Daniel Keyes Pinax EOS Nation Canada Crypto Web3 The Graph Indexer Validator Web3 Delegator

GRTiQ Podcast: 160 Daniel Keyes

Today I’m speaking with Daniel Keyes, Co-Founder and CEO of Pinax, one of the core development teams contributing to The Graph. If you’ve been following the podcast, you may remember our interview with Matthew Darwin from Pinax last year. Now, I’m thrilled to welcome Daniel to the podcast and explore his background and the work of the Pinax team.

In our conversation, Daniel shares insights into his early career in broadcast journalism followed by a decade in the banking industry. We then explore his journey into the world of crypto, his transition to full-time work in web3 and the genesis of Pinax. Along the way, Daniel provides valuable perspectives on the initiatives being undertaken by the Pinax team, his vision for new data services at The Graph, including discussions on Firehose and Substreams and how they fit into that, and the recent blog post on Ethereum’s EIP-4844 and blobs.

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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.

Daniel Keyes (00:17):

We believe that The Graph is a protocol that’s positioned to be able to serve. Rather than just being one ecosystem, it serves all of the ecosystems. No matter which blockchain is successful, The Graph is in a good position to be able to serve whichever ones are.

Nick (00:35):

Welcome to the GRTiQ Podcast. Today I’m speaking with Daniel Keyes, co-founder and CEO of Pinax, the core development team contributing to The Graph. If you’ve been following the podcast, you may remember our interview with Matthew Darwin from Pinax last year. Now, I’m thrilled to welcome Daniel to the podcast and explore his background and the work of the Pinax team. In our conversation, Daniel shares insights into his early career in broadcast journalism followed by a decade in the banking industry. We then explore his journey into the world of crypto, his transition to full-time work in web3 and the genesis of Pinax.


Along the way, Daniel provides valuable perspectives on the initiatives being undertaken by the Pinax team, his vision for new data services at The Graph, including discussions on Firehose and Substreams and how they fit into that, and the recent blog post on EIP-4844 and blobs. As always, we start the conversation talking about Daniel’s educational background.

Daniel Keyes (02:05):

Yeah, happy to talk about that. If you don’t mind, I’ll talk a little bit about my informal education as well as my formal education, which I think is probably what you’re more looking for, but I think they’re both equally important. My educational background goes back to when I’m a kid. I was fortunate to live in a house. My dad was an entrepreneur and he was an early pioneer in the web2 world, had a internet marketing company, and it really started for me when he brought home our first computer, really early Macintosh when I was a young kid.


We were probably one of the very few households at the time who had a computer. That really captured my attention very early. I was blown away by this thing and what you could do with it, and the power of being able to create stuff out of nothing that other people will actually use and find useful again from a very young age. All the information that we had at our fingertips with a few keystrokes, really blew me away. That was fostered from the time my dad got me my first book on how to develop HTML and showed me how to look up the source code of a website.


I started hacking together my own little websites and creating little… My first company, my first entrepreneurial experience was as a young kid creating a flyer on KidPix or shoveling driveways, and then later getting a little more sophisticated and building my first website for a little business to scan photos and digitize photos for friends and family. Very early on, kind of getting my small business experience as a child. Over time, I discovered that I’m not a strong developer. I don’t consider myself a developer now. By the time I was in high school and getting ready to choose what I want to do in university, I knew that okay, I love creating things.


I’m not the strongest developer, but I can write pretty well. I decided to pursue education in journalism and I applied for Ryerson University in Canada, in Toronto. It’s considered the top university for journalism in Canada. I was very surprised that I got accepted because my grades weren’t top-notch. I was kind of an average student in school, and this was a really difficult school to get in. You needed a portfolio. It wasn’t just grades that determined whether you got in, so I think I got in on the essay and the portfolio that I put together over the grades. It was a great, very hands-on program where we learned.


They trained us from start, from scratch, how to write. I remember my first assignment in my first day of journalism school where they sent us out to go interview 10 people on the street and come back and write an article and submit it by the end of the day. Everybody’s assignments came all completely red ink over everything. Basically, they taught us whatever you learned in high school, that’s not writing, we’re going to retrain you how to write. So I learned a ton about how to write well. Eventually, I majored in broadcast journalism, so I learned how to use a camera and how to book an interview and how to edit and find a story.


The reason I got into that, it was again, my desire to create something that could make a difference in the world. I was very passionate about the truth and the stories that were to tell, and I wanted to pursue a career that was not your typical nine to five desk job. I wanted to kind of have a life of adventure, and I thought that journalism was a good opportunity to be able to create something meaningful while going out and exploring the world and having an adventure.

