreneur in the crypto space, what would be your advice to any listener who is contemplating or reluctant to make the move and pursue entrepreneurship in crypto?

13:46
My advice for an entrepreneur that wants to start in the crypto world would be to think of it as a meritocracy. And if they get smart, if they understand what’s going on, if they work hard, if they contribute to good projects. And they’re willing to take a little bit of risks in terms of investing time or capital in terms of you know, building a team towards a project. It’s a phenomenal space to be taking those risks and the reward in terms of seeing science go through seeing projects, elevate. Seeing the recognition from the different users of the network are just phenomenal. And it’s a bit of a different path than a VC-funded startup. Where you have milestones you grind your raise, you grind your raise, and eventually if you’re lucky you exit in the crypto space it’s I see it much more as a long-term journey that will have highs lows comeback. It will be more of a navigation and a series of success that will build up a portfolio of success which creates value for the entrepreneur. And this is, I think, something that is much more sustainable as an entrepreneur than aligning VC-funded startups one after the other.

15:19
Marc, I want to turn our attention now to the primary reason you and I are speaking today. And that is because of the recent announcement of the partnership between The Graph and StreamingFast. And you’re one of the founders and the CEO of StreamingFast. Let’s start with a real basic question. To help listeners understand why this announcement was so important and caught so much attention. What can you tell us about StreamingFast?

15:45
So StreamingFast, I see us a as a core dev. team of in blockchain were kind of a SWAT team that likes to take on the most complex challenges and solve them with elegant software. We have experience on multiple blockchains. We’re extremely passionate and committed to this vision. And for the last three years, we’ve been building high performance indexing solutions for multiple blockchains. This comes from our experience at Intel, where we built, you know, large scale data engineering platform. And we brought some of that experience and data engineering knowledge to the blockchain space, which is extremely exciting. And so we’ve been building that for three years. And we’re bringing this indexing and multi chain, IP and the experience and drive and passion to The Graph.

16:39
So I already mentioned this when I introduced you, but you are the CEO of StreamingFast. What can you tell us about your role as CEO, and your focus?

16:48
My role as the CEO, what I do for the company is really to make sure that we hire the smartest people that we like to work with, that we are all aligned on a long term vision, that the team is extremely happy about their contribution to the space. And I take care of with my co-founders of their relationships with the different parties in the space to see where we can bring this talent to have the optimal impact, which is always good for us, whether it’s through grants through improving the space, you know, make progress or through recognition left and right. Really making sure that everybody is happy. Having maximum impact, I think is what drives me every morning when I wake up.

17:44
So Marc, what can you tell us about the team at streaming fest?

17:48
We’re a team of 10 passionate people, everybody is based in Montreal, although we do have one China native employee that has been working in the office with us for a couple of years, and then move back to China for a year to really nurture his network over there. And he’s going to come back over the next year. So we’re based in Montreal, Montreal’s an amazing engineering talent city. There’s large, you know, Game Studios, lots of universities, given our track record in the startup past, it’s relatively easy for us to hire. So we’re going to grow the team, you know, our plans, probably to double the team over the next year to contribute to this to this partnership. And I can say that this is what my sixth or seventh technical team that I work with. And it’s by far the most fun and strong team that I’ve ever assembled. Most of them are senior engineer level, if not CTO level, in their past roles. They’re all strong leaders that take mission at heart and really are able to discuss ideas internally, externally try to find the best ideas, even if it’s not theirs, they don’t care, they want the best solution to be implemented. They work really well together. And I feel that every day we contribute to improving, you know, our skill set and our contributions. And yeah, it’s really, really a passion for me to work with them.

19:25
How would you describe what the long term vision of StreamingFast is?

19:28
Our long term vision is to be core developers of The Graph, contribute to its success, build a portfolio of assets that we manage ourselves for our own benefit. And see where in terms of Web3, evolution where we can contribute our skill set to make sure that this space accelerates and gets to millions and millions of developers adopting the protocol calls and building on top of this new financial infrastructure. My last startup, my goal was to get a million active users on the platform, I would say that my goal right now is to bring, you know, 10s of millions of developers actively building in the blockchain space. And to do so we need to have a really solid developer experience that is exciting, compelling and easy to learn for these devs to onboard the space.

