What is Aptos?
Aptos is a new Layer 1 blockchain that is faster, more secure, and more scalable than other L1 blockchains that are live today. It was built by former Meta engineers, who also developed the Move language for this blockchain. The Aptos mainnet launched in October 2022.
Pontem is currently working in partnership with Aptos to build foundational dApps for their growing ecosystem. These products, such as our Pontem Wallet, Liquidswap Automated Market Maker (AMM), Move Code Playground, an EVM implementation, and more, will help fuel adoption of Aptos. But why are we laser-focused on Aptos?
In short, we believe Aptos is the best Layer 1 blockchain (meaning a standalone primary blockchain, such as Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, or Avalanche) in the crypto space today. Let’s dig deep into Aptos and see exactly why Pontem chose it as our partner.
History and Team
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.
Their focus was on creating a blockchain that advanced the “decentralization movement,” without sacrificing “reliability, safety and usability.” Shaikh and Ching felt these problems held back global blockchain adoption, “from the average individual to the largest enterprises in the world.” That’s why they re-assembled the original “creators, researchers, designers, and builders of Diem, the blockchain that was first built to serve this purpose.”
Aptos raised a staggering $450 million from the biggest players in crypto and Silicon Valley, including a16z Crypto, Multicoin Capital, ParaFi, Haun Ventures, PayPal Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, and more. This amount puts their valuation in “unicorn” territory - that is, above $1 billion.
The Move Language
One of Aptos’s key technical innovations is the Move programming language.
The key to understanding Move’s advantages is its use of resources. Simply put, resources are a highly protected method of storing key information in a system. Resources have high status in the code architecture, ensuring they can not be copied or unintentionally deleted.
Move stores crucial information, such as tokens and smart contracts, as resources, giving the language considerably improved security over competing blockchain programming languages. Move is used to implement all of the key elements of Aptos, including accounts, transaction fees, a standard library, validator node management, and configuration.
Pontem Network developed a unique Solidity-to-Move bytecode transpiler called ByteBabel. This tool allows developers to translate dApp code written for Ethereum into Move. This way, you can easily migrate Ethereum dApps to Aptos, Sui, and other Move-based blockchains. This technology allows developers to test the EVM at Aptos speeds, bringing us closer to a cross-chain Move ecosystem.
Other Security Features
Aptos was built with security in mind, so it has numerous other features beyond those built directly into Move. The blockchain uses a powerful consensus mechanism known as AptosBFT.
The Aptos consensus protocol is deemed to be Byzantine Fault Tolerant (BFT), which refers to the Byzantine General Problem. Imagine a group of generals who must decide on battle plans together. They suspect someone in the group is a traitor and providing false information. Their ‘dilemma’ is how to make a plan given these circumstances. In decentralized blockchains, the Byzantine General Problem refers to participants, particularly validators, who must work to confirm or deny transactions correctly without being able to implicitly trust each other. This is a common source of potential blockchain exploits.
Aptos’s BFT protocol keeps the network running smoothly, regardless of the actions of one validator, while also maintaining world-class speeds. Aptos uses a reputation system to update validator rotations and synchronizes voting using “pacemaker.” This system fully validates transactions in less than a second,a measurement typically called ‘time to finality. This is what makes it one of the fastest blockchains in production.
Aptos also has numerous features that protect end users from having their accounts exploited. Remember those famous stories of users who lost their crypto because they couldn’t remember their key? Aptos has built new, secure methods for key recovery, as well as key rotation systems that prevent fraud.
Speed and Scalability
Aptos is designed to be a future-proof blockchain, used around the world by both individuals and enterprises. But for that to happen, it needs to have world-class speed.
As we explained in a recent article, blockchain speeds can be measured in two ways: transactions per second (TPS) and time to finality (TTF). TPS refers to throughput, or how many transactions the network can commit per second. TTF refers to the amount of time between starting a transaction (e.g. sending crypto to a friend’s wallet) and that transaction taking effect (your friend having access to those tokens in their wallet).
