Aptos — What’s The Hype All About?
What Is Aptos?
The APTOS blockchain is a new Layer 1 blockchain that combines speed, security, and scalability. This blockchain was built by former Meta engineers who also developed the Move language but let’s dive a little deeper into the story to really understand the hype they are creating at the moment.
Team And History
Aptos was founded by Mo Shaikh (CEO) and Avery Ching (CTO). The two first worked together at Meta (formerly Facebook), specifically on the Diem blockchain and Novi wallet projects. Shaikh led Strategic Partnerships at Novi, while Ching was a Principal Software Engineer on the crypto platform team at Novi.
Using this knowledge, Shaikh and Ching created a blockchain that advances the “decentralization movement,” but does not sacrifice “reliability, safety, and usability.” Consequently, they reassembled the original creators of Diem, the blockchain originally built for this purpose.
A16z, Multicoin Capital, ParaFi, Haun Ventures, PayPal Ventures, FTX Ventures, Coinbase Ventures and a number of other crypto and Silicon Valley companies contributed $200 million to Aptos and in their Series A funding round they raised an additional $150 million. They are now valued at more than $1 billion, which places them in unicorn territory. For comparison, Solana raised $25 million before their launch compared to Aptos $350 million.
Diem’s Move programming language was brought to Aptos as a key technical feature. Meta originally developed this language to ensure Diem’s security and scalability. Now, it’s doing that for Aptos.
Resources are the key to understanding Move’s advantages. A resource is a highly secure way of storing key information in a system. A resource has a high status in the code architecture, preventing it from being copied or unintentionally deleted.
By storing tokens and smart contracts as resources, Move provides significantly better security than competing blockchain programming languages. Aptos uses Move to implement account management, transaction fees, a standard library, validator node management, and configuration for all of its key elements.
In addition to the features in Move, Aptos includes numerous other security-related features. Based on Diem’s HotStuff protocol, the blockchain uses a powerful consensus mechanism called “DiemBFT v4”. Byzantine Fault Tolerant (BFT), commonly referred to as the Byzantine General Problem, is deemed to be the consensus protocol for Aptos.
Think about a group of generals deciding on a battle plan together. A member of the group is suspected of being a traitor and providing false information. In these circumstances, they are faced with a dilemma of how to make a plan. Blockchain participants, especially validators, face the Byzantine General Problem when they cannot implicitly trust each other to confirm or deny transactions correctly. Potential blockchain exploits often come from this source.
Despite the actions of one validator, Aptos’ BFT protocol keeps the network running smoothly while maintaining world-class speeds. The pacemaker system of Aptos allows validator rotation to be updated automatically and voting synchronized, making it one of the fastest blockchains on the market.
Additionally, Aptos protects end users from being exploited by hackers. Remember those famous stories of users who lost their crypto because they couldn’t remember their key? As well as key rotation systems that prevent fraud, Aptos has designed new, secure ways to recover keys.
Speed And Scalability
The Aptos blockchain is a future-proof technology, used by both individuals and businesses around the world. It must, however, have world-class speed to accomplish that.
There are two ways to measure blockchain speed: transactions per second (TPS) and time to finality (TTF). Transacting per second, or TPS, refers to the network’s throughput. The TTF is the amount of time that passes between the time you start a transaction and when the transaction is completed.
Despite being in the testnet development stage and not fully operational, Aptos is already outperforming its competitors. Among ultra-fast chains like Avalanche and Fantom, its TTF is less than 1 second. As a result, its TPS has the potential to reach 160,000, an industry-leading number. The team aims to reach 10,000 TPS within the next few months, and is well on its way to 100,000 plus soon after.
There are plenty of features, that help to achieve that speed. As a first step, Aptos separated its consensus mechanism from its execution pipeline. The consensus and execution of transactions can thus be organized almost like an assembly line, with the two processes taking place separately and being optimized for speed at the same time. Aptos also improved the HotStuff BFT engine to validate most transactions in just two network trips. This is way faster than the many rounds of voting other consensus mechanisms need to securely validate transactions. Last but not least, Aptos storage and data structures are optimized to improve speed and keep fees low.
The company claims to be the safest and most scalable Layer 1 blockchain. While “safe” is simple to understand, what does “scalable” really mean? Increasingly, global adoption of blockchains leads to exponentially higher performance requirements. Adaptability refers to a system’s capability to “cope and perform well under increased or expanding workloads.” In an age where crypto and DeFi currency are replacing fiat currencies, traditional payment systems, and institutional banking, NFTs become increasingly valuable, and DAOs become more and more popular, the stakes only increase.
No matter how performant a system is, it can only go so far without reliability (see Solana) and Aptos recognizes this need. By managing validators on-chain, Aptos avoids hard forks and downtime. Upgrades can be voted on and executed easily this way. Several major upgrades have been made without downtime at Aptos thanks to robust testing.
A key factor in Aptos’ future-proofing is state sync, which also increases speed. In other blockchains, validators execute transactions and add new blocks to the chain, which is then replicated by other users. In Aptos, however, non-validators can distribute this data so everyone is in sync with each other. Aptos syncs network nodes using an accumulator as well. Nodes can use the accumulator to get the latest transaction instead of downloading the entire ledger.
Aptos In The Future
Aptos has partnered with many companies to accelerate their growth. Among the most intriguing is Google Cloud, which can set up Aptos nodes in under 15 minutes through its technology.
The Aptos developer testnet was launched back in March 2022. It reached a peak of 18,000 full active nodes, making it the largest known proof-of-stake node community running today. From 30,000+ submissions, only 100 validators were selected for the first stage of the incentivized testnet between May 24 and June 9. As a result of the first stage, Aptos has been strengthened as bugs and vulnerabilities have been identified.
Furthermore, a large and active Aptos community has been forming via Discord and through Twitch streams on “Move Mondays” and there are already many exciting projects out there, such as wallets, AMMs, games, NFT infrastructure, order books, and more.