Nick (06:22):

At this stage in your life, you’ve got early interest in tech, your father brought home a computer and started teaching you and you taught yourself coding. You’re also a little bit of an entrepreneur at a young age, for sure. Then you end up pursuing broadcast journalism, at least in your formal education studies. At this stage of your life, what are you envisioning your career to look like? What do you intend to do with that degree?

Daniel Keyes (06:45):

When I got into journalism, I fully intended to pursue a career in journalism. It wasn’t long. I got my bachelor’s of journalism at Ryerson. I completed it. I did an internship at one of the big Canadian broadcast global TV. I was working for their morning show briefly. What I discovered was that it wasn’t cut out to what I was looking for. This whole idea of being able to go out and have an adventure and create something meaningful, I was discovering was not so possible, at least not as someone entering the industry and trying to make a living.


It was subject to a lot of the same… Anyone who has experienced a corporate job, you’re kind of stuck doing what you can sell, what the company wants to be created. And so instead of going out and changing the world, I was writing articles about what Beyonce was saying on Twitter and not getting paid very well for it and working crazy hours, and discovered that if I really wanted to achieve what I wanted to with a career in journalism, it was going to take me a very long time of long hours of doing things that I didn’t find meaningful before I would get to a point where I might achieve what I was looking for.


I decided that there was probably a faster way to get what I was looking for than through that path. I ended up not pursuing a career in journalism after I graduated.

Nick (08:20):

When you think about the state of journalism, and I don’t know how familiar you are or listeners would be with the state of journalism in the United States, but we now have these monikers like mainstream media and great suspicion for some of the media that maybe past generations really relied upon. What’s your opinion on the state of journalism in the world right now, especially in this conflict of political, social kind of geopolitical tension?

Daniel Keyes (08:45):

I would say a lot of the criticism is warranted. I’m not sure that it’s a new phenomenon. I think people are becoming aware of the lack of truth in journalism today, that again, these large mainstream media corporations are there to make a profit. Making quality journalism is expensive and it doesn’t sell as much as some of the cheap garbage you can produce much easily, clickbait. So it’s as a business trying to make money. It’s understandable that a lot of these large mainstream media corporations aren’t pursuing the highest truth, but rather the stories that sell and that can capture eyeballs and attentions.


Again, I don’t think this is necessarily something that’s new. It’s perhaps maybe amplified over time with online journalism and competition with all the other sources of media out there. It’s perhaps escalated. But again, going back to when I was studying journalism, this was very early in when I was at Ryerson when I joined, it was the first time ever they had an online journalism course that they created because it was just sort of becoming a thing. But already back then, again, I was becoming jaded by this reality that seeking truth and great journalism wasn’t the priority, which is unfortunate, but I guess kind of understandable given the incentives in the system that it’s operating in.

Nick (10:34):

You mentioned after university you went to work in the field of journalism and had that aha moment of maybe it’s time to pivot and do something else. What did you do next?

Daniel Keyes (10:46):

The first thing I did when I graduated was buy a Greyhound bus pass, two month bus pass and a backpack, and traveled across Canada and down the western United States with my cousin and a wild group of people we found along the way. That was an amazing experience. Spent all my money until we were literally sleeping in parks, and on the beach, and eating rice and tuna from a little cooker we brought. Got back and was like, “All right, well…” And it was lucky I had a two-month bus pass because you can just show up at any Greyhound bus station, show your pass and sleep on the bus and wake up in another town. That would sometimes be our shelter when we were in too seedy of a neighborhood that we’ didn’t want to sleep under a bridge.


And so, we managed to have a great time, learn a bunch about the world from that perspective, and got back and just needed a way to make some money. That’s when my career in banking started, started at the very bottom. I just started applying for some jobs that I found through some online job postings. I got a job at GE in the call center doing customer service. That’s kind of how my professional career started, literally taking calls, raising people’s credit limits, helping them answer questions about why they got a charge or what their interest rate is, or “What? You mean I have to pay for this thing. I thought that credit card was for free.”


That was a lot of learning about people and customer service and quickly working my way up through various roles. I started again in customer service. Turned out, I was pretty good at sales. We were selling credit card insurance at the time. It was so good that they made me the sales coach pretty quickly, revamped the whole sales process for the call center. A little later, Capital One purchased the portfolio that I was working on and there was a big conversion going on, and so we had to convert all of the systems from GE to Capital One. There’s going to be a ton of work for the call center in retraining all the staff on how to use the new systems and understanding how to apply the processes from the old systems to the new systems.


I was, again, young, ambitious. I had only been working there for maybe a couple of years by this time. A lot of the more senior people were doing this for a long… The trainers for example, “That sounds like too much work. We’re going to bow out.” And so, they needed someone to train the call center on all this stuff. I was like, “Oh, I’ll do it.” I raised my hand and I got the gig, and that’s when my more corporate experience started. I got my first experience flying on a private jet. They sent me over to Richmond where the Capital One head office was to work directly with the engineers there to figure out how do we translate the processes that we’re following now onto these new systems and document it all.


