Maarten Henskens Astar Foundation Japan Web3 The Graph Blockchain indexer subgraphs

GRTiQ Podcast: 151 Maarten Henskens

Today I am speaking with Maarten Henskens, Head at the Astar Foundation, Japan’s leading blockchain, renowned for its robust support for EVM, Substrate, WebAssembly, and ink! environments, which collectively form a scalable, cross-layer, and cross-machine protocol.

Exciting news awaits as Astar has embarked on a journey using The Graph’s cutting-edge Chain Integration Process to seek integration with the network. The highly anticipated announcement of full support on The Graph is on the horizon. Astar is poised to become the second chain, following Optimism, to join The Graph via this innovative integration process, with more chains eagerly following suit.

During our conversation, Maarten will unveil his personal voyage into the realm of web3, which commenced with a career in primary education. We’ll delve into his passions, including biking and wine, and discover his lifelong dedication to the pursuit of knowledge. Maarten will then introduce us to the vibrant Astar network and its thriving community, shedding light on what sets Astar apart and the compelling narrative behind their decision to seek support for their chain within The Graph Netwo

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



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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.

Maarten Henskens (00:00:18):

The Graph itself is a very crucial component in the web3 ecosystem, like I mentioned before. As you have Google as a data aggregator with this valid data aggregator for all the ecosystems as well out there and The Graph is, I still think, the most reputational Indexer that there is and also the most adopted one as well in this industry.

Nick (00:01:10):

Welcome to the GRTiQ Podcast and the first episode of 2024.


Today I’m speaking with Maarten Henskens, Head at the Astar Foundation, Japan’s leading blockchain with support for EVM, Substrate, WebAssembly and ink! environments to provide a scalable cross-layer and cross-machine protocol. As you may have already heard, Astar has used The Graph’s new chain integration process to pursue support on the network. And news of full support on The Graph is expected anytime. Astar will be the second chain following optimism to be added to The Graph via the new chain integration process and many more coming.


During this interview, Maarten will share his personal journey into web3, beginning with his career in primary education. Then we talk about his passion for biking and wine, and his lifelong commitment to learning. And then Maarten will introduce us to the Astar Network and community, what makes Astar different, and the backstory for why Astar thought it was important to get support for their chain on The Graph Network.


As always, we start the discussion talking about Maarten’s educational background.

Maarten Henskens (00:02:18):

My educational background, it all started when I went for the education of becoming a computer scientist. And to be honest, I didn’t quite finish that part, but I got a great opportunity for working at one of the biggest Belgium telecom company. It’s called Telenet. I worked there for six years. Getting this job make me quit school a little bit earlier to finish my computer science.


And later on while I was doing that job with the technical engineer, I started reaching out to a new education and this was more to become a teacher. And so I worked as a primary school teacher for 12 years. I was a teacher for children between 10 and 11 years old. And during my career as a primary school teacher, I never stopped educating myself. So I also got a degree as a sommelier. And later on as a bike technician.


And now actually, from next year in 2024, I’ll be pursuing my MBA career. I got admitted as well to one of the top Belgian business schools after my essay and assessment. I keep improving myself, I keep improving my educational background, for myself to improve and to grow as a person.

Nick (00:03:39):

I love the diversity of your background. And as we’ll talk about in a moment here, you’re not the first guest that I’ve had on the podcast that has a background in primary education. And I’m always super interested in that because I think it’s a very valiant type of career path for young people to take.


Let’s start with a little bit of what drew you to these fields. And so if you don’t mind, do you remember what you were thinking when you had some interest in pursuing primary education? And as you mentioned there early on, maybe computer science, what drew you there?

Maarten Henskens (00:04:07):

Well, computer science was more, I always was, from the age of 14, very interested in computers and where the internet was born with the modems, with the scratchy sounds and all those kinds of things, playing RollerCoaster and meeting friends and doing that ICQ and MSM kind of stuff. So I was always fascinated with the internet and that’s why I also pursued career of computer science.


But for primary school teacher, this is, I’d say, a very personal story. And the fact that when I was 18 years old, 18, 19 years old, my sister got an unwanted pregnancy. The father left and she’s a couple of years older than me at the time, and she didn’t want to move back home. So it was some kind of struggle. So I decided to just leave my parents’ house and move with my sister together and help her during her pregnancy, as well helped her with her first child also, and godfather of their child. App


And while being there, raising together with my sister, my godfather child for two years, then I moved to the other side of Belgium and I always had the feeling that I really want to do more with educating children because I know how vulnerable they are. I know how important that first educational years are for young children. And that’s why I had a drive to become a primary school teacher. And this is mainly what driven me towards that bar.


A second part that made me choose this career as well was because I was an engineer for a telecom company, I had to do a lot of driving and traveling inside Belgium. I’d spend a lot of hours in my car and if you are a little bit familiar with the Belgium traffic, it’s always jammed. No matter where you are, you are in a traffic jam. So leaving very early, traffic jam for two hours, then work, go back home, again traffic jam. It just was so like, “Ah.” I had to do something else because this, I didn’t saw myself doing this much longer.


And then during the six years I work for the company, I educated myself for a primary school teacher while I was working full-time. So at night school, during the weekends, I practiced and did exactly the same course as any student would do in the normal educational curve, but I did it during my nights and weekends.


And then I got this diploma and then it was very easy going to a primary school as a man. People here in Belgium, they were like most primary schools are all women. And having a man, it’s always freshening the spirits and freshening up the whole team. It was very fast for me to get my first job and I stayed at that school. My first interview they hired me and then I stayed there for 12 years. So it was a really nice time, a really fascinating time. And also made me more who I am now these days, working in web3 as well. So I think primary education is a perfect way to enter web3.

Nick (00:07:19):

Well, it’s a remarkable background and I really appreciate you sharing the personal nature of what drove you towards it. And I’m sure I’m not alone in saying this, but I’ve had instructors or teachers in my own life that have had an incredible impact on me. And so again, I think this type of career path is incredibly inspiring.


Let’s talk about the experience of it. Like you said there, you did this for a huge chunk of time in your life. You allocated a lot of your professional career early on to this. What was the experience like? Did it kind of check the box of wanting to inspire and build the next generation and fulfilled you in that way?

