GRT is the native token of The Graph – a crypto project that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to do what Google did for the internet, but for blockchains.
Here’s an overview of what The Graph does and why it matters.
Cryptocurrency trading is inherently risky and you can lose some or all of your money. The market is unregulated in the UK and you are unlikely to receive compensation if something goes wrong.
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The Graph is open source software hosted on the Ethereum blockchain (“open source” simply means that its underlying code can be viewed by anyone).
It exists to collect and store data from blockchains such as Ethereum and Avalanche so that it can be searched by users. Google is analogous in that it collects and stores information from websites to make the Internet searchable.
Data collected by The Graph is organized into indices called sub-graphs to make querying The Graph more efficient. Requests are made through decentralized applications (dApps).
A dApp is an application hosted on a blockchain, rather than company-owned servers, as is the case with WhatsApp, which is an application hosted on Meta-owned servers.
The dApps designed to query The Graph are written in a programming language called GraphQL, which was created by Facebook to power its News Feeds.
GRT is the native currency of The Graph, just like ETH is the native currency of Ethereum. The economy of The Graph is based on people spending GRT to participate and earning it for their participation.
Anyone who wants to query The Graph to find data on a blockchain must pay using GRT. Within The Graph, these people are referred to as Consumers.
Thanks to cryptocurrencies, we tend to think of blockchains as places where records of financial transactions are stored, but they can be used to store all kinds of data.
For example, metaverse platform Decentraland has a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) where members vote on things like: how content moderation works in its virtual world. This DAO has a blockchain containing data that a consumer may wish to query to help them develop software.
The Graph has volunteers known as curators, indexers, and delegates who work to process the data and share it with consumers.
These participants can earn network fees for their work, but they must stake GRT for this opportunity. The idea behind volunteers setting up their own TSO as collateral is that it maintains data integrity on The Graph.
Curators evaluate which subgraphs are worth indexing and assign them a GRT. Indexers are the volunteers who collect the data for the subgraphs identified by the curators. Delegators give GRT to indexers as a reward.
There are also users called fishermen, whose role is to verify the responses to queries, and arbiters, responsible for identifying malicious indexers.
Ten billion GRT tokens were introduced in 2020 by The Graph, and the amount of the token in the system is expected to grow by around 3% per year.
GRT can be traded on many popular crypto exchanges, including eToro, Coinbase, and Kraken. At the time of writing, one GRT was worth 15p. That’s down from a high of £1.89 in spring 2021.
By dint of being a cryptocurrency, GRT is inherently volatile. The UK government is currently consulting on plans to introduce cryptocurrency into regulation to protect consumers, but until then – as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has repeatedly warned – anyone considering invest must be ready to lose all his money.