Yeah, so that’s when I started experiencing that. That was a success. We trained the call center. We converted everything over to Capital One. Then my next opportunity that came about was to actually move over to the corporate office. I started as a project manager working on the Capital One website, helping to manage the process of deploying updates to the Capital One website, working with the tech teams there and the business team and getting new campaigns out, new products listed on the website, things like that. Then eventually worked up to become a product owner in their digital messaging products. That was kind of around close to a decade I spent over time all these different roles before I discovered Bitcoin.

Nick (15:05):

We’re speaking today, Daniel, because eventually you go on to launch Pinax, and listeners that are acquainted, but The Graph will know that Pinax is one of the core dev teams working on The Graph. Before we get to that story and how you became aware of Bitcoin and interested in crypto, I want to ask you about that time you spent in banking and traditional finance. What did that experience teach you or what did you learn about business working for such large multinational firms?

Daniel Keyes (15:34):

A lot of what I learned there was, there’s an analogy that you can apply to what I learned about participating in the legacy system versus web3, I could say, in that working for a large corporation, I mentioned earlier, a big part of what drove me in my goals, in my career was the desire to be able to create something that people would find valuable that would have an impact on the world. One of the things I found working at large multinational companies is yeah, some of these companies were doing great things and having an impact on the world, but as an individual working in one of these companies, it’s very difficult for the work you’re doing to have an impact on the outcomes.


There’s a lot of red tape, a lot of legal considerations, business considerations, and you can be working on a project for many, many months on something that you think is going to be great with a team of folks for again, many months, and it just never gets launched or it’s way slower than it should be to get it launched. When you’re someone who you’re looking to make a difference fast, that can become very demotivating. I found myself on one hand very comfortable. I had a nice paycheck and I didn’t have to worry about… I was secure, but I found myself bored and not feeling that I was contributing anything meaningful to the world.


I think that’s the way a lot of people feel in, again, for lack of a better word, the legacy system where maybe you want to make an impact on the direction of your country and you get involved in politics, but very soon you find out that as an individual trying to make change in the world, the legacy system works a lot in a lot of ways like these big corporations in where they’re entrenched and slow and it’s impossible for an individual to make a difference and to have much say over how they spend their own time because you’re kind of stuck doing what’s allowed, what you can earn a living doing, and you end up feeling like there’s a lack of meaning in your life.

Nick (18:10):

Then let’s go back to what you described first encountering Bitcoin. It was during this period of your life that you become aware of Bitcoin and something sparks your interest. Take us back. What was your introduction and what were some of those first impressions?

Daniel Keyes (18:26):

From a very young age, I had a very strong passion about the principles of freedom. Again, I was very interested in there being a world where people can pursue the best versions of themselves unencumbered by all these things we were just talking about, how sometimes it’s not possible or very difficult to have two opposing ideologies coexist peacefully. Instead, the best system we have now is democracy, which is better than anything else, but at the same time can be this sort of tyranny of the masses. I was aware of the issues with central banking. I was following the Austrian School of Economics and things like that.


When I discovered Bitcoin for the first time… Again, I’ve had some experience with politics both through my time in journalism reporting on it. Again, another thing I learned from my dad was he’s gone through the whole… He’s a city counselor now. He’s attempted to make a difference at the federal level and at the provincial level, and watching that and him spinning his wheels there taught me some things about the futility of making an impact there. Then when I learned about Bitcoin, it was for the first time I saw a technology that really empowered the individual to be able to make a difference and pursue something that was, again, meaningful to themselves in a way that couldn’t be prevented.


Bitcoin was one in terms of the monetary system, a way to preserve your wealth and transfer it without relying on someone to tell you you can or you can’t. Going back to some of the problems we talked about with journalism and truth, we didn’t talk much about social media, but that’s sort of tied into that whole thing. After discovering Bitcoin, the next thing I discovered was the concept of social media on a blockchain. The first encounter I had with that was a platform called Steam It, which was if you’re with Dan Larimer, he was the creator of EOS. EOS was his more recent cryptocurrency that he created. Steam is a social network on a blockchain. It’s now evolved. There was a fork, it’s called Hive now, you might be familiar with it.


I was amazed by how a blockchain could incentivize the creation of value anywhere in the world with very little resources. Folks in Nigeria were basically earning a living writing articles on this social network. I saw this and I was like, “Wow, this is the future,” a platform where the individuals creating value get to benefit from the value that they’re creating and they can work on whatever it is that they want to and find an audience that finds it valuable and get rewarded for that without relying on some central third party to anoint or give that person permission to write on that thing and get rewarded for that thing. It was through that where then again, I discovered the work of Dan Larimer, I discovered EOS.


