Aptos – The New Move-based Layer 1 Chain

Meta’s failure to launch its blockchain-based stablecoin project Diem has caused a rift. It has led several of its employees to leave and develop their own Layer 1 blockchains. The first of these to launch – and do so with a bang – is Aptos.

Aptos Unpacked

Aptos is a Proof-of-Stake-based Layer 1 blockchain that combines parallel transaction processing with a new smart contract language called Move. With this, they achieve a theoretical transaction throughput of over 100,000 transactions per second. The project is the brainchild of two former Meta engineers, Mo Shaikh and Avery Ching.

Aptos first made waves in the crypto industry in March this year. The buzz was about it emerging to have raised $200 million in a seed round. One led by the renowned venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. 

In July, the startup raised another $150 million at a $1.9 billion pre-money valuation in a Series A funding round. This was led by FTX Ventures and Jump Crypto, before its valuation hit $4 billion two months later.

It is worth highlighting that Aptos did all this before launching its blockchain. The blockchain only went live on mainnet on October 17. 

To reward the early users of its testnet and fairly distribute the initial token allocation, Aptos airdropped 150 APT tokens to 110,235 eligible addresses. 

According to CoinGecko data, Aptos currently has a fully diluted market capitalization of around $9.2 billion. This figure is despite launching only a few days ago with little activity happening on the network. Beyond its provenance and links to Meta, the project’s valuation has raised questions. 

What Makes Aptos Special?

Furthermore, from a technical perspective, the driving force behind Aptos can be boiled down to two things. One is Move, the Rust-based programming language independently developed by Meta. And the network’s unique parallel transaction processing abilities.

Move is a new smart contract programming language that emphasizes safety and flexibility. Its ecosystem contains a compiler and a virtual machine. Furthermore, it also has many other developer tools that effectively serve as the backbone of the Aptos network. 

Although Meta originally wanted Move to power the Diem blockchain, the language was designed to be platform-agnostic. Furthermore, there are also  ambitions to evolve into the “JavaScript of Web3” in terms of usage. In other words, Meta intended for Move to become the developers’ language of choice. One for writing safe code involving digital assets quickly.

Using Move, Aptos was built to theoretically achieve high transaction throughput and scalability without sacrificing security. It leverages a pipelined and modular approach for the critical stages of transaction processing.

A Faster Approach

For context, most blockchains, especially the top ones like Bitcoin and Ethereum, execute transactions and smart contracts sequentially. In simple terms, this means that all transactions in the mempool—where all submitted transactions await confirmation by the network’s validators—must be verified individually and in a specific order. 

Consequently, the growth of the network’s computing power doesn’t translate into faster transaction processing. This is because the entire network is effectively doing the same thing and acting as a single node.  

Aptos differs from other blockchains in its parallelized approach to transaction processing and execution. This means that its network leverages all available physical resources to process many transactions simultaneously. 

Other Layer 1 networks and sidechains making similar claims, including Solana and Polygon, have suffered numerous network outages since their inception.