GRTiQ Podcast: 164 Ariel Barmat

Today I am speaking with Ariel Barmat, Vice President of Engineering at Edge & Node. Ari has been featured on the podcast before during Ep. 105 where he joined as a panelist to talk about The Graph’s move to Arbitrum.

I first asked Ari to come onto the podcast two years ago! At the time, I noticed that the depth and intellect behind Ari’s  Forum and Discord posts were distinct – he’s a brilliant person.So I am thrilled to have this chance to interview Ari and to shine a light on his story. As you will hear, Ari’s got a unique understanding and experience with technology. He’s also an OG, having gone to work on The Graph in the early days.

During this interview, you will hear Ari’s journey into web3, his perspectives on the early days of Graph, his vision for the future of the protocol and what he’s most excited about, and so much more!

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



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

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

Ariel Barmat (00:17):

That’s very exciting. The other thing that I find exciting is how we are redefining the meaning of the usefulness of data.

Nick (00:56):

Welcome to the GRTiQ Podcast. Today, I’m speaking with Ariel Barmat, vice-president of engineering at [inaudible 00:01:02]. Ariel, or Ari, as he’s known, has been featured on the podcast before during Episode 105, where he joined as a panelist to talk about The Graph’s move to Arbitrum. I’ve been eager to have Ari on the podcast for quite some time, recognizing the depth of his knowledge and intellect from his many contributions in The Graph forum and Discord.


And it’s my pleasure to finally have him here to share his story. And as you’re about to hear, as an early contributor to The Graph, Ari offers many unique perspectives on its development and future. During our discussion, Ari will talk about his journey into web3. He’ll reflect on the early days of The Graph, and discuss his vision for the future of The Graph and web3. As always, we begin the discussion by talking about Ari’s educational background.

Ariel Barmat (01:50):

Well, I studied computer engineering at a university in Buenos Aires, Argentina. That was a long time ago. But I got interested in computer since I was really young. I studied that because it was the closest thing to actually work or do something with computers, but it was also interest in economics. When I was 12 years old, I was insisted a lot to my father to buy a computer. And since he bought that computer, I got deep into that rabbit hole. At first it was basically using games and playing games, and trying to see what I could do with that. That turned into actually modifying the games and working with some basic computer languages. But it was an interesting journey.

Nick (02:37):

Ari, if we go back to your 12-year-old self, you said you got interested in computers very young. How would you explain what your fascination or interest was with computers? You said it started with games, but was there something more than that? Did you feel like there was something more to it?

Ariel Barmat (02:53):

I wasn’t sure, actually. I was exposed to computers the first time when I was going to play at friends places and they had a computer. I had computers at my school, but they were not PCs, there were these oldest computers that were very basic. When I was going to some friends’ places, I started playing some games, interacting with copying some discs. I’m not really sure why, but I got really excited about it. I think it was because it was something interactive. I got attracted by that, I could do something and get a response pretty fast. That got me into that rabbit hole.

Nick (03:36):

As you mentioned, you went on to university to study computer engineering. When you started university, what was your vision for your career? What did you want to do professionally?

Ariel Barmat (03:46):

It’s funny, because I didn’t have a lot of clarity. My approach was, I like doing things with my computer. At that time it was at high school and it was already programming some games, and a small software to browse images, do some things that I asked my friends to install and play. So I was using computers for fun. I clearly wanted to go to university, and I saw that in a natural path you study and then you work in a way. But going to university without any clarity, the thing that is more closely related to programming is computer science. So I’m going for that career and see what happens.

Nick (04:28):

During university, did you come across any of the things that you now associate with web3, things like distributed systems, blockchain, anything like that?

Ariel Barmat (04:37):

Not blockchain, but distributed systems. One of the thesis I did in third year of university was about this protocol called Gnutella that is used for distributing files across multiple systems in a distributed way. We also collected some data about different trade-offs from different systems that we’re using for file sharing. And it’s one of the fundamental pieces of [inaudible 00:05:02] blockchain. A blockchain is a combination of that with other things. Yeah, I was exposed to some of the components of a blockchain, but at that time I wasn’t even thinking of the possibilities. As we see with AI, many of the components in a blockchains are very old technologies that had been kind of refurbished and put together in a different way, which created something amazing. But at that time, maybe nobody saw that combination.