Again, I was working at Capital One at the time and I just sort of went down that rabbit hole and started hosting Pub Nights in Toronto to talk about EOS and just kind of really just geeking out all in sort of my off hours.

Nick (23:21):

For listeners who have listened to your colleague Matthew Darwin’s interview who joined the GRTiQ Podcast last year, they’re familiar that one part of the Pinax story is EOS Nation. It started there. You’ve introduced this idea now of how you got interested in Bitcoin and then you came across EOS. Take us back to 2018. You decide after a decade of working in the traditional finance or legacy system, if you will, to go to work and launch EOS Nation. What was EOS Nation and what was the original intent of starting that?

Daniel Keyes (23:59):

EOS Nation is what you call a block producer in the EOS ecosystem. Your audience may be more familiar with the term Validator. And yeah, this was really just a wild experiment at the time. I mentioned that I had started hosting Pub Nights in my city in Toronto just so that I could… I was just so interested in this technology and its potential, and I just wanted to talk to people about it. I was actively participating in forums on Facebook again locally, and just through that met my co-founders. There’s seven of us, Matthew being one of them, but we have a really awesome team of co-founders who are still with me to this day after more than six years.


It really was just this, “Hey, EOS is launching. They’re going to need block producers. We all really believe in this technology and what it’s going to do. You guys want to start a block producer?” I was like, “Yeah.” I knew that I wanted to have a part in this, what I saw as a revolution. And so this looked like an amazing opportunity. The people I met were all very aligned in my vision of where we wanted to see the world going. Again, it really just started as a side project. I was continuing to work at Capital One for a while until it got to a point where it was like, “All right, I’m going all in. Time to quit my job and go full-time EOS Nation.”

Nick (25:31):

Let’s talk about that decision. You go from the comfort, and as you said, low risk environment of corporate environment to entrepreneur. That’s a lot of risk. Walk us through that decision. I mean, you clearly had seeds of entrepreneurship as a young person and tell us about what that decision was like.

Daniel Keyes (25:49):

It was definitely a challenge, hard and not hard at the same time. The part that was not hard was by this time I was convinced on the potential of web3 and that this was a future and that I wanted to play a part in it. Really, the only hard part was that giving up the comfort piece. Luckily, I had a little bit, I didn’t have a ton of savings, enough that I could take some risk, that I could live for a couple of years very modestly if things didn’t work out. I thought that it was worth it to, “All right, I’m going to quit this cushy job.”


Worse comes to worse, I can get another job if this thing doesn’t work out and I’ve got some runway to pay the bills in the meantime, but this might be a once in a lifetime experience to again really find that thing that I’ve been looking for since I was a kid, to create something that makes a difference in the world and actually play a role that I feel like I’m making an impact in that. In that way, it was very easy. I would say overall it was easy.

Nick (27:08):

What’d you learn about the nature of entrepreneurship by making this move?

Daniel Keyes (27:11):

There’s a few things. One thing is it’s not… Well, I just said it’s easy. Making the decision was easy, but it’s not easy. Again, you have to be willing. Especially our company was completely bootstrapped. Seven co-founders 100% self-funded this operation, and crypto being as volatile as it is, you go through good times and you go through very rough times. We have to be willing to work very hard for no money for extended periods of time. That’s challenging, tiring, a lot of work.


But at the same time, the most fulfilling meaningful work you can do in your life. If you have the means and if you’re young… Obviously it’s not for everybody. If you have a family you need to feed and not a ton of money saved up, entrepreneurship might not be for you and maybe you have a perfectly fulfilling life. I didn’t have a family at the time, and I know a lot of people can find fulfillment in just the simple raising a family. But I was looking to find fulfillment through creating something else. Yeah, so it’s difficult but incredibly meaningful.

Nick (28:37):

You’ve mentioned a couple of times that after you’ve taken a role or went to work in an industry, that you eventually see it for what it is and realize that this isn’t going to do exactly what you had hoped. In the case of broadcast journalism, you realize that there’s a lot of things behind the scenes that sort of lock that idealistic vision you had of what you could do in that field. Same with traditional banking, you realize that that might be a little difficult and the work you were doing wouldn’t have the impact you wanted. The question is, in relationship to your move into web3, how soon into the field did you realize “This checks the box. This is something that’s going to enable me to do those things.”?

Daniel Keyes (29:16):

Again, going into it, I was convinced of it. I would say over time, one of the things I actually learned, I don’t want to be overly idealistic, web3 isn’t perfect in its current state. It has actually a lot of the same challenges I’ve noticed. I went into it with this idea that this is the silver bullet. It solves all the problems to find that actually lot of these entrenchment… A lot of stuff can happen In web3 too. A big difference for me was I found myself in a position where I felt like I could make more of a difference, and I think that’s true of individuals participating in web3 have more power to change the direction of things. Again, so I would say even before I decided to pursue this as a career, I was convinced that web3 was something that can change the world, was a revolution.


