the-graph-token

The Graph Token And Its Blockchain Business Model

The Graph is an ERC20 Utility Token (built on top of Ethereum) to enable consumers to freely query the blockchain through a fully decentralized database kept by indexers, incentivized by the payment of tokens (called GRT). The network is also ministered by curators and delegators that help maintain a high-quality index.

Value Model

The Graph vision is to enable fully decentralized applications, which requires a paradigm shift, from “businesses paying for the ongoing storage, compute, and other services required to keep an application running, toward users directly paying networks of decentralized service providers for granular usage of these resources.”

The Graph mission is therefore “to enable internet applications that are entirely powered by public infrastructure.“ 

As highlighted by The Graph team “full-stack decentralization will enable applications that are robust to business failures and rent seeking and also facilitate an unprecedented level of interoperability. Users and developers will be able to know that software they invest time and money into can’t suddenly disappear.”

Thus, the whole mission of a project like The Graph is to enable the whole application stack to run on top of the blockchain (not just the transactional layer).  

Value Gap

The whole point of a project like The Graph is to decentralize centralized databases, which are limited in terms of use cases and access from its users. As pointed out by The Graph team referring to a quote from Vinay Gupta, previously of the Ethereum foundation:

“When you’ve got a single big database at the heart of your organization, which stores all truth and all wisdom, you’re very reluctant to let other people touch that database.”

In short, the web as we know it developed through the proprietary APIs model. While this model enabled access to a plethora of applications it also exposed some of its major drawbacks. First, APIs are “rigid and costly to maintain” as those are usually fixed in terms of use cases that can be implemented, and stuck in terms of what use cases they can support (the central company handling the database is in charge of siloing the API and deciding what can be done with that). 

Thus, the proprietary API is the interface between the company and the consumer, thus creating inefficiencies, as in many cases APIs require the development of more databases and APIs just to be able to connect them up.

The last point highlighted by The Graph team is the fact that APIs also create data monopolies, and the central player can use them to stiff competition. Think of how, perhaps, initially also digital platforms like Facebook enabled third-party developers to build apps on top of the main platform. And how it cut them off suddenly thus stifling competition (third-party applications are not easy to control and monetize by the central player). 

In terms of querying language for the blockchains, The Graph leverages on GraphQL, as this is both a query language and interface definition language.

Key highlights

  • The Graph Network is a project that aims to develop a network for querying the blockchain, which breaks down the traditional and siloed APIs model, where central players control access to the database, and its use cases. The Graph instead is a decentralized database run by indexers and developing according to the use cases that fit most of the consumers and end-users querying it. 
  • The Graph is an ERC20 Utility Token, following the work model (incentives and disincentives designed to develop the network but also to prevent malicious actions by the key players developing it). 
  • The token will help build the network and develop it and it’s based on a few key players: indexers, curators, delegators, and consumers. 
  • The consumers act as the economic engine, as they query the subgraphs part of the network, thus enabling the payment of the tokens toward indexers but also the issuance of new tokens as the network builds up. 
  • Indexers are also key players as they enable the development of the network, and they need to run the nodes that keep the network going. A query marketplace will work as an economic incentive for the indexers to operate the network
  • Curators and delegators also participate in the network to keep the quality of the indexed subgraphs as high as possible.  
  • In the end, the development of new use cases will be driven by the end-users.
  • The Graph economic model works on a set of incentives (token rewards and query fees) and disincentives (tokens can be disposed of if malicious acts are performed perhaps by indexers who spam the network). 

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Read Next: Blockchain Business Models Framework Decentralized Finance, Blockchain Economics, Bitcoin.

Read Also: Proof-of-stakeProof-of-workBlockchain, ERC-20, DAO, NFT.

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Published by

Gennaro Cuofano

Gennaro is the creator of FourWeekMBA which reached over a million business students, executives, and aspiring entrepreneurs in 2020 alone | He is also Head of Business Development for a high-tech startup, which he helped grow at double-digit rate | Gennaro earned an International MBA with emphasis on Corporate Finance and Business Strategy | Visit The FourWeekMBA BizSchool | Or Get The FourWeekMBA Flagship Book "100+ Business Models"