The Graph: How to Curate

Joseph Al-Chami
July 12, 2021
minute read

A more in depth article on how to curate is coming out soon.

The Graph’s core objective is to index blockchains and provide API services for Web 3 applications. It will facilitate or dare we say create the data tools that all application developers need allowing them to stop worrying about managing data. In order to provide this service, The Graph introduced Subgraphs, and the role of the Curator.

What are Subgraphs?

A simple way to describe a subgraph is by imagining it as an intermediary entity between applications and data. A protocol or application could create their own subgraph, in which they model the parameters important for their operations. Then Indexers start indexing this subgraph, collecting the metrics defined in the subgraph and begin organizing them. Now, in order for a protocol to access the data they need, they’d only have to query their subgraph, and poof; they have all the data they need.

The Graph is a decentralized and permissionless protocol, meaning anyone or anything could publish a subgraph. This increases the decentralization of the protocol but introduces a risk of fraudulent subgraphs. As a solution to this problem, The Graph protocol introduced the role of Curators. Curators deposit GRT on subgraphs to signal its importance.

By signaling GRT on a subgraph, the subgraph becomes profitable for Indexers to index it. Hence, curation attracts indexing. The novelty of curation is its ability to coordinate and organize data in a decentralized way. Essentially, curation is a decision making tool for Indexers that is used to decide which subgraphs to index. But what are the Curator’s economic incentives? Let us first explain what signaling means.

Signaling Subgraphs as a Curator

When Curators deposit GRT on a subgraph, they are actually depositing their GRT into a bonding curve, similar to Algorithmic Market Maker (AMM) like Uniswap. Hence signaling means minting new shares and un-signaling means burning shares. Every time a share is minted, the price of all shares increases, and every time a share is burned the price of all shares decreases. Share’s price could rapidly increase or rapidly decrease; non negligible risk.

The first Curator has the least risk and maximum possible profits from selling shares, and the last Curator has the maximum risk and least possible profit from selling shares. So why would Curators signal GRT on a subgraph if they’re not the first? Simple, because 10% of the total query fees on a subgraph is distributed shares-pro-rata to Curators.

This is the real objective of a Curator: to signal the importance of a subgraph is to predict that this very subgraph will receive a lot of API calls, generating query fees. A rational Curator then, would be a Curator predicting that a subgraph will generate query fees.

Curation Considerations

It is important to note that before a Curator starts curating, they must:

  • Familiarize themselves with the economical risk of curating
  • Read about subgraphs
  • Check the discord channel and learn about early Curators experiences curating
  • Take time and analyze the market

If you are new to The Graph ecosystem, we advise you to read more about the protocol and all the different roles and responsibilities of each one. The Graph’s blog and The Graph Academy are good places to get started.

Remember that The Graph a permissionless network, meaning anyone could publish a subgraph, curate on it, then rug pull it. It happened to a good number of Curators, during the first day. A few Curators signaled on subgraphs without verifying them, and seconds later, early Curators sold their shares and left late Curators with signals on fake subgraphs.

As a Curator your responsibility is to investigate the legitimacy of subgraphs. Below is a guide for curating, and we hope that you remain vigilant.

How to Curate

Start by going to Then click on “Graph Explorer” on the top right.

Next, you will want to click on “Connect”, to connect your wallet. You can connect with Metamask or WalletConnect. Once your wallet is connected, you can see the list of all deployed subgraphs.

You can then click on the subgraph that you’d like to curate on. Let’s say we would like to signal on Pooltogether.

On the top right we click on “Signal” (the network might ask you to re-connect to the wallet again).

You will then see the following:

The last step is to enter the amount of GRT that you wish to curate, then click "Approve". 2 ETH transactions will be required, so make sure to fund the wallet with some ETH. The first transaction is to give permission for the Graph Network to control your GRT tokens, and the second is to actually signal.

A Decentralized Review System

Curation is similar to restaurant reviews on the internet. A person that doesn't know which restaurant to choose, will pick a restaurant with good reviews. Curation is the same for Indexers. Indexers will pick subgraphs with high curation on them because they believe that Curators chose them for the right reasons. Make sure to send your fellow Indexers to a good restaurant. 

In the next few days, we will be releasing an in-depth economical article to help you better choose subgraphs.

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