And now six years later, I’m still convinced, but I would say rather than me becoming more convinced over time, I would say maybe I’ve tempered my expectations and found that we can’t just decentralize everything, blockchain’s going to be the answer. We still need to be diligent as participants in web3 ecosystem to craft really something that does continue to live up to that promise.

Nick (30:52):

As I said, we’re going to talk about Pinax in a minute here. We’re talking about EOS Nation now, your first entrepreneurial venture. If you go back and think about two or three lessons that you learned about entrepreneurship, things that you could share with listeners that have the same vision or ambition to becoming an entrepreneur, save them the hassle and the heartache of learning them on their own, what are those lessons that you would share?

Daniel Keyes (31:12):

I would say the two most important things, at least again, in my experience, I said how hard it can be and how it can be long periods of time of something that you have no idea if it’s going to be successful, especially financially. So one of the most important things is whatever you’re doing, to be something that you really believe in. Because if you don’t believe in that thing, you’re going to give up way before you reach that point of being able to find success. I would say it’s probably a rare exception that an entrepreneurial pursuit finds success immediately.


I think what a lot of people don’t talk about or what a lot of people who aren’t entrepreneurs don’t see, when they see successful entrepreneurs, they see the tip of the iceberg of the point they became successful, but what you don’t see is all the long years of hard work that led up to that success. To be able to withstand that long hardship, you need to really believe in what you’re doing. The second thing is you need a team or a support group that can help get you through that, a team that aligns with that vision you’re trying to pursue, what you’re trying to achieve.


Again, in my case, I’m very lucky to have seven co-founders that were all very much aligned and willing to come along that journey with me. If it wasn’t for that, I don’t think I would… Going back to that decision I had to make to take the leap of faith and quit my cushy job and pursue this, if it wasn’t for the fact that I had seven co-founders there to do this with me, to have my back, I don’t think I would’ve made that decision. If I didn’t have, again, these seven co-founders who in the tough times we could pull together our resources and withstand some of the hard times, times where we would just stop paying ourselves so that we can afford to pay our employees. Not something that I would be able to do by myself, I don’t think.


Yeah, again, a lot of people, when I tell them seven co-founders are like, “Wow, there must be a lot of conflict there. I’ve never heard of a company with seven co-founders. That’s crazy.” But honestly, it’s I think maybe one of our biggest strengths, one of the things that got us through some of the toughest times in some of the lowest markets that we got through, because we did it together.

Nick (33:46):

As I mentioned, you eventually found Pinax, which is launched in May 2022, and I’ve had the great opportunity of interviewing Matthew Darwin previously, but for listeners that didn’t hear that Episode, do you mind just bridging the gap of how you went from the work you’re doing at EOS Nation and launching Pinax?

Daniel Keyes (34:06):

Pinax is really just an evolution of EOS Nation. You can almost think of it as a rebrand. It’s the same team, and it was a bit of a pivot to expand our horizons beyond the EOS ecosystem. EOS Nation is right in the name, very focused on the EOS ecosystem. Again, we started as Validators, but that even within the EOS ecosystem, our role evolved over time. We were fortunate to, if you know your audience probably is familiar with StreamingFast team, their story parallels ours in a lot of ways. They also started in the EOS ecosystem as a block producer called EOS Canada, and we are fortunate to have had the opportunity to work very closely with them in the EOS ecosystem.


They had created a technology called Dfuse, which is a blockchain indexing solution, which we have a team very strong in operating this kind of technology. We were really the only operators of that technology within the EOS ecosystem. Again, as your audience may be familiar with StreamingFast team took that technology Dfuse, and it’s now what is known as Firehose and Substreams powering The Graph. Pinax basically is born out of this realization and opportunity we needed to branch out beyond the EOS ecosystem with a new entity to support our evolving mission to help support this new Firehose Substream technology for The Graph.

Nick (35:46):

When did you first become aware of The Graph? Take us back then to when you were introduced to the protocol as an opportunity as you described there, and what your initial impressions were of the protocol and the problem it was trying to solve.

Daniel Keyes (36:00):

It was again, really thanks to the StreamingFast team that it came on my radar that really got kind of this almost this red carpet laid out in front of us. They blazed the trail by creating this technology and getting the support of The Graph ecosystem that this was going to be a key pillar of The Graph. It was thanks to them that we got invited to participate in The Graph and it started small as operating the Firehose Substream technology to support it as a data service on The Graph. Through that, we have to obviously start figuring what is this Graph thing and is this worth our effort?


