Judging from the historical development of the encryption industry, the bear market is always the time to brew new public chains, and the crypto bear market in 2022 is no exception. A number of emerging public chains are on their way.
On July 25, the new public chain Aptos announced the completion of $150 million in financing, led by FTX Ventures and Jump Crypto, with participation from Circle Ventures, Superscrypt and other institutions. This is not the first financing for Aptos. As early as March of this year, Aptos completed a $200 million financing led by a16z. The participating investors include Tiger Global, Multicoin Capital, FTX Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, Binance Labs and other top institutions.
In less than half a year, Aptos raised US$350 million. In addition to the blessing of top capital, the development team of this Layer 1 public chain also has a halo. Its core members are developers of Libra, the super-sovereign digital currency system of Meta (formerly Facebook). After Libra was stranded due to regulatory reasons, it was renamed Diem and was sold by Meta at the end of January this year. Some core members left and formed a team to develop the Aptos public chain based on Diem's open source code.
In addition to Aptos, there are also Layer1 public chains Linera and Sui that attract capital. Among them, Linera completed a $6 million seed round led by a16z on June 28 this year. It was revealed on July 12 that Sui was seeking $200 million in Series B financing, with a valuation of $2 billion. The teams behind these two public chains also have the shadow of Meta, and also have the participation of former employees of this Web2 Internet giant.
The current public chain track has shown a pattern of one superpower and many strong ones. Why do Aptos break into this crowded track? Why does capital continue to bet on the new public chain?
Indeed, Ethereum, the king of the public chain network, has nurtured a blooming ecology. Solana, BNB Chain, Avalanche, Fantom and other public chains compete with Ethereum in a way that is compatible with Ethereum. With the rich infrastructure, DeFi, NFT, and GameFi applications have competed in the past two years, and the public chain is no longer a "road without cars".
However, the public chain track seems to be lively, but it is still far from a silky Web2 experience. Ethereum is the birthplace of original DApp applications. It is rich in ecology, but its performance is not enough to support the operation of huge applications. The cost (gas fee) for users is sometimes high and sometimes low; public chains such as Solana and BNB Chain are fast enough, but the problem of centralization It is difficult to gain the trust of the developers of blockchain fundamentals.
The public chain features that are both decentralized, secure enough and high-performance cannot be integrated in a network.
This reality brings opportunities to emerging public chains like Aptos, who try to solve the "impossible triangle" of decentralization, security, and high performance with one chain. This "problem-solving idea" makes them a group of their own, which is not only different from other Layer 1 public chains, but also forms a different route from the modular blockchain that solves the performance problems of public chains hierarchically.
The concept of modular blockchain is proposed by the public chain Celestia, which advocates dividing the consensus, settlement, execution and other functions of a single public chain into different layers, and then optimizes the function layers to improve performance. This idea is attracting the attention of public chain developers.
The endless emergence of public chains will not only bring new assets to the crypto market, but more importantly, developers are solving the "Impossible Triangle" in different ways, trying to create a powerful infrastructure that enables Web3 to land. A new narrative of the public chain market has been launched.
We already know the limitations of the existing Layer 1 and the goals of Layer 2, so what kind of "magic weapon" do Aptos, Linera and Sui, both of which belong to the Meta series, plan to use the "magic weapon" to participate in the public chain competition? Does modular blockchain have a future? This issue of DeFi Cellular will bring some answers.
Meta-based public chain tackles the challenge of "one chain supports all"
Since the digital currency payment system Libra (later renamed Diem) launched by Meta was forced to abort due to supervision, a large number of developers left it, but they did not bid farewell to the blockchain industry. Based on the technology of wallet Novi, they started to build a new Layer1 public chain.
Aptos was originally built in February this year. It was not built from scratch, but based on nearly three years of open source technology and development experience from the Diem project. Mo Shaikh and Avery Ching, former engineers of Meta, are the founders of Aptos, and they were deeply involved in the development of Novi, the Meta encrypted wallet.
Aptos focuses on the security, scalability and upgradeability of the blockchain, aiming to create an underlying blockchain network that can rapidly innovate and have strong adaptability according to the market environment, trying to make this network meet the needs of dozens of Internet users. billion users and accelerate the adoption of the network by Web2 Internet businesses.
On March 15 this year, Aptos released the developer testnet, which mainly cooperated with strategic partners and the Web3 developer community to experience and improve the development language Move of the Aptos network. In May, Aptos launched the Incentivized Testnet, providing developers and partners with a testbed similar to the mainnet, and providing incentives to all participants who help secure the network.
According to the roadmap, Aptos plans to launch the mainnet before September this year.
How does Aptos make the Layer1 public chain achieve security, scalability and upgradeability at the same time?
First, it chose another development language, Move, which is different from the Solidity language currently adopted by the mainstream of the public chain. Move was originally a programming language designed for Diem and can be used for the development of smart contracts. Diem was originally a digital asset payment system, and Move was born for digital assets, with particular emphasis on security.
