Gulf Crypto Insight exclusive
SubQuery Network is a data indexing protocol (decentralized data aggregator) for the Polkadot and Kusama ecosystems. The main mission of SubQuery is to expand access to data from the Polkadot and Kusama blockchains by creating new markets for indexing and data provisioning.
SubQuery is a Data-as-a-Service provider that collects and organizes data from Polkadot and Substrate projects, providing developers with well-structured data for a wide range of projects. Working between Tier 1 blockchains and decentralized applications (DApps), the service allows developers to focus on their core use case and interface without wasting time building their own back end to process the data.
There are three types of participants in the SubQuery network:
• Consumers: Consumers will make requests to the SubQuery network for specific data and pay an advertised amount of SQT
• Indexers: Indexers will host SubQuery Projects in their own infrastructure, running both the node and query service to index data and answer GraphQL requests.
• Delegators: Delegators will participate in the network by supporting their favourite Indexers to earn rewards
We have spoken to SubQuery Head of Business Development James Bayly.
– Where does the idea for the project comes from? Who were the people responsible for its creation? Could you talk in detail about that, as well as the project launch itself?
– SubQuery was born out of my company as the largest infrastructure provider on Polkadot, specifically focused on Polkadot. I am incredibly proud of the final stage team, as the ICO is still ongoing. We built the service to provide the key infrastructure through the top Polkadot parachains. The Polkadot project is unique in that there is a core chain, but Polkadot makes it easy to build an individual blockchain that works in its own way yet remains compatible with the main chain.
It allows you to implement, for example, cross-chain projects. SubQuery is unique in architecture, which means that it contains multiple different blockchains we provide services to. That being said, it is quite difficult to attract developers to the ecosystem.
We stay on the market thanks to the demand for data delivery services. It is one of the goals SubQuery was created for. It’s a way to efficiently transform and collect data, storing it in a way that makes it easy for applications to use.
– What can you tell us about the project creators?
– Sam Zou, the CEO, is our key specialist and has been with us for many years. We are also lucky to have a very strong, cohesive team. It includes, for example, a person who was part of the second hackathon in SubQuery history. The demand for the product is currently really high, and many more people are helping us create it than ever before.
– Could you tell us about your role in this project? What are the main tasks for you personally?
– Sure. I am the head of business development, a highly responsible position. My goal is to make sure the business is functioning and attracting new clients. My daily job is to talk to potential clients and new clients for the current month, to close very profitable deals as part of our development plan.
A large number of people create SubQuery projects to work with us. By using SubQuery, our clients also become our developers. And this is how we are increasing the number of developers making the entire Polkadot system – they build SubQuery while using SubQuery. Thus, most of my job consists of pretty small things: working with the target audience, attracting customers, creating opportunities for new customers to build their products quicker. And by and large – to help in a faster global transition to a decentralized future. We believe that we must help people create the future now.
– What is the core idea behind the SubQuery business model?
– There are three main things about SubQuery. The first is that SubQuery is a software development kit (SDK). It is open-source software created with open-source tools. The SubQuery SDK makes it very easy to find how data is collected from the network, transformed, and converted. You transfer data using the high-level programming language Graph, which simplifies the use of applications.
So, everything is open-source. It’s always free and always will be. What we do in SubQuery is providing service management. If you run a manufacturing infrastructure, you know how incredibly painstaking it is. It is a precarious job which requires a lot of knowledge that most people, even most investors, do not have. What happens if Elon Musk tweets about your app? Your traffic will immediately grow dozens of times, and everything will break down. And your big chance will then go away.
We provide services for SubQuery products. We have developed the necessary master data rules, and we handle their implementation. We also manage the infrastructure. We take care of you and don’t have to pay for it. It is free and is supported by various basic programs. But we also offer a kind of premium version. Some of our consumers are big businesses that want a more substantial service than the free tier. This way, we make a profit by providing top-level service management.
We are also working on decentralizing the SubQuery Network. This is a vision of how we could tokenize the ecosystem. So, a few words about our aspirations. We dream of the future in a decentralized world. We’re going to tokenize the SubQuery Network so that everyone can support the infrastructure and directly participate in the network. As a result, we could get the most decentralized data service possible. And we could provide this infrastructure much faster, because, as you know, most of the request time is spent on it leaving your computer and coming back. Therefore, the more people manage the network and participate in its operation, the better and faster the requests are processed. Tokenizing the network’s ecosystem is not a quick process, and it is what we are currently working on.
– What are the similarities between SubQuery and The Graph projects? What are the differences?
– SubQuery is definitely larger than The Graph. We are focused on Polkadot. Polkadot is very versatile, very customizable, and flexible, and we can change everything we want. By supporting Polkadot on Substrate, we mainly want to support a wide variety of parachains. So our # 1 focus is Polkadot.
SubQuery is a decentralized system with key differences from others implemented in The Graph, including the tokenization module. One significant distinction is that The Graph uses a curator. A curator is someone who predicts demand or future demand for the Subgraph in The Graph. We, in turn, stick to the fixed price purchase order.
The advantage of the curator is the ability to speculate on the future, speculate on the project’s value.
We offer prepaid orders, which is more specific. Let’s say you place an order for a hundred thousand requests, buying them at a specific price. It is a direct relationship between a buyer and a seller, between a consumer and an indicator. This is one of the most significant differences we have. There are also some minor ones in terms of token economics.