What we found was a protocol that again, I think was something that was needed for the ecosystem and something that could help solve some of those issues we talked about earlier in the show around the what is truth and who is the arbiter of that? The Graph has this potential to be… It’s already a staple as an indexing technology, but has the potential to be so much more than that. The more we learned about it, the more that we saw was it was a huge opportunity that we wanted to be a part of, that we wanted to participate in what could potentially be a revolution in how data is organized.

Nick (37:31):

Not dissimilar to other stories within The Graph ecosystem, Pinax’s interest in The Graph matures into becoming contributors, you’re attending Indexer office hours, you spin up your own Indexer and eventually you become core dev team at The Graph. What are some of the focuses that Pinax brings to the table or initiatives that you’re focusing on in that role as core dev?

Daniel Keyes (37:55):

Yeah, so there are two big ones, well, maybe there’s three big ones. The first one is in our involvement in the chain integration process. We are helping to provide infrastructure to enable new blockchains getting integrated as data sources on The Graph. So, working directly with some of the core teams behind various blockchains, hosting infrastructure required, contributing to the technology and primarily Firehose Substreams doing the testing and contributing to the code to make it easier for developers to run in various blockchains.


The second key pillar to our contributions I’d say would be in helping to bring new data services to the network. Again, started with Firehose Substreams and again, with our focus on operating that tech stack and how to make it easier for other Indexers to be able to operate it and how to make it easier for developers to leverage that technology by developing things like libraries and examples and things like that. Which sort of ties to our third thing is call it educational and promotional content. We do a lot of blog posts, videos and examples, sample code and things like that that we share and open source for others to leverage for their own purposes.

Nick (39:18):

I’m sure a lot of listeners have seen that content. I encourage them to follow Pinax after the Matthew Darwin interview. Recently, Pinax launched The Graph Espresso, which is these cool videos on YouTube that again, I encourage listeners to check out. You can look at the show notes for links to some of that content. When you think about the origins then of your work at EOS Nation, going to work at The Graph, obviously the foundation is in being a Validator. Now you’ve expanded that role to be a core dev and you’re working on a lot of important initiatives. But for listeners that maybe haven’t caught the vision quite yet of how important Indexers are at The Graph, and given that so much of your efforts are for that community, what can you tell us about how important Indexers are for The Graph and the vision that is kind of shared in terms of The New Era?

Daniel Keyes (40:09):

Yeah. Indexers I would say are critical to the success of The Graph ecosystem and to the success of the concept of decentralized data in web3. They’re the participants who are actually the ones running the infrastructure and providing the data for developers to access in a decentralized way all around the world. They’re what makes it possible to not rely on a single centralized third party to provide that data because we have this network of contributors all around the world providing that service.

Nick (40:47):

Because of the unique perspective you have of working so much with the Indexer community, but also being a core dev and working so much with other core developments, do you mind just taking us behind the scenes a little bit about what those communities are like, the things you’ve learned about the Indexer community, for example, or what it’s like working hand in hand with other core dev teams? You mentioned StreamingFast, of course, but there’s a host of others that I’m sure you’ve had some coordination and work with.

Daniel Keyes (41:12):

Yeah, it’s amazing. I mentioned the importance of having a strong team. You can think of The Graph ecosystem as this meta team of teams who again, all very passionately working towards the same vision and who all believe very passionately in that potential of that outcome, all very smart, all very talented, and friendly and helpful. In one way, you can think of individual Indexers as competing with each other. They’re all trying to win at providing the best service and maximize their success.


We had the same term within the EOS ecosystem called coopetition, where while you’re in one way competing with each other, the incentives in place in the ecosystem make it so that you’re all better off if you’re helping each other. One of the things I’ve learned that seems to be working within The Graph ecosystem and the Indexer community is just incredibly helpful, you go into the Discord server and ask a question and people are happy to help you, no matter how ignorant. You can be brand new… From the first time I joined the ecosystem and this was all brand new to me, there’s never a point where I felt scared to be seen as asking a stupid question or something like that. It’s people are just there to help you get better so that you can help make the whole ecosystem better.

Nick (42:48):

I mentioned a moment ago The New Era, which is the name for The Graph’s new roadmap, and inside of that there are the promise of new data services coming to The Graph. So something beyond GraphQL and Subgraphs. You mentioned that part of what Pinax is contributing is helping work and stand up some of those new data services. At the time of this recording, we haven’t heard the news or there hasn’t been an announcement about a new data service yet, but The New Era has a lot of promise including initiatives like Graph Horizon. So if you think about The New Era, you think about new data services, you think about Graph Horizon, do you have any opinions or thoughts on this bold, ambitious vision for the future of The Graph?