Nick (05:29):

Tell us what you did after university. You graduated. And how did you get your start professionally?

Ariel Barmat (05:34):

When I was at that university, I was already doing some freelance work, small software for different clients or people that needed someone to code for them. But I had my first, I would say, serious software development role to a telecommunication company. I joined that company I think on the last year of university. It was a very interesting experience. I think clearly that one of the first experience that you have in your career affects a lot what you do next. But at that time, this telecommunication company was dealing with some issues related to Argentinian financial crisis in 2001. At that time, in Argentina, there was a deep bag of the US dollar to the peso, and many of the companies went into defaults. They couldn’t pay the debts, denominating dollars. So this telecommunication company was using a lot of providers from the US, one of them was Cisco. And they couldn’t pay for the equipment they needed anymore.


They were not used to doing software, they bought whatever they needed for the network, but they created this division to do software to replace what they couldn’t buy, using open source. I joined the company to work on that team, which was amazing, because we’re creating technology using open source with Linux and other things. That what they are replacing big components of the network. That gave me the opportunity to do things end-to-end. From devising how to actually replace something that was existing but very expensive using open source, contributing open source code. Buying servers because we have our own data centers, deploying all the hardware in the data center. Things to end-to-end from designing a solution to doing the hardware, to doing training to the operations. For me, it was an amazing experience, and I think it set the future of things I did after.

Nick (07:36):

As somebody who went through that crisis in Argentina around 2001, and I’ve had other guests on before that have been able to talk about their own story and experience, do you mind just shedding a little light for listeners that may not be familiar? What was it like going through that? And what did you learn as a result of that experience?

Ariel Barmat (07:55):

I was very young, but my experience was, you can’t actually trust the banks. One of the things that happened during that financial crisis is that banks, along with the government, took the savings of people. Denominated US dollars and gave them the local currency at the worst rate. That made me not trust in banks. The other thing is, at that time there was a high unemployment, so it was very hard to… Even being a software developer, it was very hard to get your first experience. I had to do a lot of little things to actually get into the market. Being scrubby, try to help people and get the first experience was very hard for me, but it was part of the environment. Remote work was not a big thing. Those two things were the biggest, experience in unemployment and the other thing is distrust to government and the banks.

Nick (08:52):

You mentioned that your work here informed how you would approach your career. And as you said, generally speaking, it’s probably true for young university graduates their first job shapes and forms the trajectory of their career. You were working on things like buying servers, a lot of end-to-end work, looking in open source. Was this more about skill development and you built skills that you would use for the rest of your career? Or was this more ideological, it changed the way you thought about software and networks? Or both?

Ariel Barmat (09:26):

The main thing I learned is you need to do all kind of things to shape something. My experience was not like, okay, I’m going to code some piece of software and that’s it. It went from designing and trying to find a clever solution to make something work, for no money actually, with a few resources. And something that was pretty expensive to buy. So being clever in how to use the resources, that was one thing. The other thing is actually needing to do whatever it takes to ship that. That meant design, coding, thinking about the performance, the hardware, and then training the people that will operate. And then giving support. I had to do it end-to-end, and I think that was something that helped me when I was a founder, because I had to do the same things, adding maybe a few more related to fundraising and managing a team. But it was a first good experience for me.

Nick (10:34):

Well, let’s talk about that transition. After working at this telecom company, you start working as an entrepreneur and you launch a couple ventures, and this accounts for almost a decade of your career. You launched your first entrepreneurial venture in 2007, and it morphed or pivoted into another venture in 2010. Tell us a little bit about that experience. What were you working on, and why did you decide to take that move or that risk in become an entrepreneur?