– As it stands, how many queries and for how many projects on Polkadot and Kusama does SubQuery service?
– We have a public SubQuery Explorer online app. SubQuery Explorer link leads you to the home page, which is an online marketplace for all the different publicly available SubQuery projects. Some clients use SubQuery projects privately, but most publish them on the Explorer app. When you go there, you can see over 60 different projects. You can try each one. There are all sorts of things for various market situations.
Through the main service, we process several million requests daily, and we see their number rising dramatically. There is a lot of new apps, and they’re growing rapidly. Many applications that use SubQuery data are getting really popular, which results in a steady traffic increase.
– Could you give us any specific numbers, or is this classified information?
– I don’t really keep these numbers in my head at all times. But the last time I checked, it was several million. I think somewhere around five million daily.
– Do you follow the development of the crypto industry in the Gulf countries? If so, how do you assess its potential?
– Yes, we’ve just raised our second-round investment. We definitely see tremendous growth potential in the Middle East. It doesn’t get as much attention as other projects – in Vietnam, China or Russia. But we notice a lot of traffic coming to the website from the Middle East. And we are carefully examining your region’s prospects as we recognize significant interest coming from there.
– How do you foresee the development of relationships between the cryptoindustry and traditional banks in the years to come? Should we expect cooperation or conflict? What is your take?
– The current set of banks has existed and has been operating for a long time. They were challenged by new participants in the financial market – cryptocurrencies, stablecoins. Why is the popularity of crypto growing? It’s mostly not about getting money from investments in the growth of a particular crypto coin. The real goal is different: it is easier to make transactions with cryptocurrency than with traditional assets. I prefer sending stablecoins across the world to transferring traditional money. And it’s cheaper, much cheaper, as well as faster. It must be borne in mind when thinking about the technical side of Digital assets are now much easier for me to deal with than the money in my bank account. Cryptocurrency entails certain risks, but I still deal in crypto for several reasons: it’s much cheaper, faster, and easier to do any cross-border transaction. So, in my opinion, banks should forget about technology and start thinking about how disconnected they are from what is being put forward to solve some of the current problems. Because there are problems. And people are trying to use cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies to solve them.
– In recent news: “The SubQuery blockchain infrastructure protocol has raised $ 9 million in new funding to improve data aggregation for the Polkadot and Kusama ecosystems.” Could you give us more detail on what the users should expect?
– Yes, we raised $ 9 million to accelerate our growth and hire new people for our three main goals. One of them is building a SubQuery DeFi network. It is a major point of focus for us, so we’re going to form a whole team around that. But it is impossible without proper funds.
The second thing I’m sure we need to do is continuing to maintain the existing centralized information service, manage the premium service people are paying us for right now, as well as the free service.
A lot of work will need to go into building a decentralized network while at the same time continuing to work on the existing platform since we still have clients who use the centralized service.
In this case, the fastest means the most reliable. We have 60 projects and millions of requests, which can be scaled to billions of requests every day. Multiple functions need improvement and enhanced scaling, which is a lot of work. With this in mind, we are looking closely at what other blockchains can offer us and how other blockchains can benefit from SubQuery.
The third major point is community building, which involves the growth and development of the community itself, the community neural system, and the construction of its products. This is what we are going to do with the money.
– Tell us a little more about the current SubQuery partners. What are the criteria for a potential partner organization?
– Most of the partners at the moment are our clients. And these are partners to whom we listen very carefully. We make SubQuery together with our clients. This is how to build a product we know will solve someone’s problem. There are many examples of blockchain projects splitting and disappearing completely. One big reason is the lack of users because the product did not enter the market at the right time.
Here we come back to the importance of management. We are pleased to have active customers that we can partner with to make all the products they will use. Because their problems are the same as we often have in our teams, we see it all the time.
We also have partners due to our expanding community. As we grow through hackathons, we develop our client base in different markets and regions. This way, we attract developers to our platform.
– Final question. You are quite young. And it is a great honor to be a pioneer. You really are the pioneer of a new era, at least a new age of the global economy. Can you imagine telling your grandchildren about this time? What will you tell them about how it all began? By the time you have grandchildren, everything will be different from what we can see now. What will you say to your grandchildren about this period of your life?
– I hope I don’t have to tell my grandchildren about this. When I explain to my parents how it works, in response I hear, “What are you talking about?! This is complete nonsense, and I don’t get it.” I hope something similar will happen with my grandchildren and me one day. I think one of the things we’re going to talk about is the significant shift in the Internet today. We are moving away from centralized institutions and building a system in which anyone can launch something worthwhile. And, I think, questions with user cases will be at the forefront: how blockchain technologies or decentralized technologies can solve them. We have the technologies, but their implementation is not good enough. But I think over time, with more services like SubQuery and others, we will see better adoption because the products will have better quality: they will be easier to use and understand. As a result, a wide audience will come to know them.
When I look back at my first experience with cryptocurrencies, I think I had no idea how to get anything out of it. Now I can buy crypto or a token in ten minutes. Things have come a long way. I have a wallet on my phone. We constantly look at the past to see what we have been through. This is what I will talk to my grandchildren about. It will go something like this: “Blockchain?! What is it?”. And they won’t realize that everything they use may be built based on the blockchain.
Currently, we see these layers of technology soaring to the top one by one – all built on the shoulders of giants. We all stand on the shoulders of giants, and this applies to technology more than anything else.