Looking around Twitter posts and crypto publications, the names of Sui and Aptos always come up. What’s going on with these new high-throughput L1 blockchains? Why do they attract investment from companies like a16z, FTX, Multicoin, etc.? We found that both blockchains have deep historical roots with Diem, and both use a new programming language, Move.
In this article, we will discuss the features of Move in depth, and briefly introduce blockchains such as Sui and Aptos that use Move, then review the birth of Solidity/EVM, and finally compare whether Move and MoveVM can create their own vibrant ecosystem .
1. The origin of Move
2. The advantages of Move
3. The development ecology of Move
4. Solidity/EVM: How it became the most dynamic developer ecosystem
5. The future of the Move language
1. The origin of Move
Move is a Rust-based programming language developed for Meta’s Diem blockchain project. The team was working on other smart contract languages at the time, but none had the characteristics of scarcity, determinism, and verifiability, so they built Move.
2. The advantages of Move
Move is platform-agnostic, enabling shared libraries, tools, and developer communities across blockchains. The Move language is designed with an emphasis on security and is designed to avoid many of the situations that Web 3.0 users suffer from, including but not limited to re-entrancy vulnerabilities, poison tokens, and spoofed token approvals approvals), etc. Digital assets should also be considered resources, which means that digital assets cannot be arbitrarily copied or accidentally destroyed.
For additional protection, Move can be developed with the Move Prover verification tool, which allows developers to write formal specifications for key features of their applications and use a validator to check that the code executes correctly within 30 seconds.
3. The development ecology of Move
1. Sui by Mysten Labs
(1) What is Sui and what is the background of the team?
Mysten Labs’ Sui is a decentralized proof-of-stake blockchain with horizontally scalable throughput and storage. The team behind Mysten Labs comes from Novi Research, the advanced blockchain R&D department within Meta, working on the operation and encryption of the Diem blockchain and the Move programming language. The founding team includes CEO Evan Cheng, CPO Adeniyi Abiodun, CTO Sam Blackshear (founder of Move), Chief Scientist George Danezis, and Chief Cryptographer Kostas Chalkais.
(2) Financing events
Mysten Labs is in talks to raise a $200 million Series B at a $2 billion valuation, led by FTX Ventures. Mysten Labs raised $36 million in a Series A round led by Andressen Horowitz in late 2021.
Sui is expected to process over 120,000 TPS, processing independent transactions in sub-seconds, and for more complex transactions (shared objects) in 3 seconds. Transaction dependencies are mapped out before being executed, allowing independent transactions to be processed via Byzantine consistent broadcast, while transactions involving shared objects are handled by another consensus protocol called Narwhal & Tusk.
(4) Move language on Sui
When Sui uses Move, it makes some changes to Move’s core functionality, especially with regard to global storage operators and key capabilities. These changes preserve the security and flexibility of Move, but optimize storage and addressing mechanisms, resulting in improved network performance and reduced transaction confirmation times.
(5) Development Roadmap
Sui DevNet has been publicly released since May, and the team has announced an incentivized testnet launch in August 2022. Registration for the Sui Hackathon has also been open since the end of June.
(6) Ecological projects
Information on projects developed on Sui has been sparse. So far, the Chrome extension self-hosted wallet Sui Wallet has been launched, while third-party Ethos Wallet has been used on DevNet.
(1) What is Aptos and who is behind it?
Aptos is a layer 1 blockchain whose mission is to create universal and fair access to decentralized assets for billions of people. Aptos was co-founded by CEO Mo Shaik and CTO Avery Ching, former chief software engineer for blockchain solutions within Meta. Before joining Meta, Mo worked at Conesnsys, BlackRock and Boston Consulting Group, while Avery was with Yahoo. The rest of the Aptos team consists of PhDs, researchers, engineers, designers, and strategists with work experience in Meta, Novi, Amazon, VMware, and more.
(2) Financing events
Aptos closed a $200 million investment led by a16z in March, with participation from Tiger Global, Katie Haun, Multicoin Capital, 3 Arrows Capital, FTX Ventures and Coinbase Ventures, followed by an FTX investment on July 25 Ventures led a $150 million financing round.
Aptos can now reach up to 10,000 TPS, with a theoretical maximum throughput of 160,000 TPS. Most transactions are verified after two network broadcasts, with a finalization time of 250 milliseconds. The key to Aptos’ high throughput is the ability to separate the transaction execution layer from the consensus protocol, achieve parallel execution capabilities through Block-STM, and achieve sub-second latency through state synchronization. The consensus engine was adapted from Diem’s 4th iteration of HotStuff and his team.
(4) Move language on Aptos
Aptos extends the core MoveVM with additional capabilities through an adapter layer, including parallelism through Block-STM, concurrent execution of transactions without user input, tables for mass storage in accounts, storage of keys, and decoupling The amount of fine grained storage data in an account affects the Gas Fee for transactions related to the account.
(5) Development Roadmap
Aptos DevNet has been publicly released since March, and the team has completed Phase 1 of 4 planned Incentivized Testnets and is currently working on Phase 2. Aptos also announced a grant program in June to further accelerate the rapid growth of the Aptos ecosystem, with applications now open and future-ready.
