Yesterday, PolkaWarriors community had an interesting AMA session with Dmitry Zhelezov - Co-founder of SubSquid to introduce Subsquid - An open-source framework for building powerful & tailored GraphQL APIs.
“SubSquid is a tool for accessing the on-chain data in the most convenient way. Let's for example assume that you're building a marketplace for a dog-themed NFTs. To make it fun and user-friendly, you would need an API that will answer queries like "What are the Dog breeds with brown fur and big tail sold during the last month ?". That's something impossible to do with the standard tools provided by Substrate. Subsquid makes building such a complex backend a breeze.”
1. As we know, every successful project has a few stories behind the scenes. What's the story behind your project's success? Are there any special prototypes or upcoming updates that you want to show/share with us?
Subsquid (then codenamed Hydra) started as an internal project for a Substrate-based project Joystream. Joysteam is building a decentralized Youtube and it is essential for them to have a responsive web app showing the videos, recommendations and anything you expect from a modern video platform. This is impossible to do if you connect your website directly to a blockchain node, one needs a special middleware to collect and index the data. This is what we started to build and use.
Then it became clear that efficient indexing and data pipeline is essential to other dApps, not just Joystream
So after working on this project internally for about a year, it became clear that we need to kick-off a separate company to deliver the best product we can for all the teams in the space. Back then we already onboarded a few projects, but it was hard to keep up with a small team. So this is how Subsquid started in May 2021, and within just a few month we onboarded seven (and counting) top projects in the space
2. How many killer features of Subsquid that makes it ahead of its competitors? Could you tell us 2-3 features? And What are the plans to educate and raise awareness and adoption among the community to make more people understand about the project easily?
From the very beginning we were using Subsquid ourselves, basically “eating our own dog’s food” as it is sometimes said when you use your own product. This is how we get the ideas to our key features
First of all, it is speed. We are much faster than our competitors due to a unique architecture of our data pipelines we came up with after trying several designs. We can process all Kusama transfers in just under 40 minutes for example, compared to days needed otherwise.
Second, it’s incredible flexibility and freedom we give to the developers. The users of Subsquid get full control over the API that they get and never find themselves constrained by the feature set. Again we took this trade-off after realizing how frustrating for developers is to realize that something "is not implemented and we can't say ETA when it will be introduced". So we gave the developers the freedom to add anything they want if needed.
As for education, we're constantly running community-driven programs, bounties and hackathons. On top of that we will significantly extend our docs and video tutorials — and we're expanding our comms team for that. Stay tuned!
3. Subsquid currently resides in the Polkadot network. But, do you have plans to expand to other networks like Solana, BSC, ETH, etc? The integration of a bridge in different chains is very useful for investors and their assets in terms of cost reduction in rates.
That’s a great question. Indeed we currently polish our product for Substrate networks and do our best to deliver the best product and developer experience. However, as the crypto world is obviously going multi-chain we are going to expand to other ecosystems in 2022. I don't want to drop names as of now, but expect some big news in Q1 2022. As for bridging the token to other chains — that's a separate topic. For now I can just say that we plan to make our token available for trading on both DEX and CEX exchanges.
4. What kind of partnerships with different projects/platforms/protocols can we expect from your project in the future? Are all targets in accordance with the current road map? And what are the next steps that will be taken in the future?
Our mid-term goal is to become the backbone for the dApps and chains in the Substrate ecosystem. Some of the top Substrate projects in DeFi (HydraDX, Chainflip, Interlay, Zeitgeist to name a few), Social Media (Subsocial, Joystream) already use Subsquid, with many more to come across NFT, analytics, wallet verticals. In the future, we are going to support multi-chain data sources and streamline the way APIs are hosted through a marketplace for infrastructure providers.
5. Who will have the final say in business development and decisions? How influential is the elected representative in terms of business and development decisions? Will the company have some kind of veto power when it comes to decision making?
Currently we're in the "centralized" phase with the key decisions being made based on the feedback from our clients (that is, devs building on Subsquid) and the community.
We will gradually decentralize the decision-making process through the Subsquid DAO and hand it over to the token holders and the indexers.
For example, the decisions on how to distribute the rewards will be subject to the on-chain governance once the network is live.
In general the token holders will be able to participate in the network though delegation and get a cut on the fees earned by providing API access to the clients
6. What are the top priorities for your project this year? and what plan will you do for the development of this project?What is the main vision and goal of your project and who are your targeted customers?