According to Aptos, the use of Move language to write smart contracts allows most errors to be checked by the compiler at compile time, thereby making smart contracts more reliable, such as preventing the risk of asset theft due to code vulnerabilities. Among other things, the language can make it easier for developers of smart contracts to transition from Web2 to Web3 without having to understand the complexities of the underlying infrastructure.
In addition to the characteristics of the development language, Aptos adopts the iterative Byzantine consensus "Proof-Of-Stake Diem BFT" to achieve high transaction throughput, low latency and more energy saving.
Aptos argues that Layer 1 blockchains should take on more responsibility for "scalability" so that mainstream adoption can increase. Therefore, Aptos does not intend to rely on Layer 2 to improve performance like the current Ethereum, but consider it in the underlying design. According to Aptos testnet data, the network can currently process more than 10,000 transactions per second, and ideally, the Aptos mainnet can process 160,000 transactions per second.
"Upgradability" is another key point emphasized by Aptos, which directly hits another pain point of many current blockchains - it is difficult to make major protocol improvements after launch. Therefore, Aptos manages and configures block validators directly through the on-chain state, so that upgrades can be quickly performed after community votes. Aptos validated this design, and it has experienced no network downtime in several major upgrades.
At the end of June this year, Aptos launched a $200 million ecosystem funding program, attracting more than 100 projects to deploy on the network, with scenarios covering DeFi, NFT, games, and more.
On July 21, Aptos announced some early projects on Twitter, including hyper-parallel CLOB protocol Econia, mobile multi-signature wallet Hive, application-integrated crypto wallet Martian, lending protocol NjordFinance, transaction aggregator Hippo Labs, Autodo Market trading application Pontem Network, etc.
In addition, known projects on Aptos include blockchain browser Aptosscan, NFT market Topaz.so, project indicator dashboard platform Dapptos View, NFT casting project Aptos Crown Masks, decentralized cross-chain wallet ONTO Wallet Wait.
Since Aptos is still in the beta stage, these applications are not developed for ordinary users.
Sui is a Layer 1 public chain developed from scratch by the Mysten Labs team and released in March this year. The founding team of Mysten Labs includes Evan Cheng and Sam Blackshear, both of whom have participated in the development of the crypto wallet Novi and the project Diem at Meta.
Like Aptos, Sui also uses Diem's development language Move, hoping to provide a new generation of smart contract underlying network with high throughput, low latency, and scalability to meet the needs of Web3 developers to deploy large-scale applications.
In terms of time, Sui was created earlier than Aptos, but its popularity and market expectations are far less than the latter. This may be because the development of Sui is slower. In May of this year, Mysten Labs released its first test network, Sui DevNet. Although the development is slow, Sui is the first network in the Meta series of public chains to issue native tokens. Not long after the testnet was announced, Sui announced the economic model of the native token SUI.
In the use of the Move language, Sui has upgraded and adjusted so that the language can write both smart contracts involving homogeneous encrypted assets and smart contracts involving non-homogeneous NFT assets.
In terms of scalability related to network performance, Sui focuses on transaction parallelization, that is, the network can process multiple transactions at the same time. In most blockchains, when transaction validators want to make incremental additions to blockchain transactions, they must do so in sequence, and these transactions often have no connection or dependencies between them. And Sui can lock the relevant data of a transaction and realize independent verification, so as to complete the parallel processing of transactions.
Through horizontal scaling of transaction parallelism, Sui attempts to meet the needs of applications running at high speed and at low cost. Because the capacity of the Sui network is proportional to the increase in the processing power of the validators, the gas fee of Sui does not increase even during periods of high network traffic.
At present, Sui Network has launched two encrypted wallets for testing: the official Chrome plug-in wallet Sui Wallet and the third-party wallet Ethos Wallet. Users can use these two wallets to experience transfers on the Sui network, and they can also try to mint NFTs.
In August this year, Sui will launch an incentivized test network, and during the testing phase, users will be rewarded for participating in the on-chain test.
The earliest introduction to the Linera public chain can be found in an official tweet released on June 18 this year. The content of the tweet only shows the official website link and mission. Compared with Aptos and Sui, Linera started the latest and is in a very early stage of development, that is, there is no test network, and no Token is issued, and only some conceptual ideas are disclosed.
Linera believes that a slow network is something that Internet users cannot tolerate. Therefore, the blockchain, which often experiences network congestion and applications that cannot respond in a timely manner, simply cannot be seen by Internet users. Therefore, Linera wants to build a blockchain network that can complete instant transactions, making applications in the Web3 world as smooth as Web2 applications.
Linera founder Mathieu Baudet worked as an engineer at Meta and helped create Diem's blockchain base. As the chief researcher and engineer of the crypto wallet Novi, he also co-invented the FastPay and Zef digital payment settlement systems, which claim to process transactions seven times faster than Visa.
Linera is committed to introducing the speed of these two payment systems into an application-oriented blockchain network, so that the operations of users on the chain can be confirmed in a fraction of a second.
Linera has not been explicitly developed in the Move language in the public information, only that the development is based on the Rust language.