Maarten Henskens (00:07:52):

Yes, sort of. I must say being a teacher, for me personally, it was the most enriching and most challenging experience in my life. And it’s often when people see teachers, it’s a little bit romanticized in a way. Of course you make an impact, you shape people’s minds, you make them ready for the future. But this is a little bit over romanticized in a certain way I think. But it did have a big impact on my life as well.


And it got me, as well, great insights. Again, a lot of personal growth from this because one thing that I learned, and it’s something that not many people say regarding teaching, but as a teacher you need to have one specific power. And that power, I will say, it’s listening. But truly listening. And listening to your students, understanding their perspectives, their struggles, their aspirations, their heroes for the child, for children, is something that is not often talked about.


And I think as a teacher, especially in primary school, that listening part is very important. But you can say as well, “Okay, you work with children. How much can they say?” But you’re always saying the truth comes out of a children’s mouth. They are the most truth-telling persons there are. And they will speak. And if you are in their comfort zone, in the trusted area for them, they really speak and they really care what they feel.


And during my career as a teacher, I had a lot of experience with this, but I had some kids who got cancer. I even had one who lost her life as well. And then also Corona. There were a lot of things that had a huge impact on children and that part of listening, it’s something that a lot of people don’t think when they hear a teacher. And this part, I think that will have that impact as well on that child. Not only the knowledge that you bring to them, but being that person that they felt the need of, “I can tell that person something.” It’s really important.


This is the same thing that I do as well in my current role for the company that I work now, as the Head of Astar Foundation. One major part is the culture. And to set a culture, you need to get the trust from your team members and you need to have them able to say to you, “Maarten, I want to have a one-on-one. I need to talk about something.” And having that trust from those people as well, really helps me as well create that special culture and keep them in our team as well, because they feel that they are very welcome.


And as well going into a classroom, each child has their unique story, personal context. You see how they shape, or how they interact with the world around them as well. And I always compare web3 with a classroom in the sense that it’s an environment that is very dynamic. It always changes. There is not a single day that is the same as the day before. It’s also constantly evolving with introducing new technologies in the sense of teaching skills or bringing something to a child, but also bringing the technology to them like working with a computer or those kinds of things. Always very fascinating.


And not only that, but also society seeing changes as well. You see as well, more diversity in classrooms and all those kinds of things makes teaching so great, because you are there on the front line that everything is happening. And I see this similar with web3 and crypto. Yesterday is completely different than today. Not only on the market but also on new kind of technologies, new kind of partners, new kind of visions, new kind of research papers. It’s so fascinating. And that’s why I think being a teacher, coming to web3 is like, you will feel at home from day one.

Nick (00:12:06):

I love the comparison and it totally makes sense. You’ve got this emerging industry and these emerging minds, you could say. And I appreciate the connection you made there between the classroom and web3.


In addition to this really cool background in teaching and primary education, you’ve done other things and you referenced it a little bit in your introduction there. But you also, I believe, were an entrepreneur and started a bike repair and mechanic business. What can you tell us about that? It’s super interesting.

Maarten Henskens (00:12:34):

I always pursue something that I want to master in some kind of way. Regarding bike technician, how I wanted to become a bike technician because I’m a very huge cycling fan. I love the sports of cycling. It’s one of the number one sports here as well in Belgium. Cycling is like, you are born with it when you live here. I had a huge passion of cycling. One thing that I did with cycling was I was a long distance cycler. I did competitions for long distance, meaning that you had a starting point A and you have to go to starting point B and you have some kind of weeks to finish it or some kind of days to finish it. So you ride 300 to 400 kilometers a day. You sleep like two hours, you wake up, you just sleep on the side of the road and you just finish the race.


And I really liked this, but one thing that I also found when I participated in this, you need to know your bike inside and outside. You need to know, if something goes wrong, you need to find a fix or some kind of thing that you need to fix when something happens on the road. So I wanted to know everything regarding every screw on the bike through every part of it.


And I wanted to not only know how to fix it, but also understand the technology and why this technology was put there to improve certain things on the bike as well. So it was very interesting to do this. It was something that I mastered. I got my degree and then I also was like, “Okay, now I have this. What could I do now, just for myself?” So I was like, “Let’s share this as well.” So I started a pop-up store in some kind of factory in Belgium, where I did repairs for everybody who lives in the neighborhood.


Then I moved to another place here in my city. I got a shop, I started my business and after a couple of years I got bored of doing this. It was too much work. Let me say it like this, there’s too much. Where I live here in the city is called Ghent in Belgium. And Ghent is very famous of students. We have a culture of bikes and riding everywhere with a bike. Students, they don’t have money so they use crappy bikes with a lot of… They just go from A to B, but it’s like it doesn’t work always. So they come then to the bike shop, you need to explain, “Well, those are the cost.” And they’re like, “Oh, but I’m just a student. I can’t fix it.” So you always can’t make a real proper living out of this as well.


So I got too much work there and that’s when I decided to stop. It was also, later on, I’m a person that needs to keep having my passion or needs to keep challenging myself. And at one point it stopped challenging myself, so I decided to stop that business and move to another adventure. And that part, it became then web3.

Nick (00:15:30):

Well, there was a stop along the way, however. And again, you mentioned this during your introduction, but at some point in being a teacher, having this bike shop and pursuing all this educational pursuits of your own, you become interested in wine. What’s the backstory there? What sparked your interest in wine and what did you do with it?

Maarten Henskens (00:15:49):

Wine, I think wine is my guilty pleasure. It’s something that I see as much more than just a drink. I see this as in, if you really have a good wine and you know the story of the wine maker, you know the story of the vineyard, you know the story of the family behind that wine, there’s so much history. And the moment you… I love stories and I always got sold by a story. A wine with a good story tastes a thousand times better than a very expensive wine with no story.


And this is something that I really wanted to do. Sitting down with friends during the sunset or something, and just opening up a bottle and you can tell the story of that wine not only about that area, that vineyard, but also about the grapes and the type of vine, where it was grown. It’s really something that people listen to and really like and enjoy. And then they taste the wine and then the evening is a thousand times better because you share something that people love. And people love stories and I think wine is something that you can really tell with the story.