(6) Ecological progress
There are more than 1,500 forks on the Aptos core repository, and there are now more than 100 projects across DeFi, NFTs, games, etc. that are expected to be deployed on the mainnet. Teams such as Pontem Network, the Macalinao brothers, Nutrios, PayMagic, MartianDAO, Solrise and others are already preparing for the Aptos mainnet launch, which is expected around the end of September.
3. Other blockchains using the Move language
(1) 0L – an L1 blockchain protocol obtained from Fork in the open source code base created by Diem. The open source project started in 2019 as a community-driven initiative with no corporate sponsors, venture capital or foundation.
(2) Starcoin – a smart contract platform using enhanced proof-of-work consensus and Move language. It optimizes the construction of different ecosystems such as DeFi, NFT, games, etc. through layering and flexible interoperability.
4. Comparison of Sui/Aptos with other blockchains
Multi-dimensional comparison of four public chains
Origin: Aptos, Solana Explorer, Etherscan, Sui Node, Aptos Node, Solana Node, ETH Node
From the above comparison, Sui and Aptos are similar to Solana in executing transactions in parallel and thus have higher throughput.
However, both Sui and Aptos are closer to Ethereum when it comes to running a full validator node, as the barrier to entry is lower, which will contribute to greater decentralization of the community-validated network.
Interestingly, Sui and Aptos have much lower storage requirements than Solana and Ethereum. Once there are more similar historical states on the two nascent blockchains, then we need to see if the larger storage space is worthwhile.
5. Solidity/EVM: How it became the most dynamic developer ecosystem
To fully understand the evolutionary path Move/MoveVM took to build its own programming language and virtual machine, we need to review Solidity/EVM and how they became the de facto smart contract programming language today.
In the early days, there were two ways to write smart contracts on the new blockchain.
a) Use an existing programming language and run it through the Universal Virtual Machine WebAssembly (WASM)
b) Building a new programming language and a new virtual machine from scratch.
While Solidity and EVM have gone down the road less traveled, it appears to be bearing fruit after the DeFi boom of 2020. So how does Solidity/EVM outperform the general-purpose WASM VM? Starcoin core developer @jolestar believes there are three reasons:
a) A common language is more suitable for operating systems than blockchains. If functions such as operating system calls, file I/O, hardware, networking, and concurrency libraries are stripped away, there are minimal libraries shared between smart contracts and programming languages. This defeats the purpose of using a general-purpose programming language, since the main advantage of a programming language is to leverage existing shared libraries in the developer ecosystem.
b) While in theory WASM can support different programming languages, the reality is that programming languages with runtime systems (e.g. Go, Java) are not suitable for blockchain because once compiled there will be a large number of binaries. This effectively limits the programming languages to C, C++, and Rust, and from a new developer’s point of view, is not much different from Solidity in terms of learning difficulty. Additionally, various programming languages can lead to unexpected fragmentation of the developer ecosystem.
c) Given that each chain has different state handling mechanisms, even if they run on the same WASM VM, interoperability is still an issue. Since the smart contracts on each chain cannot be directly migrated to different chains, there is also the problem of fragmentation of the developer ecosystem.
Additionally, Solidity has proven user stickiness given its reproducible open source library. Being able to use audited code is a huge convenience for application developers; know that secure smart contracts require security audits, where every line of code incurs an additional cost.
A larger ecosystem of developers from the EVM community contributes to a large amount of audited code, which will encourage more developers to build EVM.
6. The future of the Move language
Move/MoveVM is now following the same path as Solidity/EVM, and there is some data showing that it does.
Source: a16z State of Crypto
Solana has made a similar choice, building its own virtual machine using the programming language Rust, and could see massive developer activity on the Move chain similar to Solidity’s early growth trajectory. User-wise, Solana has also established itself as the chain with the highest number of active accounts on daily, 7D, and 30D metrics.
Given that FTX Ventures is an investor in Sui and Aptos, we believe they can help develop the Move ecosystem, as they did during the Solana bootstrapping phase. To sum up, both Sui and Aptos are making a big push for their DevNets, including incubation rewards and hackathons, and we expect developer activity to increase in the coming months.
Additionally, to help overcome the initial lack of developer resources for the new programming language, and to assist in the gradual migration of developers from other languages to the new language, projects such as Pontem have developed a fork of Diem MoveVM that can now be deployed on other existing chains, Such as Polkadot, Cosmos, Avalanche, etc., and a new EVM compatible with MoveVM is being developed.
Overall, we believe that Move is a language that can provide a safer, faster and simpler way to write smart contracts, and it will be the foundation layer of a strong and vibrant developer ecosystem. Use Move to build next-generation Web3 applications to attract more Web3 users.
Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing our more in-depth findings and analysis of the Sui and Aptos blockchains.
The completion of this article must be thanks to Jolestar, who provided his technical expertise and perspective. Jolestar was an early adopter of Move and a core developer of Starcoin.
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