The Graph: A Decentralized Query Protocol

Season 1 Episode 21
  • Host

    Zach DeWitt

  • Guests

    Yaniv Tal

    The Graph

  • Date

    March 25, 2019

  • Duration

    37 minutes

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How do decentralized applications get data from underlying sources and transform it in meaningful ways?

Yaniv Tal is the Project Lead at The Graph, a new decentralized query and indexing protocol for Web3 making data easily available to developers using GraphQL.

Getting data from blockchains is difficult

Anyone building smart contracts on a blockchain like Ethereum will need to access specific data with queries, and to do those kinds of queries, indexes are needed, which will be application specific.

The founders of The Graph realized early on when building on Ethereum that this indexing later was a missing part of the stack, and people were creating their own proprietary indexing servers.

They felt that this really broke many of the benefits that you would want out of building with Web3, and so they built The Graph.

The Graph and GraphQL

The Graph is a query and indexing protocol for Web3 that indexes data from blockchains and storage networks to make it easily available to developers over GraphQL, a query language developed in open source by Facebook.

For example, if you’re building a marketplace protocol, and you have different listings of things people want to buy and sell, your frontend application needs to give users a way to filter, sort, and paginate for specific kinds of data. The Graph makes this functionality much easier than building your own custom solution.

Eliminating data silos

Data silos are everywhere in Web2. Databases trap data: you need to have access to the physical servers if you want to access that database.

Yaniv believes that providing open access to this data that people need to build applications is one of the next big evolutions in building software systems that will enable humanity to coordinate and cooperate on a larger scale.

It’s also essential to provide both developers and users guarantees that the data will continue to be open, stable, and verifiably correct. All of these guarantees are important for building more and more systems on top of each other on a stable foundation.

Key takeaways:

  • Getting data off blockchains today is difficult;
  • The Graph is a decentralized platform for querying data that uses GraphQL, a query language developed in open source by Facebook;
  • The Graph can help eliminate data silos by providing a powerful API to get exactly the data you need in a single request, seamlessly traversing and combining multiple data sources.

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