20:36
So before we talk more in depth about the partnership, I want to segue by asking an important question, because I think it sets up the remainder of the discussion and the foundation of the partnership. What was the problem that you and the other founders of StreamingFast, created StreamingFast to address?

20:56
Yeah, the very first problem we tackled was being able to query a blockchain and get a consistent view of the blockchain, you know, when you query a bunch of nodes, it’s a bunch of Ethereum nodes, they’re not necessarily at the same block height. So imagine you query five different blockchain nodes. And every time you get a different response, because they’re not the same block height. And that was really annoying. We were trying to create an interface for our users. And we were on a zoom call, literally on a zoom call, and everybody had a different view of the chain. And we found it to be extremely annoying. We were actually creating an interface to vote on something and people had a different view. And so we realized that blockchain nodes were optimized for security for write throughput, but nothing was really optimized for how you will read from it. And it was obvious to us that you would not have that reads solution in the node that is responsible for writing and securing the data, it would just never scale. And so the gap became really clear to us and we started working, and building our first product to be able to consistently query blockchain.

22:16
GRTiQ podcast is made possible by a generous grant from The Graph Foundation. The Graph Grants Program provides support for protocol infrastructure, pooling, subgraphs, and community building efforts. Learn more at The Graph doc Foundation, that’s The Graph foundation.

22:43
Hi, this is GRTiQ. In past episodes of the podcast, we’ve learned that one way Delegators helped to secure the network at The Graph is by staking GRT with Indexers. The network is designed to look at how Delegator stake their GRT to identify trustworthy and reliable Indexers. In a very similar way, podcast directories look to the reviews and ratings of listeners like you, as a way to gauge the trustworthiness and reliability of podcasts. If every listener of this episode took five minutes to leave a review and rate the podcast, that directory would rank the GRTiQ podcast higher in search results, making it easier for community members and those seeking more information about The Graph to find it. Thanks for supporting this project. Thank you for your support.


Do you remember when you first became aware of The Graph?

23:48
As we were building the very first iteration of the platform? That’s, you know, late 2018. We started talking to a lot of investors. You know, the company was created out of FinTech incubator, we took the traditional VC funded startup pack. And we had a lot of success as a node participant in a crypto network. And so we started raising capital at that time, and we met our friends at Multicoin Capital. And they had a lot of questions about how are we different than The Graph. And that’s when we really started digging and understanding what The Graph is doing. And so it was clear to us that The Graph was doing a lot of things in terms of building the community building, the protocol, the tokenomics, all things that we weren’t doing. And so we would have an edge compared to The Graph by building something extremely performant being extremely focused on a specific problem for the indexing challenge. And that’s what we decided to focus on while The Graph was building a lot of everything else, right. And so for the next two years, after we raised capital with Multicoin, we were always meeting The Graph at different hackathon, different conferences. And there was that, you know, fun tension between the two teams, we were kind of trying to do the same thing, but very differently, and in a very different long term approach, different vision for the ecosystem. And so we’ve been looking at what they were doing forever, in terms of the life history of the company,

25:39
If you don’t mind, and using that perspective of a competitor, do you recall anything about The Graph as a competitor that impressed you?

25:48
So the thing that really impressed us throughout this phase of being friendly competitors was the power of a protocol, the power of alignment between the different stakeholders to create alignment and bring different participants together on that vision. So the challenge we had as a SAS, you know, business was, people want the service to exist, but they don’t necessarily want to be the only ones investing in the development of the platform. They fear that if they invest in adopting that solution, at some point, the company could change direction, whether it’s through an acquisition are through just, you know, change of priorities. But when you think about The Graph, it’s kind of reassuring that there’s a huge community of people that will take care of that, that will make The Graph evolve in a smart direction to make sure that all the participants are happy with the solution. So when we were looking at our success versus The Graph success, and seeing how many top projects on Ethereum have adopted The Graph, and we’re promoting The Graph, and users were contributing to subgraph development to the community answering questions, and so on, we just saw that, for us to be successful, we need to invest so much money in in marketing and acquiring users versus the kind of organic growth that The Graph is creating towards solving a similar problem, but they’re differently. And we knew that we had amazing technology. But being able to bring that technology to a new home, that is much more aligned with our long term aspirations, is really appreciated by the team. We’re really proud and happy to be able to do that.

27:46
Mike, I want to take a quick definitional detour here. How do you describe or define what a subgraph is?