Ariel Barmat (11:04):

It was around 27 that I was already playing with mobile devices. Before the iPhone, Nokias, Motorola. I always experimented with the new things. I was working in this telecommunication company, but I still played with the latest technologies. At that time, that company assigned me a phone that I could use for emergencies, to be on call. But I saw that the phones were getting better and better. First it was only a keyboard, then it was my new phone was something with a screen, black and white, then a color screen. So it was getting better and better. And I was working with my then co-founder. We decided in 2007 to resign and start working on applications for mobile devices. So we set up a company that was focused on software, basically making software for mobile. And trying to sell it to different marketing agencies or other clients that needed applications on mobile.


At that time, it meant a lot of preaching, trying to say, “Okay, this is going to be the new place where people will be using applications.” And it was very fragmented, so it was a big challenge. There were no common programming languages for basically coding on mobile. But we did that for a few years. That was my first experience as a founder.

Nick (12:34):

What did you learn from that experience?

Ariel Barmat (12:36):

At that time, we were selling through other intermediaries. We were sending technologies to marketing agencies, which was very hard to not own the client. And we learned that we didn’t want to do that. Owning the client or the user, having the relationship with the users and the clients is something that you want to have. It gives you better way to improve the products, and you have also a direct connection. So even if we started that company sending our services through others, we then pivoted that company into something else, which was a broad company. Was a bigger risk.


In fact, we saw the launch of the iPhone, and then we were very excited about some capabilities that these new phones were bringing, like the GPS and wifi. So we pivoted this service company into something called Weegoh, which was a social network. But a special type of social network which was a kind of a mobile-first social network. We was letting you check into places and share with people around. We did this version as, I would say, at the same time that Foursquare was launching in the US. So it was the Latin American version of Foursquare. We run that product for maybe two years, or maybe a bit less. We were trying to raise some capital in Latin America, it was very hard. But that was another, I would say, advice. If you want to raise capital, you need to go to where the capital is and the investors are, I would say typically Silicon Valley.


Now the world is a bit more connected, but at that time, 2010, it was very hard from Latin America to raise capital. So we run that project for maybe about two years, and we pivoted that project, we weren’t getting enough traction. We pivoted that into an [inaudible 00:14:36] called Oony that was discount aggregator that we’re letting you know where you have products and discounts around you. It was a long journey, a very rough journey, but eventually we made that company to be profitable, which was a great thing.

Nick (14:56):

If you look back at your entrepreneurial experience and you had to carve out one or two characteristics that make for a successful entrepreneur, what do you think those are?

Ariel Barmat (15:07):

There was a ton of books about this, right? But working hard is important. It’s very difficult to get around working hard. You need to put many hours into what you’re doing. That’s why you need to love what you’re doing, because you will be working many, many, many hours. Yeah, working hard is one. Another one is grit. You will be facing so many existential crisis on the way that you’ll need to find a way to solve them. Sometimes I think of that like the seasons in a series, like you have in a show. You have these end of seasons where you need to face an existential crisis. You get over that and then you continue and there’s something else in the next season. That happens multiple times. You need to be able to [inaudible 00:15:59] a lot.


And the other thing is be comfortable with the constant uncertainty. If you are doing something new, probably is very risky, you are inventing along the way, so that creates anxiety. And you need to be comfortable dealing with that for the long journey. That means many years. That’s another attribute that I think is important.

Nick (16:23):

If we go back to your personal story, we’re around 2016, maybe 2017. If we pause here and think back to when you first became aware of crypto. Do you know when that was? And can you tell us what that circumstance is, what your initial thoughts were?

Ariel Barmat (16:40):

I think I became aware for the first time in 2013, I had a friend that was mining Bitcoin at home with a GPU or something. We tried installing the client, he sent me a transaction and we play with it. And I was reading about that because, again, I’m involved in technology, looking the latest things that are happening. Yeah, I read about Bitcoin, I think 2013. I was very busy with my startup, so I didn’t get involved in doing a lot of things. I regained contact 2014, I read the white paper and I thought it was amazing. I read it the first time in 2013, but I didn’t finish processing it. In fact, I think I read it every year and I got a better understanding of the thing. I’m talking about the Bitcoin white paper.