And also wine is just so complex and also has so many unknown things. And like I said, I can’t compare everything with web3, but wine is also something that you can compare with web3, but I will not go too much into that comparison. But my passion for wine is more from my personal interests. It’s also more about my personal hobby as well, and doing it with friends. It’s not something that I did for another business of something. It was just for myself.

Nick (00:17:39):

For listeners that are interested or also enjoy wine, what’s your recommendation? Do you know any specific wines or any recommendations that every listener should try if they like this type of thing?

Maarten Henskens (00:17:52):

Well, it depends what you want to do. If you want to buy a wine in any supermarkets, you just need to find out which kind of grape you like and just go with that single grape and not go with multiple supplies with different kinds of grape. Just know what’s your favorite one and just stick with that.


But if you really have the chance to travel, I would say go to Italy, go to Tuscany. Go to the areas from the fine Italian wines, the best wines there are in the world, from my personal view. You have also good wine in Oregon. I can say also very fine wines in US as well. But my personal preference goes to Italy, because just I’m in love with the country and in love with the wine, with the foods. And I think Italian food with Italian wine, I think nothing can be better.

Nick (00:19:44):

So Maarten, it’s now time to talk about, as you’ve referenced a couple of times, your entry into web3 and why, given all your varied interests, web3 caught your attention. So take us back in time. Do you remember when you first became aware of crypto and what your first impressions were?

Maarten Henskens (00:20:01):

Hey. My first time in crypto was back in 2013. This was more in the Bitcoin scene. This is where I first bought my first Bitcoin. I bought it for other reasons than the technology, but after buying that Bitcoin and using it, and I didn’t use it on a pizza but on other things, I became more interested to why are people actually accepting Bitcoin as a payment?


And so I went deeper into the technology and got interested. And this is where my personal research started into web3 and the technology, because like I said earlier, I had computer science. I was always passionate about the internet, about new technologies there. So I started looking into that, but then it was something that was like, “Okay, I really need to go very deep into this.” And it was more like personal interest, understanding it, and that’s where it actually started.


Then in late 2016, 2017 when Ethereum got more traction, Bitcoin got more track, Ethereum was launched and you got this ICO hype coming up slowly, this is where I got more and more interested in the web3 part, in the crypto-native side of the blockchain technology. And then it was more regarding trading, understanding, seeing, researching projects, investing in projects, joining ICOs and those kinds of things, joining communities and so on and so on. Yeah, that was my first entry point into web3.

Nick (00:21:35):

Well, eventually this leads to going full-time into web3. And I think your first foray into the space was with SOMA. You spent three years there. What was that transition like for you? Did you feel like you were taking some career risk by starting this new thing in this emerging industry? And what can you tell us about SOMA?

Maarten Henskens (00:21:54):

Started going into SOMA gradually in the sense of first I joined that community. I first started ICO, I joined that community. I got interested in what they were doing, so I educated myself about the technology that they were building. So they were building problems cracking with NFTs back then as well. Making sure that you have that, know the history of the product and web3 is something that puts that very well.


So I started researching that. I became very driven into the community, very active by answering questions and so on. And this goes hand-in-hand with my teacher career as well, educating, make something difficult understandable for everyone. And then I got more and more engaged there. I got first the position of community lead and helped them out with community. Later on, I joined the team as one of the biz dev members and I was there to sell their product to luxury brands.


Later on I became more and more active and then I became as well the biz dev lead. And then later on, in the final last six months, I became the CMO as well. And this is how I worked myself into that role. It was gradually. It wasn’t really taking a leap of faith here and just jumping into it.


My career at Astar was more of this, but this was more gradually. And I still worked as a teacher, but not full-time anymore. Just part-time. And in my next part-time, I was working for SOMA and just following the blockchain industry in this whole.

Nick (00:23:36):

So I’m going to ask you just a couple of follow-up questions.


The first one is, this template that you’ve sort of described as it relates to your own life, having a full-time career and being on a professional track outside of web3, finding a project that interests you, and just getting involved as a side hustle, if you will, in the community, this seems to be the story of web3.


Do you see it the same, especially now that you’re working with Astar and you probably have the vantage point of seeing other people step in and try to be part of a community?

Maarten Henskens (00:24:06):

I think a lot of people don’t see where the entry point is to really start working into web3. Where should I start? I think it all starts by being committed and engaged. I think that’s enough. People in web3, don’t look at your diploma or degree or whatever. It looks in your commitment, looks in your knowledge, what you know about the project and then think slowly will move forward as well.


Similar with the Astar Network, how I joined Astar Network, I joined Astar Network through a hackathon, because I already stopped with SOMA. SOMA was out of the picture. But I still wanted to do something with the knowledge that I had in the blockchain industry. And this is where at the time there was a hackathon with Polkadot and all other major projects. And I wanted to create what I have worked so hard on with SOMA, because they stopped, they got bankrupt so they had to close down and didn’t move forward. But what they had built out, it was still something that I saw, this can become a really good business if you do it well. So I wanted to join this hackathon to build out what I learned there on another blockchain and make a new project. Get a new kind of life into it.


When I joined at hackathon, I got, again, so much new technology coming at me. I was researching all those kinds of things. I got new ideas, new inspirations. I started digging into the Astar, helping a lot of projects out regarding developing lists and doing some teaching and education to the communities. And then I also got my job into Astar Network.


So it’s all about going and understanding a project, seeing that to see like, “Oh, this is something that I really like or really believe in,” and just commit. And I’m 100% sure if you do this, you’ll have a job to do this as well. You see this currently an Astar Network, as well in the Foundation. We have in total four full-time members who were previously ambassadors, community members. They were all community members. Then they became an ambassador. And then they got a job as a community lead. And then they become a job as a biz dev. And now some are even leading certain departments of the biz dev, So things can move pretty fast if you really commit to this as well.

Nick (00:26:22):

And the second question I want to ask you is, and this is for a long time listeners, something they’ll be familiar with, but somebody’s initial interest in crypto starts with the speculative nature of the investment asset, if you will, but it evolves. And you mentioned it a couple of times as well that you come to see the underlying technology or value.


What was that aha moment for you? I mean was it a specific moment in time where the light bulb went off and you said, “Oh my gosh, this is more than just an investment opportunity. This is real tech that can impact the world,” or was it a culmination of observations?