27:52
There is the high level answer for me, if a blockchain is a social database, socially distributed database, and you want to create an interface, to show data to someone, you need to be able to query that database. And a subgraph is a very clever way to describe what kind of data you would like to be made available for your interface and allow a network of participants to pick it up, index it for you earn from that rule, and make it available for your interface to query that data.

28:30
Thanks, Marc, I asked every guest of the show to define that important concept. So getting back to the nature of the problem that StreamingFast and The Graph are trying to solve. How would you explain that problem in a non-technical fashion?

28:47
Imagine a blockchain, like a social database. So it’s a it’s a database, where everybody can write to this database and change the state of the database. As a user, you want to be able to understand what’s going on, you want to be able to see what’s going on, you want to be able to see who leads the current, you know, round of this game, who are the top 10 users of this game. And to be able to do that, it means you’re able to query that database in some ways. And querying a centralized database. There’s technology that has been developed to make that easy and performance. But when that database is spread throughout the world, and different computers, or different users, different nodes, it becomes extremely complex. But you still want that to be easy, so that everybody can build on top of that network. And so what’s StreamingFast and The Graph has been doing, the specific problem that we were working towards is you have different protocols that have different sets of data. And you want that data to be easy easily available for developers to create rich interfaces that compel end users? And how do you do that in a performant way that is sustainable. And that will be staying for the long term. That’s what we’ve been working on for the last three years.

30:19
As I learned more and more about blockchain and what The Graph is doing, one of the things I’ve learned is that blockchain wasn’t necessarily designed or inherently designed to be query-able. I don’t know if I have that. Right. But what are your thoughts about that?

30:33
Yeah, we see the fast performance blockchains really, technology that allow you to essentially to leave a scar on what happened at a specific time, and be able to prove that this specific hash for example, was the proof that this transaction happened. Now, all the data doesn’t need to be in the brain of the blockchain in memory of the blockchain. And it would just be unsustainable, it would be impossible to scale for the long term for the most demanding, you know, use cases. And so having that indexing service that sits next to it, I think, is something that is absolutely instrumental in the success of the Web3 space. And this was, you know, that big gap that we identified three years ago, and we started working on. And I fully agree that I don’t see how a blockchain could succeed without having such a sidecar that takes care of making the data available.

31:38
Okay, so let’s talk about the partnership. I guess the way I want to ask this is, how did StreamingFast go from a competitor working on the same problem to partner with The Graph?

31:49
When we started the company and raise money, I think it became obvious to our investors and the team that there was an important problem to be solved. And we decided to focus, you know, we invested but a few million dollars building this theme and creating IP, and developing high performance software for that problem. And this is extremely valuable IP that we’re bringing to The Graph. And that will help you know the Web3 space tremendously, I believe. The reality is that philosophically, we became quite convinced that it would be 10 times better if that IP lived in the hands of the community. And if that IP was served by 1000s of people, the Indexers, and that we were leveraging the intelligence of the whole network, and the whole community to bring this vision to fruition. And so by bringing this IP and our passion in terms of software engineering, to The Graph, the team is convinced that we will be able to contribute where we really shine where we’re really good at. And we’re convinced, more importantly, we’re convinced that there’s a full community of professional people that will take care of the things that we like doing a little bit less, or that we’re less good at, it became obvious that the team was getting, you know, less and less excited about receiving pager alerts on the weekends when one of our nodes went down, and we needed to take care of our customer. But there’s a full community of Indexers that will do that that wants to do that, that is good at doing that, that can rely on each other to be able to not worry too much if one node goes down, because there’s 1000s of other nodes able to serve at that time. And we think that this creates a much more sustainable ecosystem that works together to solve that pain point that we were working on. And so while we’ve been extremely successful at creating a specific piece of software for one specific need high performance indexing, because we were really focused on that as a team, and we invested millions of dollars doing so we value the overall collaboration of the community to solve the bigger problems all together and contribute to the best of their capacity.

34:21
So how would you characterize this partnership then? Was it StreamingFast saying, we now understand it needs to be a decentralized community based approach was at The Graph saying, StreamingFast does these things let’s figure out a way to merge? How should we think about that?

34:38
This is more of a one plus one equals three scenario where it was obvious to us that if we were to work together, the sum of it would be 10 times more exciting for some for I think, for the community of The Graph. This is the this is I think the best way for IP to be sucked in, in a space that will value this IP and keep improving it and keep creating a sustainability for open source software development.

