Aptos’ Ariadne's Thread: Untangling the Crypto Maze

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Ponyo
Research Analyst/
Xangle
Jul 07, 2023

Translated by Lani OhImage Source: South Korean movie Parasite

Table of Contents

1. Intro

2. Inside Aptos: Technology and Features

2-1. Technology: High scalability achieved through efficient consensus and parallel processing techniques

2-2. Language: Building a stable and flexible development environment with Move

2-3. Ecosystem: Thriving with the Aptos Foundation’s all-out support

2-4. Tokenomics: Long vesting schedule and stable inflation rate

3. The Future Aptos Envisions

3-1. Growth Strategy (1): Future-proof Network via Upgradability

3-2. Growth Strategy (2): Ecosystem expansion centered on onboarding of Web2 companies

3-3. A longer-term plan to provide companies with dedicated blockspace

4. Gaming Sector Set to Lead Ecosystem Growth

4-1. Ecosystem growth driven by METAPIXEL

4-2. Gaming sector expected to drive a booming ecosystem

4-3. Burgeoning yet nascent, the prospect calls for a long-term observation

5. Appendix

 

Key Highlights

  • Aptos is a PoS blockchain developed by the ex-Meta Diem team with a focus on speed and reliability. Aptos is designed to achieve a theoretical throughput of more than 100,000 and sub-second latency. It supports the Move programming language to provide a stable, fast, and flexible development environment.
  • Technology alone is no guarantee of success. Aptos employs two key strategies to ensure sustainability and survive the L1 wars: 1) implementing a future-proof network via upgradability and 2) expanding its ecosystem through Web2 partnerships. This approach involves onboarding proven products and services and leveraging the intellectual properties and user bases of Web2 companies. It is also a bet on the blockchain industry’s future, which it predicts will be driven by global heavyweights, rather than Web3 startups.
  • Aptos is likely to build its ecosystem around the gaming sector. It is one of the few public blockchains that is technically capable of supporting triple-A games. Aptos is also actively collaborating with METAPIXEL, leveraging their extensive game development expertise, to jointly build the necessary infrastructure and tools needed for Web3 game development. We expect that the features currently under development, including the token object model, proxy gas fee payment, VRF, and game SDK will streamline the onboarding process for game companies. Moreover, the highly awaited Gran Saga: Unlimited (GSU), which employs NPIXEL's prominent IP, is scheduled to launch in January next year.

1. Intro

The ultimate goal of any L1 blockchain is to become a global database infrastructure capable of accommodating simultaneous access by tens of millions of users by solving the blockchain trilemma.That said, in the 13 years since Bitcoin's inception in 2009, no blockchain has yet resolved the trilemma. Existing blockchains have encountered limitations, often necessitating trade-offs such as compromising decentralization or experiencing slowdowns. These compromises have resulted in a range of issues such as network overloads, shutdowns, and excessive gas fees.

In response, the blockchain industry has proposed a modular architecture for several years now, different chains handle consensus, data availability, settlement, and execution separately. The primary advantage of a modular architecture is that each chain can specialize in a specific role, reducing the load on nodes and enhancing overall blockchain performance. Many blockchains, including Ethereum, Avalanche, and Cosmos, are currently aligning their roadmaps around a modular architecture.

Modularity has its share of limitations though. It can weaken interoperability and composability between dApps, fragment liquidity, and hinder user experience. Most importantly, modular blockchains are exposed to a wider range of attack vectors than monolithic blockchains, raising security concerns. Aptos is a new PoS-based blockchain designed under a monolithic architecture in recognition of such security challenges. It aims to provide a stable and fast blockchain infrastructure for users around the world, as befits its name meaning “The People.”

2. Inside Aptos: Technology and Features

2-1. Technology: High scalability achieved through efficient consensus and parallel processing techniques

One major challenge for permissionless public blockchains is scalability. Scalability is primarily associated with the processing speed of a blockchain and is commonly measured by throughput* and latency**. Currently, demand for Aptos blockspace is relatively low, averaging 6-7 TPS, but the technology is theoretically capable of achieving 100,000+ TPS and sub-second latency. Considering that VISA and Mastercard process around 3k to 4k transactions per second, this is certainly an impressive number. Aptos' ability to achieve such high scalability is largely attributable to the adoption of technologies such as Quorom Store(Narwhal), State Delta Synchronization, Jellyfish Merkle Tree(JMT). At the core of it all lie its own consensus mechanism (AptosBFT v4) and parallel processing engine (BlockSTM).

AptosBFT v4 is a consensus algorithm based on DiemBFT***, developed by Diem (formerly Libra), Meta’s former blockchain project. It is characterized by low network load and fast consensus speed, offering significant improvements over the previously prevalent PBFT consensus mechanism. The credits should be given to: 1) linear communication and chaining techniques that enhance latency and network efficiency, 2) a pacemaker that enables rapid synchronization between validators through efficient timeouts, and 3) a reputation system that analyzes the on-chain status to swiftly filter out unqualified validators during the leader node selection process. For more details about the AptosBFT consensus mechanism, please see Appendix 1.

AptosBFT Consensus Process | Source: LibraBFT

Next, BlockSTM is a parallel execution engine for smart contracts that utilizes Software Transactional Memory (a technique that extends the ACID properties of database transactions to parallel programming). Unlike the existing mechanism that requires transactions to be processed sequentially according to the block order, BlockSTM spreads out independent transactions into multiple threads and executes them in parallel. By pre-defining the order, it enables pre-execution, post-validation and consensus. This signifies that the introduction of BlockSTM can solve blockchain’s bottleneck problem and yield a breakthrough for transaction processing speed. The implementation of BlockSTM is described in detail in Appendix 2.