Maarten Henskens (00:26:56):

It was like a combination. It all started working with SOMA. And I mentioned as well, it was focused on luxury brands. And if you look at luxury brands in this world, they are, I would say, the most conservative brands that there is. They will stick to their heritage and customs, and how they operate. Because for them, that’s also part of the value of that luxury item.


And because they are so conservative, it was also so hard to sell new technology to them. And this is where I had the feeling, if they don’t understand the technology, they will never go into web3 or they will never see the opportunities in web3. So that was for me the moment that I really learned the technology, but also find a way to sell the technology to those customers and let them see what are the potential.


And by researching that and by learning myself to sell that, that was for me the moment I was like, “This is so much bigger than a lot of people think. You can do so much.” And this is also something that still drives me a lot in crypto or in blockchain, that’s the unknown. You don’t know what’s coming next. And this is something that really drives me of making sure that the unknown is something that people will believe in.


I see similar with space, it’s also unknown. Nobody knows anything, but everybody wants to go up. Everybody wants to explore, see the new things, what’s new there that we don’t know. I think that’s similar with crypto. What’s new what we don’t know? And I think that’s still a driver factor for me to keep working in crypto and be fascinated about this world as well.


And also, we see this now with Astar Network and we are very embedded in the Japanese culture. We are working very closely with Japan and the government and the regulations there. The moment we see that certain high-level brands or high-level people open the door, it even opens the doors to those who have a very conservative mind. And that’s where you need to step in and that’s where you need to start selling. And not selling, but start educating them about what can be done or how certain technology can improve your current work or your current infrastructure.


That was the main thing that I see, how I got that moment of, this is what crypto can… Or I will not say… I don’t like the word crypto by the way. When I talk about crypto, I always think about the crypto-native side of the trading thing. I always prefer blockchain technology or blockchain itself. So that’s where I found out the blockchain technology and the opportunities that lay there.

Nick (00:29:56):

Well, as you mentioned there after SOMA you went to a hackathon, got plugged into Astar Network and we’re partly talking today because Astar Network is one of the new chains that’s under consideration for support with The Graph. And as you know Maarten, a lot of my listeners are enthusiastic about web3 and specifically The Graph.


So I have a lot of questions for you about this, but before we get there, why don’t we just start with a little context setting. What can you tell us about the history of Astar Network, how you got involved, and a little bit about what Astar is and what makes it different?

Maarten Henskens (00:30:29):

How I got involved, like I said as well, I got involved through that hackathon. I joined this through Encode Club. It’s a famous hackathon with all of the major ecosystems. And one of that ecosystem at that time, I’m talking about three and a half years ago, it was with Polkadot. The first things that were moving around it, but Polkadot as well.


I joined some of the projects who had bounties available in that hackathon. One of that bounty was from Astar Network but not Astar Network as it’s now, but it was called back then Plasm. And I was looking into, “Okay, I want to build with this technology, I want to build with them.” The main reason why I wanted to build with them was because they were promoting themselves more. They were already promoting themselves as a scalable solution, like already working on L2 solutions and already working on a different kind of language, different 10 Solidity.


And it’s also made me interesting, because I don’t want it to go with something that already a lot of people were doing. So I want to do something new. And that new language was something that attracted me. But when I was looking into the documentation and the tech stack, there was so much missing that it was almost impossible to start working and building.


So I looked into the technology, I wrote my own tutorials, I wrote my own documentation. I made videos, clips, tutorials on how to build on them. So the moment I created that for them, I gave it to the founder and that founder was like, “Okay. I want to have a call with you.” So he called me. I was like, “Okay. Hey, nice to meet you, Sota Watanabe.” And said, “Hey, nice to meet you. Do you want to work with me?” I was like, “Oh, wow. Okay.”


Then I started working with them. I got the opportunity to become the integration engineer. I worked then to help them with integrations. This was my first thing. And then it’s moved forward and forward and forward. And then Plasm became Astar Network. And why did we change? Because we, at that moment, Plasm was working on scalable solutions like ZK, PLUM, Optimism as well as Plasma and so on. They were already working on this, but there was no need for this in this space at that time, at three and a half years ago. Nobody was looking for any scalable solution, especially not on Polkadot.


So we shifted our narrative. We’ve pivoted to becoming more like a smart contract hub in the sense that not just offering solutions for already existing smart contracts environments like you have an EVM, but we also created a WebAssembly smart contract environment as well.


At the same time we created a multi virtual machine environment, meaning that you have one chain, one ecosystem where you can have multiple types of smart contracts and different kinds of languages and making it possible to have those different kinds of smart contracts also interoperability and be being compatible with each other. That’s what we did. That’s what made Astar Network, when it was launched, different than others because we had that multi virtual machine environment. And not only focusing on EVM but also focusing on the WebAssembly parts for smart contracts.


We had the smart contracts for built-in RaaS. We saw this, or we see this still as a huge potential because RaaS is one of the most common or most adopted languages that are currently out there as well together with WebAssembly. And we see this as well as the gateway for already existing engineers or people who write code to enter web3 without learning a new language, because any language can be compiled into WASM and can be turned into a smart contract as well.


Another thing that make us different from the rest is that as Astar Network was born in Japan and has been, since it was born in Japan, our founder always been very active with the government, always been very active with trying to get web3 regulations looked into in Japan, because he wanted to stay in Japan but he was forced out because of tax regulations, because of compliance reasons and so on. So he had to move to Singapore to start this business. He still regrets that move because he didn’t have any choice. So he keeps fighting this with the Japanese government as well.


And since last year, web3 became part of the national strategy of Japan. So this means that Japan is ready to accept web3. And being there from day one and always being the frontier in the technology in Japan, gave us a lot of opportunities as well. A lot of chances to talk with big enterprises, with other big entities inside of Japan and get web3 more and more adopted or more and more educated into the society as well.

Nick (00:35:34):

I want to ask you this question about competing in web3 as a blockchain, and I haven’t had the opportunity to interview a lot of blockchain founders or executives, but I’ve had a handful. And I’m always intrigued about competing. That’s because I think Bitcoin is a blockchain and everybody knows about Bitcoin. And Ethereum’s a blockchain and a lot of people are building on Ethereum.