35:15
In some of the press releases and media, this partnership has been referred to as a decentralized merger and acquisition or something to that effect. But in terms of the formalities, how would you describe that?

35:28
The formalities are that we’re receiving this large grant to open source all the relevant IP that we’ve created to the benefit of The Graph to make sure that what was our hosted service becomes part of The Graph network. And we’re aligned on the long term success of The Graph, which is aligned with our belief that the Web3 spaces here to stay, it needs to succeed and to succeed, it needs large investments in improving infrastructure and improving the performance and investment in innovation. And we saw The Graph as the leading protocol to contribute to the Web3 space. And we wanted to bring alignment with our vision and The Graphs division.

36:22
Well, I’m glad you bring that up. Because again, in the press and media, this is another thing that’s mentioned quite often, which is the partnership made sense, because there was philosophical alignment. Would you mind taking a minute and just describing what is that philosophy that StreamingFast and The Graph align on?

36:40
Yeah, I think that the areas that are really interesting for us are in terms of open collaboration. So being able to in the open, innovate, improve, contribute to the protocol, and making sure that all the stakeholders of that protocol are fairly rewarded and recognized for their contribution is something really important. And I think that speaks to the meritocracy a little bit that I spoke about, where we’ve done something great. And it’s not time to sit back and relax, it’s time to keep pushing the machine and pushing our ambitions and our team’s passion towards improving the space for the benefit of the bigger vision. And we’re really excited about being part of this much larger community now and bringing the best of our capacity towards cycle.

Hi, this is Marc-Antoine, with streaming. And I’m a core dev of The Graph. If my conversation with the GRTiQ podcast has been helpful to you, then please consider supporting future episodes by becoming a subscriber GRTiQ.com slash podcast for more information that yard the iq.com slash podcast. Thanks for listening.

38:15
How would you address questions like this and it gets brought up all the time, either listeners will message me or I’ll get tagged in Twitter, which is this idea that maybe a Google like entity, a large tech firm, big bucks, at some point will just step in and solve the problem that StreamingFast and The Graph are trying to address? How do you answer or address concerns like that?

38:38
When I spoke about being philosophically aligned, I think that’s part of the equation. At some point, when you’re the builder in this space, you want to build with similar technology with similar corporations with similar teams. And you want to feel that everything you’re doing is aligned with your values. So I hardly see a Google coming in with a solution that solves all the pain points that The Graph is solving being adopted. I just think that the people making the decisions in the space are the dApp developers, the investors. And these people will not want to favor a Google hosted version over community like The Graph. And so I think the power of the network the power the community is going to win over the largest tech players that could invest a lot of dollars in technology but will not be able to create the network effect that The Graph and other protocols are creating.

 


39:51

One of the ways the relationship is described between The Graph and StreamingFast is that StreamingFast will form the core dev. team for The Graph. A lot of listeners, and I’ll include myself in this doesn’t really understand what that means. So what is a core dev. team? And what will they do?

40:09
So as a core dev. team, I think our role is to contribute to the engineering success of the protocol. And so we’re going to be bringing ideas, implementation, and improvements to the protocol. And we’re working alongside Edge & Node who’s been the, you know, the single core dev. team of The Graph since inception, working with them to bring our ideas, their ideas, review their ideas, you know, comment on them, try to find improvement opportunities. But more importantly, I think, code and develop and ship the things that make The Graph succeed in the best way. So whether it’s improvements or challenges for the Indexers, which of course, we will bring a ton of improvements based on our the performance of our platform, but also bring new elements to the protocol that would enable new use cases, multiple blockchains, but also exploring new blockchains. We have a lot of experience on Solana, FLOW, NEAR, and many others. And so bringing The Graph to multiple blockchains is something that really excites us as well. And we need a ton of people to be able to accelerate that roadmap.

41:31
So what would you describe as on day one, the types of things that StreamingFast can now provide to The Graph, as a result of this partnership.