As I mentioned, the top mid-term priority is to become an infrastructure backbone for Substrate-based projects. This includes the best developer experience and the easy to deploy the API. For that purpose we are polishing our core product (query node framework) and launching a hosted service (which is in private beta at the moment). With a hosted service going live, anyone will be able to launch a production-ready API within minutes, not caring about hosting and maintenance, leaving everything on us.
Now about our customers. Our customers are dApp developers and teams building on Substrate with a need to have convenient access to the on-chain data. This in fact means that virtually any on-chain project is our potential customer, as Subsquid proved to be indispensable for e.g. collecting the crowdloan & auctions data, NFTs and DeFi dashboards, and so on. The number of potential use-cases is truly limitless, pretty much as the number of use-cases for the Substrate framework itself.
7. Community is integral to any blockchain startup. How do you plan to get the community to be involved in your project ? Do you plan on launching any ambassador program, developing dapps on your platform? What will be the roles of these ambassadors?
We are committed to full decentralisation, and started a big initiative to accomplish this goal. The Open Ocean Council program is designed to find the best community contributors and groom them towards the Subsquid DAO. The early adopters will form a core for the DAO and we want the early adopters to stay with the projects for a longer period of time. Both technical and non-technical contributors are welcome, and I am very happy to see so much activity even at the very early stage. We are just in our second community quest and will add more individual challenges and rewards in our Discord and other channels soon. We will allocate a portion of the SQD token supply to be spread amongst the voted-in DAO core contributors at a later date, as well as stablecoin and SQD bounties for a number of tasks to compensate for extraordinary efforts.
8. What is the most ambitious goal of the Subsquid project? What is the ultimate vision that Your project is trying to achieve within the cryptocurrencies market? I would appreciate it if you could share with us any Upcoming Updates?
The ultimate goal for us is to remove the boundaries of what is possible to do with the on- and off- chain data and make it easier to implement the most creative ideas in the crypto space. There’s a lot of data stored on-chain, but the true power comes from the ability to combine this data from multiple chains (say from Ethereum, Polkadot and Solana) together with say some real-time market data streams from elsewhere. Making such complex tasks easy and taking the burden of the developers is what we see as our mission.
When it comes to the short-term updates, we are drastically improving our Core product responsible for the fetching and processing the on-chain data from a Substrate chain. It’s a well known pain point that node upgrades are very hard and painful to deal with, as one has to manually upgrade all the APIs and dependencies, and in many cases it renders the dApp fully unusable. With the upcoming update we make this process much simpler, ensuring that the APIs powering the dApss have minimal downtime and are very easy to maintain. In fact the page loading time should increase multifold!
Another important direction is our hosted service and API marketplace (Subsquid DAO) afterwards. Indeed for a developer building a backend API is just the first step. The next (and usually boring and distracting) step is to deploy and maintain it, so that the application is available to the public. By providing an end-to-end experience from building an API to deploying it to a hosted service (and later to a decentralized marketplace) we will unleash the creative power of the builders in the space, and that's our ultimate goal!
In the live questions section, Dmitry did answer several short questions from the PolkaWarriors community.
1. How are your tokens in circulation and what is your total supply? What is the schedule for unlocking the token? In short, please assist us with your structure of Tokenomics?
The max supply will be 1.337B minted at TGE. All investors up until now and the team have the same lock ups — 20% after 6 months of the TGE and the rest linearly vested over 2 years. The tokens will be distributed across community, rewards and treasury.
2. I am a professional vulnerability finder on the web, do you think your system is secure enough from hackers? Does your project have a program that rewards individual vulnerability detection of the system?
All our code is open source and we take security seriously. But of course no one can guarantee 100% security and we are always open for PRs and contributions improving it! At the same time as we serve only read-only data that is already available on-chain, the potential impact is less severe when compared to say smart-contract hacks
3. Do you have tutorial videos so we can get to know your project more clearly or do you have a YouTube channel or something? Can you share it with us? Have a YouTube channel or something? Can you share it with us?
We have a medium channel and are working Youtube explainers as well! Please subscribe to our official chat t.me/subsquid to catch up with the latest tutorials and updates
4. I want to support your project. Tell us more about the Ambassador Program and in what ways can we participate ?
The best way to contribute is to participate in our Open Ocean Council! Follow us on Telegram and Discord for more details, the moderators are always there to help
5. Revenue is an important aspect for all projects to survive and maintain the project/company. How have you been able to build a complete project and what is the way to generate profit/revenue of the token? What is the income model?
In the long run the revenue will be generated by the users and projects who use the platform and build and host their APIs — which is a backbone component of any project. We expect to serve billions of queries as the adoption of the Polkadot/Kusama ecosystem grows, and far more when we expand beyond. SQD holders will benefit from the increased usage of the APIs.