Talk to us about what it’s like competing at that level of the industry and what that’s like.

Maarten Henskens (00:36:08):

It’s a struggle in the sense that the moment we launched as a network, we were live. We were more on the map as a general smart contract platform. But how would you compete with a general built smart contract platform if you have Ethereum, if you have also Solana, if you have Avalanche, if you have those all. Those are the big [inaudible 00:36:32]. How can you compare with a very small chain to all those giants?


And this is where we also felt like, “Okay. Should we keep pursuing this general smart contract thing as well?” And then we were like, “Okay. This is not possible, so we need to focus on a narrative.” And that narrative was very easy for us because we have Japan. So we really focused on Japan in the sense that, “Okay. It’s now part of the national strategy, so what’s next that we want to do?”


Our main vision of Astar Network is always, and I think a lot of ecosystems have shared the same vision, is getting web3 adopted or getting more adoption in this industry. And we see this adoption now very actively happening in Japan, in the sense that we talk with enterprises, for instance, Sony. They also are working closely with us in Japan because they want to be there the moment web3 really hits as well.


So a lot of those enterprises now see, “Okay. The government is opening the door in web3, this means that we need to prepare the moment something is about to change or about to happen. So let’s try to educate our team how to educate our enterprise into adopting web3.” And this is where we are advising to a lot of those enterprises by saying, “Okay, what are the needs you currently see in web3?” Or first of all, we educate them about web3. Like I said before, we need to make sure that they understand what this technology is, what can be the use cases, and then we look into their infrastructure as well and see how web3 can improve this.


How we did this for instance with Toyota, so we had a deal with Toyota where we were like, “Okay.” They were open to web3, they were like, “Okay, what do we want to do with web3?” So we gave them as well some education and then we looked as well into how Toyota itself is structured. So Toyota has a very Kaizen culture, in the sense that the members who are working there, they have a say in what’s coming next as well. So they have a voice in the company, every employee in Toyota.


And if you listen to this, you already know where I’m going to. So this is very similar to a DAO structure. So what they did is, “Okay, how can we create internal DAO structures in our company where people can vote on certain things where everything is in the backend done by web3 without the employees need to know what they are doing.”


So what we did is, we did the hackathon where we onboarded all major DAO protocols, major DAO communities to educate Toyota in a sense what they can do with building out DAOs. We got in total like 400 submissions. We got a lot of participants in the hackathon. And even as of today, they are still working with one of the winners to build out a DAO infrastructure inside that company.


This has nothing to do with crypto. This has nothing to do with something else. This is purely about adopting the technology. And this is similar what we are doing as well with other companies by providing proof of concept about what’s possible, how you can create certain things in entertainment industry or on their branches as well, and giving them examples of what others have built and let them see how this can bring value to their current infrastructure as well.


And this gets a lot of traction and this is where we are separating ourselves from other ecosystems instead of focusing only on the crypto-native side, but try and really finding a way to get this adoption of web3.


And how we are doing this as well at this stage or in the next phases from next year, 2024, is that we are now working with enterprises and brands who already have a large user base and they already are using the products. And now we are looking away from how can you have more interaction with your users or how can this technology of web3 improve certain things for you to get more attention, to get a better kind of infrastructure or a broader spectrum of what you have now.


And this is something that we are focused on. A lot of people, a lot of projects, most of them, they are mainly focusing on the crypto-native, on getting as much crypto-native users into their ecosystem to get the transactions, to get the TVL, to get a lot of things, to get a lot of assets into their ecosystem. We see it on the other way, on the sense that we are not focusing… We are also focusing on the crypto-native, but the major part is we want to onboard them who are not yet in web3 into web3 without knowing then that they are in web3, to start this adoption happening. And this is something that we see as different because it shows having a different kind of narrative and also the luxury of being one of the frontiers in a very important geographic place as Japan.

Nick (00:42:20):

I love the vision there. And the mission’s incredibly important, especially in different regions of the world as web3 gains more and more adoption. It will be critical to have protocols, certain communities active and able to activate different regions of the world.


I do want to ask you this question about what you’ve learned about the industry by virtue of your work at Astar. And I kind of want to know the answer here because you mentioned in 2013 you became interested in Bitcoin. Then you went to work within the SOMA community, ended up going full-time into web3. And now you’ve landed at Astar.


What have you learned by virtue of your work at Astar Network about the industry that you hadn’t known to this point?

Maarten Henskens (00:42:58):

So it’s maybe funny when I told you regarding the luxury industry becoming or very conservative. I sometimes as well feel that the blockchain industry or the crypto industry is also somehow becoming conservative in the way of, it’s improving, but in the way of becoming that isolated place and doing everything isolated in a sense. We see now a lot of changes and this is something that really learned a lot from them. Are we still in a bear market? I don’t know. But in this bear market, let me still say bear markets, this is not a bear market that was like four years ago. This is a completely different bear market and I know as well, I know people who came into the crypto space in this bear market, they don’t see this. But in the last bear market, it was really quiet. Nothing was really happening. I could work for a day with nothing new coming up.


Now, in this bear market, for me it feels like working in a bull market, well the last bull market because so many things are still moving. So many interests that people don’t see. So many new technology projects, innovation, enterprise getting more adopted. Enterprise is building out their web3 branches just to be there at the moment they are there or they need to be there.


All those kinds of things are happening now. And this is something that I see now is, in the beginning of this bear market or during the last bull market, we were isolated. Everyone was conservative about their ecosystem. Now in this bear market, everybody is like, “Okay, we can’t do this alone. This is not possible anymore.” We can’t say, “We are the best or we have the best or we are the best blockchain or we have the best users.” No, we need to find a way of having that interoperability and that working together.


And this is something that we now see by building out our L2 with SSEVM. We are doing this as well together with Polygon Labs while we have our L1 one that’s built with Substrate. It’s different, but we are utilizing or using each other’s strengths and trying to find a better way for this adoption to come in.


And we talk with enterprises and they say, “Oh, you have an idea of a project, a big brand.” And they indeed say, “We want to tap into that crypto-native scene. We want to tap into that community. We can’t do this on our one on Polkadot.” They want to have this on the Ethereum communities because there’s where, I would say, the oldest, [inaudible 00:45:57] and those communities are active and so on. They want to tap into that thing.