41:41
The most important pieces that we’re bringing to The Graph today, outside of our long term contributions to The Graph is twofold. One, we’re fundamentally extracting data out of blockchain nodes differently than other projects or companies were doing. And that’s a service that was called the Firehose for StreamingFast, which is, all the data that you can ever imagine out of a node is available to be served in a stream of data. Once you have that data, indexing the data, the specific data that you care is a very different challenge and becomes actually relatively easier. And so the first contribution will be to bring the Firehose technology to The Graph. We’re currently in discussions and design sessions on how it will be brought to The Graph and in what shape or form and name and fracture and so on. Once that is made available, the second big contribution will be our Parallel Indexing technology. This technology is what we’ve used to be able to index, the Pancake Swap subgraph on Binance Smart Chain, and I believe it’s under six hours. I don’t know if you’re familiar, but Pancake Swap launched on the BSC, and they were struggling to get their subgraph fully indexed because of the speed of the chain, and it generates a lot of data. And so they were indexing for seven weeks at the time we started looking into it, though, we kind of adapted our parallel indexing technology to be specifically indexing this subgraph and other subgraphs. And when after a few iteration, we completely indexed the full Pancake Swap subgraph in less than six hours, and actually won the Pancake Swap bounty a few weeks ago. And the benefits of being able to index in six hours are sometimes underestimated by a lot of this, of course, being able to index your data is quite useful to be able to create your interface that queries and displays nice graphs for nice, you know, charts for your users. But the one thing that is often underestimated is the importance of being able to iterate over your data set. If you create a subgraph, and it takes seven weeks to index it, and then you realize that you’re missing a data field, that would be extremely useful to be able to display this new filter on your chart. But it takes us another seven weeks to be able to re-index it, you’re not going to do that. And it kind of slows down the development cycle, which reduces innovation reduces user experience and creates all sorts of challenges that are not good for the space. And this comes back to our learning at Intel where we were reprocessing the data all the time. And we realized that as long as we were able to reprocess very quickly, we were able to keep innovating and improving the platform. And so now that users will be able to re-index large chains and just a couple of hours. I think it’s going to accelerate innovation. It’s going to accelerate the developer Quality, improve the development quality, and improve the end users experience. And that’s what we’re bringing almost day one to The Graph.

45:09
So much of that value will be valued to obviously members of the Indexer community. I’m curious if you have any early observations about the Indexer community at The Graph?

45:20
Yeah, well, you can imagine that our relationship, and our, the way we talk to the community is very different today than it was a month ago. And so what I’ve been the most impressive is how this Indexer community is really active, how large it is, as well. But we’re really, really interested in speaking to a lot of Indexers today and see how we can understand some of the pain points that they’re facing, what are their top priorities, to make sure that all our efforts to bring this IP to The Graph is really in line with their needs. We think that this Indexer community is extremely important for The Graph. And we want to make sure that they are really well served by our efforts.

46:06
On past episodes of this podcast, it’s been mentioned that Web3 really can’t exist without The Graph, that there needs to be this indexing layer. What’s your opinion about that? Is Web3 reliant on The Graph?

46:20
I believe that it is instrumental in the success of any smart contract platform. You cannot rely on centralized services to build decentralized applications. You cannot rely on blockchain nodes to provide data for your decentralized application. And so unless The Graph is successful, and sustainable, that bridging that gap of querying a smart contract platform, it will be very hard for the space to grow, accelerate and succeed. To me, it is, you know, essential.

47:02
So then what would be your long term vision for The Graph?

47:08
Our long term vision for The Graph is to really be this network of participants of operators that will make all the blockchains data and execution interface easily available for all the clients connecting to the network, whether that’s mobile, a laptop, an interface, an IoT device, you will be interfacing and connecting to that decentralized computer through The Graph.

47:42
Marc, thank you so much for your time, and for sharing so much great information. I was excited about the StreamingFast announcement. And I’m even more so now that I’ve spoken with you. This has been very helpful. And I’m so excited to see what the partnership between StreamingFast and The Graph does over the coming months and years. If listeners want to learn more about StreamingFast, and keep up to date on the work that’s being done, what’s the best way to do it?

48:07
The easiest way to learn about us and what we’re doing is to follow us on Twitter at StreamingFast IO. You can also see us in the discord channel of The Graph we’re here the full team is there going to try to answer questions and contribute to this community but our Twitter’s these is with photos.

48:29
This has been a production of the GRTiQ podcast. You can find additional information, including detailed show notes by visiting GRTiQ.com slash podcast. That’s GRTiQ.com slash podcast project and helping out the community by subscribing and leaving a review

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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.

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