In terms of network performance, Linera proposed the concept of "linear scaling" - doubling the system capacity by increasing the number of machines. Currently, blockchain models that prioritize "sequential" execution allow accounts and smart contracts to interact in a series of transactions (like flash loans), but prevent linear scaling. In Linera's linear scaling model, operations of different user accounts can run concurrently in different execution threads.
The modular public chain Celestia focuses on layering and improving efficiency
Celestia, formerly known as Lazyledger, is positioned as "the first modular layer1 blockchain network", trying to separate the consensus layer and execution layer of the blockchain, so that developers can focus on the execution layer without considering the reliability of the consensus algorithm and data on the build.
Celestia divides the consensus layer and execution layer in the network, and each layer handles different tasks and functions. Celestia itself, as a consensus layer, only undertakes transaction sorting and data verification. Specific transaction execution tasks can be outsourced to other professional blockchain networks for processing, and then the consensus layer and execution layer can be linked through tools.
We already know that a complete blockchain network needs to include three functional area layers: consensus algorithm layer, data storage layer and smart contract execution layer.
The consensus algorithm layer processes the algorithm according to the consensus mechanism, so that the nodes can reach a consensus on the validity of the block data and ensure the normal operation and security of the network. Mainstream blockchain consensus includes PoW (Proof of Work) and PoS (Proof of Stake).
The data storage layer stores all the data information of the blockchain from the genesis block to the latest block, mainly including each transaction information, transaction timestamp, public and private keys, etc.
The contract execution layer mainly includes scripts and codes of various smart contracts, which is the basis for the programmability of the blockchain.
At present, mainstream public chains such as Ethereum, BNB Chain, Solana, Near belong to a single public chain (Layer 1), that is, a public chain integrates multiple functions such as consensus, execution, and data storage on the same layer of network. It needs to be done in order and is a horizontal process.
Take Ethereum as an example, the generation of a block needs to complete the process of viewing submitted transactions, settlement processing, and block generation. The corresponding functional area layers are the contract execution layer, the consensus algorithm layer, and the data storage layer. These three layers The functional layers all work on the same network. All blocks must work in this order. If users want their transactions to be processed as soon as possible, they need to pay a higher gas fee in order to strive for the submitted transactions to be ranked forward. This is also the reason why the gas fee skyrockets during the peak usage period of Ethereum.
Therefore, to solve the performance pain points of the blockchain network, in fact, the main thing is to crack how to make the blockchain network low-cost and high-speed.
Layer 1 networks that compete with Ethereum (such as Solana) mainly speed up settlement by reducing the number of nodes, but such a network loses its decentralization characteristics.
Layer2, the Ethereum expansion network with Rollup as the mainstream technology, mainly achieves the high-speed goal by reducing the workload of the Ethereum execution layer. They put the transaction calculation of the execution layer off-chain without changing the Ethereum architecture. , and then compress the results in batches and feed them back to the chain to reduce the computational burden of the Ethereum main network.
Although Layer2 undertakes the work of the execution layer of the Ethereum main network, all transactions, settlements, and block generation are still processed on the same layer of a chain. Although the workload of the execution layer is reduced, the burden of the consensus layer and data storage layer is still very high. Heavy. The more skinny reality is that there are still very few smart contracts migrated to Layer 2 compared to the Ethereum mainnet.
Based on such pain points, Celestia separates execution, consensus, and data into multiple specialized layers - the execution layer is mainly responsible for executing transactions from users; the consensus layer is responsible for confirming the blockchain status and final settlement; the data layer (Data layer) Availability) provides raw data related to the transaction and confirms the validity of the data.
The Difference Between Celestia Modular Blockchain and Monolithic Blockchain.
Celestia does not want to build a Layer2 for Layer1. It is committed to building a public chain that separates the data layer, so that developers can only focus on the design above the data layer, without paying attention to the underlying data records. Simply put, Celestia is a public chain that stores transaction records and provides data availability.
That is to say, the Celestia network provides developers with a consensus layer and a data availability layer, which can provide computing and block generation services to other blockchains. Developers can use Celestia's two-layer functions without considering the consensus mechanism and data storage issues, and only need to do the execution layer according to their own needs.
It can be seen that the main service object of Celestia is developers. It provides developers with the idea of building a new blockchain network, that is, they only need to do the modules they are good at, and other modules can be handed over to the dedicated blockchain network. This approach enables the scalability, flexibility and interoperability of blockchains.
In the first half of 2021, Celestia announced its solution for a modular blockchain, and it has been in development since then until May of this year, when it released the testnet Mamaki, which provides developers with a way to build a modular blockchain network. At the same time, the plan of node operation is opened to the community. At present, its mainnet launch date has not yet been determined.
Whether it is the Mate series public chain that is committed to using a chain to support the characteristics of the blockchain, or the Celestia that plans to use a modular and hierarchical dismantling of the blockchain functions, they all try to jump out of the limitations of the previous generation of public chains, with new The idea of achieves the decentralization, security and high performance of the blockchain.
The "Impossible Triangle" of the blockchain is like a precious pearl on a tower, attracting generations of public chain developers to come and pick it up. After winning this pearl, the Web3 era may truly come.