And this is where we found out, “Okay, just having an isolated change that we had in the beginning with our L1 on Polkadot, this will not really work. We need to expand our tech stack by offering the choices.” And it’s not about being the best, but it’s about who you’re talking with and they see the value in you, so they will build on top of you and they will use the Polygon liquidity or they will use the Polygon community or the Ethereum community. Or they will use cross-chain execution of smart contracts with Solana. I don’t know what’s possible, but everything can be done and this is where we need to go with where the projects is building on top of you. But the users can use the whole blockchain industry without even know about connecting everything together.


And this will also be one of the powers that I think The Graph is in this frontier line as well by thinking about this, by knowing that Google is the dominant chain for getting all the data available on the internet. We need to have something that has all the information available and all the ecosystems as well for the data.


So we need projects or we need toolings that can aggregate all that data and can provide us so we can offer the best solutions or build out this new innovation. This is where =, for us, The Graph is one of the essential parts of building out this stack stack with us.

Nick (00:47:30):

I want to ask you a couple of follow-up questions about The Graph, but maybe before we get there, just a few questions about Astar community and Astar Foundation.


You mentioned Astar Foundation previously and I think we’re getting a little bit of a sense here of what the community must be like, but for listeners that are more interested, talk to us about what Astar Foundation is, what you’re working on and what can you tell us about the community?

Maarten Henskens (00:47:53):

So the main purpose of Astar Foundation is the maintenance of our networks, is regarding making sure that we have all the integrations available or talking with the major partners to have the integrations there for our builders, making sure that we have the toolings available for everything that can be built on web3.


And we also are in control of our assets and making sure that the tokenomics is well-maintained. Everything is in order to make sure that there is a solid and a secured blockchain available for everyone. This is what the foundation is focusing on and the community site as well.


And we also have another entity. The other entity is called Startale Labs. They are focusing on enterprise solutions, building out products, proof of concepts, working more the infrastructure layer, providing those kinds of things, is more like an advisory tooling web3 cloud services that another entity of our group is doing. And then the foundation is for focusing on the blockchain or our chain itself as well, the community.


Our community is very diverse. We have a big Japan community of course. And it’s also because of our narrative. And we have a great passion of community in the sense that they are very loyal, not only through the technology that we are building but also very loyal to what we are doing in the next step because they know that they also have a voice. And this is something very important, like I said as well, as for being a teacher. I think something that is very needed is that listening part. And in web3 we see that in the feedback part.


If we have a new feature or something new, we always have bounties available for communities. Test it, give feedback, make it better, improve it. What’s missing? How do we see? Because we are working on this day and day, night. So we only look at the code, we don’t see the bigger picture and that’s where the community comes in. They see the bigger picture, they see everything working together. And this is very important for web3, the UI, UX part.


You as a builder, you know where to click, you know what to do next. But if you are a new user, you will not know. So you need to understand this new feature that is coming, or this new product that we are building out. You need to know what you’re going to do without asking questions. And this is very important for us, this feedback from community and getting the community involved.


We do regular community calls. And besides of the community, we also have a very active ambassador community. We meet them every three weeks. We have a big Zoom call where I’m there, the founder is there, we have our CTO there, we present them new features, we tell them, “We would like to bring this out. Can you guys test this out? Can you guys see what’s missing?” They already shared, they do it really nice.


You get a UI DAO who goes through everything. They get huge feedback to our frontend engineers and UI team. They improve this. With this improvement, we go to the community. They can still test this out on our test net. They should have again feedback and then we say, “This is ready for the main, or this is ready to go as a proof of concept to a product that we are building or through an enterprise proof of concept as well. So they are there to support us for the whole road as well. And this ambassador community is also very well. They help us a lot. They organize our local community events all over the world. They are very passionate about us. They know that we always listen to them as well.


That’s why we have the call with the ambassadors, with our founders. They just speak up. They say what they felt like. They say, “We saw in the Indonesian community, we felt that this was, when we worded on Twitter, we felt like a little bit of discomfort with this.” We give this to our marketing. Our marketing will see this as well. They will improve for the next time. So getting this kind of feedback from off The Graph, it’s so important too to keep improving as well.


So this sets our community or we see our community as very valuable and I think other ecosystems are doing this well. And this is something that everybody could do, not only to get the trust from your community, but also it gives more than trust because they see that you are doing a real thing that will improve the next future as well.


And they trust you with not only their personal investment in your token in some kind of way as a retail investor, but also they trust you that what you are doing will improve the general adoption of web3. And this is something that we always say to our community and always say to our ambassadors, “We are here for… This is our vision. We are not here for a certain amount of our prize. No, we are here really with this vision.” Every step that we take, even though it’s something that you would say, “I don’t believe this will work,” this will be just a small part of the bigger vision that we have.


For instance, when we announced that we were going with an L2 on Ethereum, we had some Polkadot maxis as well in our ambassador group. They were like, “Why are you doing this? You are betraying us.” And so on. And we told them as well, “No, this expansion of our tech stack, this is part of our bigger vision. If we see a demand from builders or from projects or from enterprises, where we know we can meet them by doing certain steps, we will take that because we want to achieve the mission and the vision that we have set for the long-term. And this small step of expanding our L1 to an L2 with Ethereum, is part of this big vision.”


And when you explain this vision and you explain why and with everything that has been discussed, t’s not something that is discussed overnight, but it’s discussed for months, more than a half year before even bringing it to you. This is well-prepared with a strategy and with a vision. And the moment you share that with your ambassadors, they still stay with us. They were still like, “Wow, this makes total sense. You guys are spot on.”


And even though they were like a Polkadot maxi in a sense, they now became more like a believer in what we are doing in the general terms of the industry. And I think this is also very important. And this breaks us well out of this isolated thing and let them see the bigger picture and not only this small investment that they have.

Nick (00:54:53):

As I mentioned at the beginning, we’re talking today because Astar, at the time of this recording, is in the process of being added support on The Graph Network.


Can you just take us back to the original thinking from the team there behind why pursuing support on The Graph Network would be important to the builders and users of the Astar Network?