Daniel Keyes (43:28):

It’s very exciting and I think critical, I think to the success of the ecosystem. Subgraphs were an innovation created within The Graph ecosystem, and we’re seeing adoption from developers as well as from competitors. You’ve got big centralized providers who are now taking that subgraph technology and offering it alongside their own centralized offerings like RPC and other data services. I think one of the things I learned participating in the web3 ecosystem is things don’t always succeed. I mentioned sometimes decentralization for decentralization’s sake isn’t necessarily going to be the winning strategy.


So yes, The Graph is decentralized and there are centralized providers that are centralized, but a lot of the mainstream market is not so concerned about decentralization or centralization, and they’re just looking for great reliable service and they want to go to one place to get all the services they want. They want their RPC, they want their subgraph, they want their LLM, name your data service, and they just want to pay with a credit card and get it reliably. I would say that’s 90% of the population. In order to be able to offer that kind of experience, The Graph is going to have to evolve to be able to offer more and more types of data services for more and more data sources.


It can’t just be Ethereum. We need to provide data for all the blockchains that all the developers want to access because if we don’t, someone else will. Whoever does that is going to win. I think we’re in an interesting opportunity here. The fact that through The New Era and Horizon, we’re enabling this permissionless marketplace where anybody can stand up a new data service, integrate a new chain, and we have this diverse community of participants, if we incentivize it correctly and get the right pieces in place in time, it’s going to be very difficult for any centralized provider to keep up with the pace of innovation that an ecosystem like that can deliver just being faster than anybody else at bringing online more blockchains, more data services, and providing a great experience to the consumers.


If you can hit those three things, you’ve got the complete package and it can have the potential to make a real impact on the needs of developers.

Nick (46:08):

Clearly, the Pinax team is incredibly capable and talented smart people, so you could probably choose your own future in a lot of ways. You got started at EOS Nation, now you’re working on The Graph. I guess my question is the conviction for The Graph and sort of why you’ve decided to place the proverbial bet on the future of The Graph, but how would you explain where that conviction of the team comes from?

Daniel Keyes (46:33):

I would say it’s a combination of our unique skillset, the opportunities that presented ourselves and our alignment with the vision and goals of The Graph. We really believe in the future of web3. We really believe that the future is going to be multi-chain. We believe that The Graph is a protocol that’s positioned to be able to serve. Rather than just being one ecosystem, it serves all of the ecosystems. No matter which blockchain is successful, The Graph is in a good position to be able to serve whichever ones are. Again, we all feel passionately about the fact that to enable real adoption, we’re going to need a way to serve. We need to make the user experience for developers much easier and more reliable, and we think that The Graph is in position that can be a critical part of that puzzle.

Nick (47:33):

Daniel, a lot of listeners will be familiar with Firehose and Substreams. They’ve been talked about for a very long time, going all the way back to when StreamingFast joined as a core dev team. I think listeners might get a little confused when it comes to new data services and what is meant by adding Firehose or Substreams as a new data service. Because again, it seems like they’ve been around forever. Can you kind of clarify that or what’s different in a new data service type environment for these two things?

Daniel Keyes (48:01):

Today, the only data service you can access natively on the network is a subgraph and Firehose and Substreams, you might be familiar as a technology that Indexers use to help power their subgraphs. You can have a Substream-powered subgraph and an Indexer to be able to do that would need to either run a Firehose themselves or they can use a Pinax Firehose directly from Pinax, but there’s no way today as a data consumer of The Graph to get access to a Firehose or a Substream, or name your data service, directly from The Graph.


So bringing new data services on The Graph and making it permissionless to do so means that in the future, in addition to being able to pay query fees with your GRT token to access a subgraph, you’ll be able to do the same to access a Firehose directly, either to run your Indexer or to build a dapp that leverages just the Substream, or again, name your data service or imagine the data service that hasn’t even been penciled into any roadmap yet. The New Era and Horizon is going to make it possible for anyone to deploy whatever new data service they imagine and make it part of this graph marketplace.

Nick (49:23):

If listeners want to learn more about Pinax and the team and some of the initiatives, and maybe you can mention a few that you’re excited about, but what’s the best way for them to learn more and stay up-to-date on some of these things?

Daniel Keyes (49:34):

Yeah, follow us on Twitter or X, if you want to call it that. I’m still having a hard time switching over. Follow Pinax Network on Twitter, check out our blog, Blog.Pinax.Network or just go to Pinax.Network and you can check it out. I mentioned we are working on bringing new data services to The Graph. In the meantime, as those data services are being in the early stages, you can access them directly from us, our Firehose and our Substreams. We’ve got endpoints that we’re hoping to enable Indexers make their jobs easier by providing the infrastructure necessary for running an Indexer or for developers who just want to access a Firehose or a Substream directly.