By 2015, it was a very hard year at my startup, we are facing some challenges related to the viability of the business. We have a drop in traffic. So that year we tried to turn the business around and doing some changes, but we couldn’t. So we ended up with a decision of shutting down the business in 2015. I have, for the first time in many years, a lot of free time to explore new things. So by 2016, I will say, I got deeply involved in crypto. And it happened naturally. I was exploring AI and crypto at that time, playing with both. And through a group of friends I got in contact with a founder that needed a CTO. I had my first opportunity to work full-time in crypto.

Nick (19:32):

Clearly, you have a lot of knowledge and understanding about software, computer engineering. At this point in your career you’ve worked a lot on all of these things and developed some expertise. How would you explain to a non-technical person how someone like yourself who, again, seems to be on a pretty good career track, becomes interested and then passionate about crypto? Why? Why would someone like you make a move like that?

Ariel Barmat (20:05):

First of all, it’s technically interesting. If you’re curious and you read about how this works, is intellectually attractive. So that’s one aspect. The other aspect is something I told you before, I was interested in economics. I read a lot about currency, the meaning of currency, how we coordinate society, the role of money in an economy. And considering all the things that I’ve seen in Argentina about financial system breaking down, et cetera, inflation, Bitcoin was a technical innovation that create a new currency. Then we have this debate if it is a currency or not because of some properties, but it was kind of a currency. Or assets.


I got deeply interested in that. And the concept that got my interest is the self-custody. You could be your own bank. You could be using Bitcoin or crypto without trusting any counterparty. I would say that was very attractive considering my experience and what I’ve seen trusting banks and trusting counterparties. And what I’ve seen, the financial system breaking down from the inside, got my interest. I would say I got involved in crypto through Bitcoin, but I then saw it was much more. Particularly when I read a lot about Ethereum and how it wanted to use the same properties that a blockchain has for general computation, doing any kind of program in a way that is trustless.

Nick (21:43):

As you mentioned, you went full time into crypto around 2016/2017. And in 2017 you joined Decentraland. Longtime listeners of the podcast will remember that I was fortunate enough to host one of the co-founders of Decentraland, Esteban Ordano, back in 2022. If you don’t mind, can you just share the backstory of how you went to work on Decentraland and what you did there?

Ariel Barmat (22:09):

That was around 2017. I was leading this project where I was the CDO, this crypto project that we were part of, Boost VC, that it was an incubator in San Mateo, in California. As I told you before, my intro to crypto as working on a project. When I was working on that project, I was co-working or being close to Esteban and other people at Decentraland. So, we talked. They asked me to help with some things. I started helping them with some smart contracts, working with the launch of a marketplace product for NFTs that we’re creating.


And it was very exciting because there was a lot of different technical challenges, how to parse all that information and show it in a UI in a easy way. There was no guidelines about UX, how to manage transactions easily for users and all that, so we had to invent a lot. I was nomad at that time, I was travel in different countries. So I joined and started helping Decentraland remotely, and started helping organizing and coordinating, I would say part of the initial team that work on the dapps.

Nick (23:29):

When you make this move full-time into crypto, and as you said in 2013/2014 you start reading the white paper, you become interested in the technology. You keep revisiting it and thinking through what the implications are. Then in 2017, you’re working full-time, you’re working at Decentraland. Are you realizing that this was a great move? Do you feel super excited about your career and what you’re working on and have that aha moment of “this is exactly where I belong”?

Ariel Barmat (23:59):

I have this curiosity about the new things, and basically playing with new technology. That’s a big driver for me. But at the same time, combining that with self-sovereignty, being able to own and use your assets in any way you want was very powerful. And bringing that to people in different ways was very attractive. Working at Decentra was a mix of also another passion, which is games. So we’re combining games or social experiences, which I created the social network that I told you before. So it was combining different aspects of things I like: games, social, and crypto and ownership. That meant that I felt it was checking many boxes of things I liked. At the same time, I was part of the initial team that was basically building this from scratch. Because I also have a founder experience, it felt very natural to me. That’s matching many of the skills and the passions I have.