Maarten Henskens (00:55:17):

Yes. So we have been talking with The Graph team I think for more than two years already, but now we are finally in the way of this integration. I can also explain why it didn’t happen in the last two years. It is very simple because of, like I said as well in this podcast, we are presenting ourselves as a general smart contract platform. And also The Graph needs to figure out, “Okay, you guys are new. You are just a general smart contract. What will also help bring the value to us if we index you, okay, we do everything, but we see no traction? What is the value for us to providing this much resource?” Which makes sense. Absolutely, totally agree because everybody needs as well to run their business.


But now with coming to L2, coming with those enterprises who we have lined up, coming with those proof of concepts we have created, coming through the deals we have closed, we really need this type of integration. And this is something that we also shared with The Graph Foundation and with all the people that we talked with. And they immediately saw, “Okay, this makes total sense. This is the vision that we need. This is the direction that we need and this is something that we need as well too. Or The Graph needs to be there to support those demands and those needs.”


And this is where everything was like fast-forward and moved very fast as well. And this is where The Graph became now more of an integration that will be coming to our main net on our zkEVMs. The Graph itself is a very crucial component in the web3 ecosystem. Like I mentioned before, as you have Google as a data aggregator with this valid data aggregator for all the ecosystems as well out there, and The Graph are still being the most reputational Indexer that there is. And also the most adopted one as well in this industry. And this is also very important, this adopted one, because people like to go with something that is well adopted in this industry, not something that is new. Sometimes it might be better, but it doesn’t mean it will be adopted.


For instance, I can give you an example. I had a call with one of our DevOps engineers two days ago and I told him, “Can you create a subgraph in our test net? I would like to test things out. We have a project. Test this out.” And he was like, “Oh, but I never touched The Graph.” I was like, “Okay, no worries. Just check the documentation. Let me know if something is wrong. If you have questions, I can connect you to one of the engineers.” And I’m not kidding, four hours later he had everything up and running. And he said, “It’s purely because of the documentation, the editorials. We have community support. Everything can be found. I didn’t have any error or didn’t have any while compiling. There was no error whatsoever.”


This already proves that it’s adopted or it’s there for the adoption, because engineers doesn’t need to ask questions. It works. Boom. The moment you start going through the tutorial or going through the step-by-step guide. And that’s what it should be. And this is something that we also try to do as well with our documentation, with what we are building as well.


And this is something that we see as well when we are talking with new people who are coming into web3 and having partners like The Graph where we know that when they check it out, they know what to do without asking support of us or for us getting somebody assigned to them to get things figured out. And we have seen this a lot in the past as well, even with us like, “Come build with us.” And then they start building with us, but it took us more than a week just supporting them with a dev to get things built out. This is not how it should be because this is not how you get this adoption that we want.


So having partners like The Graph is like a crucial component for us. It’s a crucial components for the next applications that are coming. It’s a crucial component for the next innovation that is coming as well. And with The Graph always following the latest strengths and the latest innovation as well, to be there at the moment it’s needed, just gives us so much trust in this collaboration and partnership as well.

Nick (00:59:50):

Maarten, for any listeners that want to learn more about Astar Network and Astar Foundation, what are the best places to go to and dig into that community and get engaged?

Maarten Henskens (01:00:00):

The best thing to go is just to our website, We have an explanation of our tech stack, how it looks like. We also have a very great block session that is focusing on education, is focusing on trends in web3 in Japan. If you are interested in this, we put regular posts out there.


We do as well, we start now as well with the Korean trends because we are also very active in Korea. We have all the links there to our socials. We always share the latest news as well on our Twitter or X. We have a link to our discord. You can always join our community. We are always open to welcome any new community member, even if you’re interested in even becoming an ambassador. That’s also a way of how to become this one and be part of this unique group of passionate people, not only for Astar, but passionate people about the blockchain technology and passionate about the adoption of web3 and bringing all those millions of people into this space. So that’s the best place for users to go.

Nick (01:01:09):

Maarten, I’ll put some links in the show notes. So for any listeners that want an easy source for all this information, please visit the show notes.


I only have one final question for you before I ask you the GRTiQ 10. And this question is a circle back a little bit to you and your story. You’ve been a teacher, you’ve been a bike mechanic, you’ve been interested in wine and build expertise in wine. And now you’re working in web3.


As you look back at your diverse background, your educational pursuits, your professional pursuits, do you use all of that knowledge and expertise you gained in the work that you’re using in web3? And if so, how?

Maarten Henskens (01:01:51):

I would say, absolutely. I think every part of what I did in the past made me as I am now today. I’m always challenging myself. I always have a goal that I want to achieve. I always go for that goal. And I think more and more people should just believe in their capabilities of achieving something. I think, find the right person who can push you and be there with you and support you, whatever you do. And I think a lot of things can come through and a lot of things can make your goal in life achievable.


And I think people should just follow more, and not just follow more like what you want to do, but more challenge yourself. And it’s something that I always do to myself. I challenge myself to do things, like I’m now Head of the Foundation, but I still feel, for myself, I still lack business expertise.


I did a lot of things in the past to get my business at a certain point, but I still feel I miss certain things. So that’s why now I challenge myself to just try to get admitted for an MBA and try to achieve this, which I now achieved. And now a new challenge starts by getting this expertise from experts and getting this expertise from people who has been in the business scene for so many years. And how I want to learn from them and I want to adopt this and improve or adjust it towards web3 space and try to improve myself, my personal growth. I think this is something that more and more people should do and challenge themselves in trying to grow yourself as a person more.

Nick (01:03:42):

Well, Maarten, now we’ve reached the point in the podcast where I’m going to ask you the GRTiQ 10. And these are fun. These are 10 questions I ask each guest of the podcast every week. It’s just another opportunity to get to know the guest a little bit more, to see the human side of web3 if you will. But I also ask them in hopes that listeners can learn something new, try something different, or achieve more in their own life. So Maarten, are you ready for the GRTiQ 10?

Nick (01:04:18):

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

Maarten Henskens (01:04:22):

I saw that question, and this is a question that I couldn’t answer in the sense that I’m not a reader. I like reading research papers to educate myself, but saying that a certain research paper had an impact on my life, I couldn’t answer that because every paper that I read that is in the interest that I want to understand, has a certain impact on what I’m doing.


