Aptos - the Next Big Innovation in Blockchain Scaling (Layer 1)?
Aptos utilizes key elements of the former Diem blockchain and Move, a Rust-based programming language independently developed by Meta. The company also claims the network will be able to process over 130k transactions per second using its parallel execution engine (Block-STM), which results in low transaction costs for users.
For context, most blockchains either execute smart contracts sequentially or require a massive parallel workload for improved performance, which requires a lot of power. Aptos differs from other blockchains because a single failed transaction will not hold up the entire chain. Instead, all transactions are processed simultaneously and validated afterwards. The ones that failed are aborted and re-executed, thanks to their STM (software transactional memory) libraries which detect and manage conflicts.
As a result, the combination of these technologies streamlines the entire network’s throughput capacity, which has been a major bottleneck for other layer-1 blockchains. This is a short summary of Aptos’ smart contract execution according to their white paper published in August 2022. Their model is based on cloud infrastructure as a scalable and cost-efficient platform for building widely-used applications.
Aptos enables DeFi projects to be built on its blockchain. So far, there are over 50 DeFi projects on the ecosystem. These projects include decentralized exchanges, lending protocols, and liquid staking
Aptos Labs officially launched its mainnet “Aptos Autumn” on 12th October 2022, making it the first blockchain to debut Move technology. The mainnet is currently using the latest version of AptosBFT (version 4), which leverages a Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) consensus protocol with responsive production optimization. To put it simply, this mechanism quickly minimizes the impact of failed validators on throughput and latency, significantly improving the blockchain’s performance. Aptos team has announced that they are developing AptosBFT (version 5) and will release it in a future upgrade.
Aptos is engaging with community builders to improve its ecosystem, with a focus on reducing gas fees. The team has analyzed on-chain data and interviewed builders to gather insights. Their three-stage plan includes reducing costs for dynamic NFTs, developing gas-efficient data structures, and creating a demand-driven gas model.
The current gas framework combines execution and storage fees, leading to an unbalanced gas price. The team will separate storage and execution fees and provide storage refunds to solve these issues. The team is committed to delivering these improvements in the coming months to better serve the network’s demand.
Aptos offers unique and promising features that cannot be found in other layer-1 protocols (except for Sui which is also a Diem-based blockchain). As such, Aptos has the potential to compete with Ethereum and Solana in terms of scalability and overall network capacity.
However, Aptos is heavily backed by venture capitals (VC), and in light of the VC bankruptcy domino effect toppling across the industry, investors should be cautious when dealing with VC-heavy projects. In fact, according to Aptos Explorer, its total supply is over 1 billion and more than 800 million of the tokens are actively staked, suggesting that early investors, private buyers, and the Aptos team collectively control 80% of the token supply.
Nevertheless, at the end of the day, Move technology is most likely here to stay as it is a revolutionary programming foundation for blockchain scalability and security. And with decades of experience in the blockchain industry as well as Meta, Aptos Labs stakes its reputation on the long-term success of the blockchain.