Nick (25:11):

And I think it’s probably safe to presume that you first became aware of The Graph while working at Decentraland, or did it happen before?

Ariel Barmat (25:19):

Yeah, when I was working at Decentraland, 2018, we were building this marketplace for NFTs. Our first approach was to develop this UI that show you the different lands parcels. We were creating the RTC nodes, the Ethereum nodes directly. But it was super slow, so we had to create an Indexer backend so we could show that information faster. In 2018, there was this event in Argentina called Ethereum Buenos Aires, that many projects from different places went there. And I think one of those purchase was The Graph. We got into contact with Yannis.


We had this own Indexer running for I think one year. We was working very well, but at the same time we had to manage a lot of things like reorgs, and basically correcting data based on changes in the blockchain that we didn’t expect. So it was a lot of maintenance. At some point, as The Graph launched the host service, we decided to hold our own Indexer into using The Graph. We ended up using The Graph as a backend for the marketplace, and still today it’s using the software for that.

Nick (26:41):

Well, in another step in terms of career, in 2020 you move from Decentraland and go to work on The Graph. What’s the back story there?

Ariel Barmat (26:51):

2020, Decentraland launched the public version of the Metaverse of the world, the client that you could use to navigate the world. I was thinking about maybe exploring starting a project. I wanted to take some time to think about exploring new options. It was very fast, actually. After a month I met Yannis and Brandon, and they told me their idea of creating this decentralized network for indexing. They told me something like the backend for web3 couldn’t be owned by a single company, and the idea of creating this network of Indexers. And for me was very interesting.


I felt that the goal for The Graph was really sus. I wasn’t sure actually what their plans were. And when they told me that, I thought it was a very interesting challenge. It was really not easy, you need to invent a lot of things to get there. And I didn’t know anyone doing that exact same thing. And since we are using The Graph at Decentraland, I knew it was powerful. It made life of developers very easy when you need to maintain all of these backends for different apps. So I decided to join the project and [inaudible 00:28:11] we get.

Nick (28:12):

2020 was early days for a lot of people. When it comes to The Graph, clearly the founders were working on this for longer than that. But if you don’t mind, can you take us back in time and talk to us about what it was like going to work in early 2020 on the team that was building The Graph?

Ariel Barmat (28:32):

It was interesting times. It was the middle of the pandemic with everything lockdowns. Strange times. I didn’t met the team physically for more than a year. I was working remotely, and I didn’t interact with the team at an office for a long time. It was a small team. Each of us was doing something very big. We were really focused on the mission. I think it was a year that we achieved a lot, combined with a lot of focus, but there were not many things to do apart from coding. Everything was closed, et cetera, so it was a hyperproductive times. But that combined with the mission, I think we’re very focused. I really enjoyed that time.

Nick (29:20):

Did you catch the vision for what The Graph could become, the potential of the protocol in those early days, or were you just heads down and to focus on what was in front of you to think about that?

Ariel Barmat (29:31):

I think I was heads down. My initial mission was around a decentralized backend for anything blockchain data, but it can be much more than that in a way. [inaudible 00:29:46] he has a big vision for The Graph. She’s the one that expressed the vision in a very good way. When you are talking about data, it’s not only about serving data. It’s about, is this data truthful? How is the data going to help coordinating society? You can think about money as data. Today, money is a record on a database. In a way, Bitcoin is a way to track that database. So you can think of data as a powerful instrument to coordinate society. If you think The Graph as a project that deals with data and try to expose that data in a way that is trustless, is censorship-resistant, is available, permissionless, those are good properties for coordinating a society on top. It can be much more than I thought initially, which was this decentralized backend.

Nick (30:48):

As listeners already know, that initial team that went to work on The Graph, which you were a part of, eventually spun into a core dev role. So now there are, I believe, seven core devs working on The Graph. And you went with the edge and node team. Which, again, is that original team. What was it like working on The Graph early on and then spinning into a core dev role?