So I couldn’t find a real good way. I’m not a reader. For instance, I went on a vacation with my wife and I bought The Fourth Turning. I don’t know if you know that book. It’s about the history in the US and how it always repeats. And I was like, “Oh, I really want to learn this. I really want to understand what they’re saying with those cycles.” I went like 10 pages and then I just stopped and went out and drank some wine with my wife. I think that was more fun than reading the book. So yeah, I’m not a reader so I couldn’t say, “Read this.” Just read your interest and do it for the research to improve your knowledge about certain things, is what I would say.

Nick (01:05:40):

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

Maarten Henskens (01:05:44):

I have two favorite movies that I watch 10 times, or even more. And they’re very close to each other regarding when it was released, it was in the ’90s. One was Dangerous Minds. This is of course regarding teaching and being there in that classroom. Like I said, with diversity, not any day is like the same as the day before. I think this replicates my life as well. I see a lot of those ambitions in my life that I do so many things. I like so many things that I think this one is one of my favorite.


And also my all time classic, Forest Gump. And I had a recent podcast with somebody as well and he also told me, “What kind of movie would you compare Astar Network with?” And I said like, “Forest Gump, a 100%.” Why? It’s in crypto, compare it with that quote of, “Life is like a box of chocolate. You never know what you’re going to get.” That’s crypto. And also how he’s chasing his dreams, doesn’t give up, speaks out to truth, be transparent and just goes through life like this. I think this is, for me, my favorite movie of all time. Forest Gump.

Nick (01:07:04):

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

Maarten Henskens (01:07:10):

Also, a difficult one. I had two, but let me just stick with one in this sense. It’s an album. I also got the LP in vinyl. It’s with Chet Baker and Bill Evans. I’m not so sure if you know it. It’s called the Legendary Sessions with those two. I really like Chet Baker. I also like Bill Evans on the trumpet as well, and Chet Baker and that combination. It’s only instrumental, but I can listen to that all day. It makes me at ease. It calms me down, gets me to work. I’d say listen to that album, again, with a glass of wine and it’s so good. So if you like instrumental music with trumpets, just Chet Baker and Bill Evans, a 100%.

Nick (01:07:57):

Maarten, what’s the best advice someone’s ever given to you?

Maarten Henskens (01:08:01):

This advice was coming actually from my father. He always said to me, “Try to improve the lives after you.” I know that I came from a very… We were hustling a lot back then with my parents and those kinds of things. He always said, “Try to improve everything for the person next, after you as well.” He did everything for us, as a child. I have no complaints about my childhood. It was the perfect childhood I can imagine. Even though we didn’t have much. But for me, that time I enjoyed so much.


And he always said, “Improve.” And I always remembered that I always wanted to be improving myself. And I think, yeah, make sure you leave a mark. And this is something that I wanted to do. And it doesn’t mean leave a mark in the world, but even in your family, leave a mark. Give something to improve the people next to you. And this is something that I really… This is my goal as well.

Nick (01:09:05):

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

Maarten Henskens (01:09:12):

Meet yourself. And like I said, I was a long distance cycler. I did a competition. It was from Florence, Italy, all the way to the North Cape. It was around 4,000 kilometers. I did that in two weeks together with a friend. And it was like we did an average of 400 kilometers a day, and we slept two hours a night at the side of the road or in a hidden garage, or somewhere in a restaurant, somewhere under a blanket.


And during that cycling moment, I met myself more than once, like really three times. I really reached my boundaries. At the moment, this for me now it stops, but still you had to push forward because you were in the middle of nowhere so you couldn’t stop. And meet yourself in some kind of way. It can be a lot of things, but try to challenge yourself and meet yourself. You will learn so much about yourself. And you will always feel at that moment you reach that boundary, there is always that extra thing that you can do. And the moment you realize that that’s possible, I think this will change something. And people should do this.

Nick (01:10:25):

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

Maarten Henskens (01:10:28):

I don’t have a life hack, but what I always do is I dance a lot. But with dancing I mean if you feel down. My wife knows this. She hates it when I do it, but I just go down to the common are, and then I just start doing silly dance and just enjoying myself and let everything out. And it makes me happy afterwards. And it makes me feel good. And she also sees it and she sometimes joins or just laughs at me. I don’t care, but it makes me so happy. And later on I got the motivation back. I start working again. I feel motivated, back at ease. I would say just dance. Even if you’re not a… I’m not a dancer, but I like to dance and stupid dance. Just do that. That’s a good life hack.

Nick (01:11:19):

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

Maarten Henskens (01:11:30):

I think I mentioned this a couple of times during this podcast, is challenging yourself. I think a habit that you should have or correct, or something that you need to do more in your life, just try to challenge. If it’s meeting your boundaries or challenge yourself in understanding a certain technology or challenge yourself in even understanding a certain recipe to create a new meal. I think just challenge yourself and just do it. There is no, even if you fail, it even will learn you something.

Nick (01:12:04):

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

Maarten Henskens (01:12:12):

The unknown.

Nick (01:12:14):

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

Maarten Henskens (01:12:20):

Cycling Out of Context. I’m not so sure if you’re familiar with, Out of Context things, those Twitter things that give a lot of things, Humans Out of Context, and Football Out of Context. Cycling Out of Context, if you like cycling, I love those gimmicks and tweets that are coming out. It’s always funny.

Nick (01:12:36):

And the last question, I’m happiest when?

Maarten Henskens (01:12:40):

I’m happiest after a new experience.

Nick (01:12:52):

Maarten Henskens, thank you so much for joining the GRTiQ Podcast. It was a lot of fun to get to know you. And I really appreciate the introduction to the Astar community, what Astar Network is, how it works. And then this recent news related to The Graph, I know a lot of listeners will find that very interesting.


If listeners want to stay in touch with you, follow the things that you are working on, what’s the best way to do it?

Maarten Henskens (01:13:15):

Thank you for the opportunity, Nick. Reach out to me on X, on Twitter, my handle is HenskensM. Always open for any discussion or connection. Always happy to connect with passionate web3 enthusiast in this space, so please reach out.


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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.