You can find that again at our Pinex.Network. In terms of the latest stuff we’re working on that maybe you want to keep up with, blog posts coming out soon on The Graph about some of the work we’ve been doing on saving the blobs. That’s the latest exciting thing we’ve been contributing to in support of making it cheaper for roll-ups to post transactions to Ethereum and making sure that that data remains forever.

Nick (50:47):

Daniel, you bring up an important recent announcement related to EIP-4844, which is all about these blobs you mentioned there. For listeners that don’t know, this is an Ethereum proposal for a way to store packets of data, I guess, and preserving and scaling the network and The Graph becomes a viable solution for that. Can you just talk a little bit more about The Graph’s role helping scale Ethereum through an example of something like EIP-4844 and blobs?

Daniel Keyes (51:16):

Again, I think The Graph has a well-positioned great opportunity to serve the world and the web3, and for now, their data needs. EIP-4844 presents a unique problem. It solves something in making roll-ups more scalable by making it cheaper for roll-ups to post to Ethereum. That comes with the downside though of that history is only available for a limited period of time. I believe it’s 18 days. We have the technology to be able to save that forever. We have the building blocks right within The Graph, and this solution that the Pinax team came up with to save the blob data is based on Firehose.


We take a Firehose, load all the data, and we can create a subgraph on The Graph to preserve that history going back to the beginning of the chain for anybody who needs it. I think this is a great opportunity for The Graph to be able to fill in all the missing pieces of the truth of the blockchain for all, be the archive of the knowledge of web3 and potentially in the future beyond web3.

Nick (52:33):

For listeners who want to learn more about EIP-4844 and blobs and what The Graph plans to do, you can visit the show notes for a link to that blog. So Daniel, now we’ve reached a point where I want to ask you the GRTiQ 10. These are 10 questions I ask every guest every week of the podcast. I do it because I just feel like these questions help us get to know the guests a little bit better, but I also think listeners that are paying attention can learn something new, try something different, or potentially achieve more in their own life.


Daniel, you ready for the GRTiQ 10?

Daniel Keyes (53:03):

I’m ready. Let’s do it.

Nick (53:14):

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

Daniel Keyes (53:18):

The Bitcoin white paper.

Nick (53:19):

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

Daniel Keyes (53:23):

I’ll say South Park.

Nick (53:25):

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

Daniel Keyes (53:29):

That’s a really hard one. I’m a music nerd. I have a very wide selection of taste in music that changes depending on the mood I’m in. Whether it’s Queens of the Stone Age, Songs for the Deaf, Smashing Pumpkins, Melancholy for the Infinite Sadness, Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Gogo Bordello Gypsy Punks, Man-Man’s on Ani Pond. Really hard to pick. This may be a little bit of a cheat because if I had to pick one, I’d go with Scratch Bastards, The Entertainer mix tape. He’s one of my favorite local DJs and he’s got a bunch of great mix tapes. The Entertainer, in particular, I’ll pick because it’s got a nice wide range of music, everything from Otis Redding, to Lou Reed, to Jay-Z. It’s something you can play for any occasion and in any scenario.

Nick (54:32):

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

Daniel Keyes (54:34):

Something that my dad told me many times since I’ve been very young that I find holds true to today is 90% of success is just showing up.

Nick (54:44):

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

Daniel Keyes (54:49):

I learned how to walk across a slack line.

Nick (54:52):

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

Daniel Keyes (54:55):

Long walks and plenty of sunlight.

Nick (54:57):

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

Daniel Keyes (55:08):

Consistent, sustained effort over a long period of time.

Nick (55:12):

Then the final three questions of the GRTiQ 10 are complete the sentence-type questions. The first one is, the thing that most excites me about web3 is?

Daniel Keyes (55:20):

Its potential for enabling a world with truth, love, and freedom.

Nick (55:25):

Then this one, if you’re on X, formerly known as Twitter, you should be following?

Daniel Keyes (55:29):


Nick (55:30):

Thank you for that. And lastly, Daniel, I’m happiest when?

Daniel Keyes (55:34):

I’m happiest when I’m spending time with my loved ones, ideally out in nature with some good music playing on in the background.

Nick (55:50):

Daniel Keyes, thank you so much for taking time to join the GRTiQ Podcast, and as I’ve mentioned, I’ve had the good fortune of interviewing Matthew Darwin, and now you both members of the Pinax team doing incredible work at The Graph and making a lot of contributions that a lot of listeners will already recognize. If listeners want to follow you, Daniel, keep in touch with the things you are working on and some of the things you’re interested in, what’s the best way for them to do it?

Daniel Keyes (56:13):

You can follow me on X, Daniel Keyes. I recently got started on Forecaster. I’m not terribly active on there, but who knows, maybe we’ll see where that goes. You can find me @Keyes there. Those are probably the two best places.


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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.