Ariel Barmat (31:14):

I would say that it was quite transparent, but the main difference is scaling up the team. We went from a small team, maybe 12 people, to 60. That creates new challenges in terms of ensuring that you have a good culture. Growing. People that were in some initial roles growing to new roles, helping new people to onboard. I think challenges had been more on that sense than becoming a core dev. The other thing is having many core devs means that you are not a centralizing force. Right, Nick? There are many voices. To push some change, it means that your idea needs to go through the eyes of many, which helps making that idea more robust. But at the same time, it means more cycles. Spending more time on review process, on ensuring that your idea is passing the review of different people with different views. I would say that’s the main difference of being many core devs. In terms of the governance of the project, there is no single entity owning and deciding the fate of everything.

Nick (32:29):

As you think back to going to work on The Graph in February 2020, and you forecast forward four years of growth in the community, in the protocol, the addition of more core devs and so forth, what has that experience been like for you personally to see that growth and that evolution of something four years ago?

Ariel Barmat (32:52):

What I see is there’s so much bandwidth in the ecosystem of… I mean in terms of capabilities, there are core dev teams that are adding expertise in AI and cryptography, some core dev teams doing new indexing stacks. There’s core dev teams with good experience with client software and ensuring that the developer experience is amazing. It basically adding a ton of different capabilities. That’s great. It’s also a big group of people working on a goal.


Four years ago, it wasn’t very clear to me how the ecosystem will evolve. Now we can see it. Apart from the core devs, I think that the role of Indexers and the many DAOs that are out there, having more than 100 or 200 Indexers is incredible. Each of them are people running their own hardware with different setups, some of them cloud, some of them buying their hardware, some of them at home. Plus the DAOs, builders DAO, InfraDAO, advocates. All these people are helping users out there. It’s a big ecosystem that has its own life, and in a way, you can’t control everything. It’s people that are discovering new use cases, they’re creating on the edges of the [inaudible 00:34:19] all the time. Four years ago, it was very easy to see everything that was happening. Today it’s more difficult.

Nick (34:26):

How has your vision for what The Graph is or can be, how has it evolved since 2020?

Ariel Barmat (34:36):

I think it’s evolving in, as I said before, our data. Data meaning not just indexing or organizing that blockchain data, but also meaning so many other things. Making sure that the data is verifiable, that you can use that data for other purposes such as trading. Trading AIs, for example. You want AIs to be fed by data that you can trust. There’s so many different use cases. The protocol has been evolving too. It started as a system that can provide security to basically indexes our graphs, which is the main function. But now it’s adding new capabilities. The protocol is extending to be something that can incentivize multiple data services. So you could use a protocol to secure organizing and serving data through NNMs or RBC data directly, or files that you can prove that it’s verifiable, and then you can basically fetch the different files directly. There are so many use cases around data, which initially was about everything was revolving around subgraphs.

Nick (35:59):

When you think about the next four years of The Graph, what’s got you excited? What are some of the major themes that you’re thinking about and excited to see what happens?

Ariel Barmat (36:10):

One of them is the evolution of the protocol that it’s named Horizon. To me it’s very interesting to follow because we released the first version of the protocol, which is successful in terms of all the different participants that it attracted. But now with this new iteration, we are proving multiple things. One is that the protocol can actually iterate, but the other thing is it can expand the capabilities to other use cases. So that’s very exciting.


The other thing that I find exciting is how we are redefining the meaning of the usefulness of data. It’s not about just providing an API to query your entities for your dapp. It’s much more. It’s redefining data as a source for probable AIs. It’s redefining data as a way to coordinate society. So organizing that data is important because it’s going to lead to better results. It’s expanding what it means to make data available, to ensure that it’s truthful, that it’s censorship resistant. All around data. Yeah.

Nick (37:23):

You’ve been writing and interested in AI since 2015. There’s been a lot of discussion, and it seems like the core devs are working on some super cool things as it relates to AI and The Graph ecosystem. From your perspective, how will the story of AI and The Graph change in the coming years?

