Brandon Ramirez
Date Published
Feb 28, 2023

An Edge & Node Indexer Enters The Fray

Running an active Indexer to support the growth and quality of service of The Graph’s decentralized network.

Edge & Node is spinning up a full-fledged Indexer on The Graph’s decentralized network for the first time. At this pivotal moment, where usage of The Graph is migrating from the hosted service – currently serving upwards of 30B queries per month across 39 blockchains – to the decentralized network, we want to align our team’s long-term success with that of The Graph’s decentralized roadmap while positioning ourselves to make meaningful contributions to the quality of service, tooling, and economic design of the protocol.

Why We’re Becoming an Indexer Now

You may be wondering, The Graph Network has been live for 2+ years, why weren’t we doing this already? After all, team members at Edge & Node helped to develop many of The Graph codebases and continue to be active contributors, so this might seem like something that would have been a natural undertaking from Day One when the protocol went live.

Edge & Node did not want to distort the competitive dynamics among Indexers in the fledgling protocol. Given our team’s significant experience from having been involved in the initial development of the protocol and building some of the initial tooling, as well as our deep experience operating the hosted service–we felt that Edge & Node would be an unfair competitor for new Indexers considering engaging with the protocol.

Instead of participating gainfully, we have been running several Indexers in the network philanthropically, as public goods, that did not collect indexing rewards and were configured to only be selected to serve queries in the rare instances where a more suitable Indexer was unavailable for a given subgraph.

Fast forward two years and The Graph ecosystem, especially the Indexer community, has vastly matured. We’ve gone from working on the development of the protocol as a single team, to now collaborating with an independent foundation, five other independent core development teams, and hundreds of independent contributors that have made long-term commitments to improving the protocol. Two of these core developers, Semiotic and GraphOps, are already running Indexers on the network and have taken up the mantle from Edge & Node as primary contributors to Indexer-specific tooling.

Additionally, two successful incentivized testnets (Mission Control & MIPs) have helped bring the number of Indexers in the protocol to a staggering 450+ Indexers actively collecting indexing rewards and serving queries. These educational programs as well as tooling such as the Launchpad built by GraphOps are democratizing the ability for anyone with a DevOps background to run a quality Indexer.

Our Motivation

Another rationale for Edge & Node running an active Indexer is simply that it is good business – and we hope other competent DevOps teams evaluating participation in the network come to the same conclusion.

If you aren’t a technical team, you also have the opportunity to delegate GRT to competent Indexers and earn rewards while supporting Indexers that provide an important service to the network. The Edge & Node team participates in this capacity with similar goals in mind.

While expansion of the decentralized network is continuing, Delegators and Indexers already collectively expect to take home a combined $45M in indexing rewards and query fees over the next year.

Participating on The Graph Network provides revenue to Delegators and Indexers in a way that keeps incentives aligned with the development of the decentralized network. Our participation helps assure our long-term sustainability in this difficult macro environment while enabling us to say “no” to countless other revenue-generating opportunities that might distract from our commitment to increasing adoption of the decentralized network.

With this strategy, we are also burning the metaphorical boats of the hosted service behind us. We will not accept an outcome in which Edge & Node is successful, but the decentralized network is not. The only path is forward and to get developers happily migrated over from the hosted service to the decentralized network as fast as possible–which is a major goal for The Graph ecosystem in 2023. We are fully committed to decentralizing the internet.

Another way in which Edge & Node’s running an active Indexer benefits the entire ecosystem is in the incentive we now have to dogfood the exact same tooling and economics that Indexers interact with every day.

Because our goal is to provide good quality service to the network while also operating at a profit, we expect to gain even more empathy for the challenges high-quality Indexers might face when trying to run a high-quality Indexer at a profit. This is in contrast to our philanthropic Indexer operation, where there was no need to optimize our Indexer’s allocations or other key decision problems Indexers face.

In this new regime, we expect to be submitting even more pull requests and writing GIPs that benefit all Indexers in the ecosystem.

What’s Next

We are excited about Edge & Node’s becoming a full participant of The Graph’s decentralized network and with our recent foray into delegation and now indexing, we are taking the logical next steps in that direction at a time that we feel is ideal in terms of supporting the growth and utility of the decentralized network.

We expect to ramp up our Indexer gradually so that we can evaluate any impact on the performance of the network as well as gather feedback. While we aim to keep our participation sufficiently low relative to other Indexers in order to maintain the health of the network, we will periodically reevaluate our activity.

We will continue supporting other high-quality Indexers with our GRT delegation activities to embody the decentralized ethos of web3.

Later this year, Firehose and Substreams will be coming online. They are next-generation technologies for blockchain data extraction and transformation developed almost entirely outside of Edge & Node. We look forward to learning how to adapt our Indexer to these new technologies right alongside the rest of the Indexer community, and sharing our learnings!

If you have any questions or feedback that you would like to share with us regarding this update, please don’t hesitate to reach out to [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you! Delegators can find Edge & Node’s Indexer live on Graph Explorer now.

About Edge & Node

Edge & Node is a core development team behind The Graph, working to build a vibrant decentralized future. The team is dedicated to the proliferation of web3 applications that share value, utilize dynamic incentives, and build for human coordination. Founded by the initial team and developers behind The Graph, the team has extensive experience in developing and maintaining open-source software, tools, and protocols as well as building and launching unstoppable applications.

Let’s solve the world’s biggest challenges - Edge & Node

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