Ariel Barmat (37:47):

I wrote about AI, I think in 2015, when I was playing with some models on my startup. We were at that time categorizing tying different products and discounts into different categories for e-commerce purposes. Yeah, I was playing with some models and I was thinking about the impact of AI. And at that time I watched this video from Andrew Ng, one of the founders of Coursera. The first course that he created was about machine learning, and that sparked a lot of thinking about the future of AI. The advance that we’ve seen in the last six years, seven years, it’s amazing. Since AI is using data to learn, this actually is not programmed. The program is the data it’s reading. I was thinking a lot about open data. Making data open was one of the things that will ensure that AIs are not controlled or trained by only the entities owning that data. Which today are maybe the big tech companies.


I was very concerned about making data free, so anyone has the chance to train these AIs. In a way, The Graph is working on open infrastructure. It’s not only about open source, but it’s also about how we run this code, how we run this infrastructure. Making it an open way, making it transparent for anyone to use. I think it aligns very well with the theme of feeding these AIs with data that we can verify and trust so we get to outcomes. I see both themes, what The Graph is doing, and AI very related in that sense.

Nick (39:32):

Ari, now we’ve reached a point in the podcast where I’m going to ask you the GRTiQ 10. These are 10 questions I ask each guest in the podcast every week. And it’s fun, it allows us to learn a little bit more about you personally. But as I always say, all these answers to these questions allows listeners every week to learn something new, try something different, or achieve more in their own life. Ari, are you ready for the GRTiQ 10?

Ariel Barmat (39:55):

Let’s do it.

Nick (40:08):

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

Ariel Barmat (40:13):

Oh, the most impact. That’s a lot. I can tell you maybe a book I like. I read a lot of science fiction, I think Foundation by Isaac Asimov is.

Nick (40:25):

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

Ariel Barmat (40:30):

I always recommend Seinfeld, this comic show from the 80s. It is amazing. I always watch it and have fun, even if after 30 years.

Nick (40:43):

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

Ariel Barmat (40:48):

I think Heaven and Hell from Black Sabbath.

Nick (40:52):

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

Ariel Barmat (40:54):

I’m not that good with advice I receive. I think I consumed a lot of books and listened a lot of podcasts and watch a lot of YouTube videos about advice for start-ups and work, et cetera, that I don’t really know. I don’t think I did best in asking for advice. I don’t have a single thing. The best advice was things I learned from my own life trying to do things. I don’t really have a phrase or something.

Nick (41:26):

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

Ariel Barmat (41:33):

That’s a tough one. I think that there’s so much information out there that sometimes I feel that everything is already said and you need to experience things for yourself. So doing is the best way to learn, that’s my take.

Nick (41:52):

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

Ariel Barmat (41:55):

Maybe related to what I said before, sham. Sham to the pool and try to swim. It’s very hard to assess your capabilities upfront, you discover new limits as you do.

Nick (42:08):

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

Ariel Barmat (42:21):

I would recommend something that Sam Altman posted, I think is from his blog post, How To Be Successful. Very related to the things that you need as an entrepreneur about working hard with, being comfortable with uncertainty, and be willing to sham again to the sham ban, and be there and do stuff. Maybe fail a few times, but not being afraid of that.

Nick (42:45):

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

Ariel Barmat (42:54):

Freedom and sovereignty.

Nick (42:57):

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

Ariel Barmat (43:02):

With Lex Fridman, his podcasts are amazing.

Nick (43:06):

And then the final question, I’m happiest when…

Ariel Barmat (43:09):

When I’m coding. I’m building things.

Nick (43:20):

Ari, thank you so much for joining the GRTiQ Podcast. Listeners won’t know this, but I’ve been working very hard for many years to get you to come on and be a guest. I had the opportunity to feature you on a panel discussion related to The Graph’s move to L2. And I’m pleased to welcome you back to hear more about your background, your life story, your journey into web3, and the work you’ve done at The Graph. If listeners want to stay in touch with you, keep up to date on the things you’re working on, how can they stay in touch?

Ariel Barmat (43:50):

You can follow me on Twitter. It’s @abarmat. It’s like A, and my last name. That’s the best way.


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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.