Aptos is one of the fastest L1 chains in both senses, outperforming most competitors. Its TTF is less than one second, ranking it among ultra-fast chains like Avalanche and Fantom. Under perfect conditions, its TPS could reach an industry-leading 160,000.
So how does Aptos achieve these speeds? There are several key features that make it happen.
First, Aptos decoupled the consensus mechanism from the execution pipeline. This means that transactions can be organized almost like an assembly line, with consensus and execution occurring separately and optimized for simultaneous speed. Aptos also improved the HotStuff BFT engine to validate most transactions in just two network trips. This is far faster than the many rounds of voting other consensus mechanisms require to securely validate transactions. Finally, Aptos storage and data structures are optimized to improve speed and keep fees low.
At the same time, when framing blockchain capacity in TPS, it’s crucial to understand the difference between theoretical limits and practical usage. In order for Aptos to process 100,000 transactions per second, people need to actually make that many transactions, which would require hundreds of thousands of active users. The current load is far lower.
As of January 28, the Aptos mainnet has processed around 78 million transactions, which works out to about 7.15 transactions per second. This absolutely doesn’t mean that the network is slow; it’s just that only a tiny portion of Aptos’s potential is being used. In fact, 7.15 TPS is more than three times higher than speeds on Avalanche (2.2 TPS) and more than double that of Fantom (3.3 TPS).
Aptos bills itself as “the safest and most scalable Layer 1 blockchain.” “Safe” is easy to understand, but what does “scalable” mean? It refers to the ability of a system to “cope and perform well under an increased or expanding workload or scope.” As global adoption of blockchains accelerates, their performance requirements increase exponentially. NFTs are becoming even more popular as crypto and DeFi are used to replace fiat currencies, traditional payment systems, and institutional banking. And the stakes are only getting higher as DAOs are used to run more and larger organizations.
Aptos recognizes this need and has learned from other blockchains that no matter how performant a system is, it can only go so far without reliability (see Solana). In order to avoid hard forks or downtime, Aptos manages validators on-chain. This makes it simple to vote on and execute upgrades. Robust testing has allowed Aptos to enact several major upgrades without downtime and upgrade the network as needed.
Aptos’s use of state sync is one of its most fundamental future-proofing advances, which also greatly improves speed. On other blockchains, validators add new blocks to the chain by executing transactions, and other network users then replicate this data to use it. But Aptos, with its state sync protocol, allows non-validators to distribute this data to ensure everyone in the ecosystem is in sync. Furthermore, Aptos uses an accumulator to sync network nodes. Instead of downloading the entire transaction ledger, a node can use the accumulator to get the latest transaction.
Aptos Incentivized Testnet and Mainnet Launch
In addition to Pontem, which is building foundational tools for the Move ecosystem, Aptos has partnered with other companies to accelerate their growth. One of the most intriguing is Google Cloud, whose technology allows Aptos nodes to be set up in less than 15 minutes.
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. The next stage was an incentivized testnet, which ran between May and September 2022, attracting 30,000+ applications to participate. The incentivized testnet was a success, helping to identify bugs and vulnerabilities, test the upgrade process, and strengthen the network.
Aptos mainnet genesis took place on October 12, 2022 with 102 validators, though it was announced only on October 18. As of January 28, AptoScan lists 103 validators and more than 3 million unique Aptos addresses.
APT: Aptos Crypto Token
APT is the native cryptocurrency of Aptos. It is used to pay gas fees and secure the network through staking.
Since Aptos is not an EVM chain, you can’t add it to MetaMask. You will need an Aptos wallet to store APT. Among the most popular Aptos wallets are Pontem Wallet, Petra, Martian, and Fewcha. Of these, Pontem is the only Aptos wallet integrated with Ledger and available for iOS.
You can buy APT on Binance, KuCoin, Coinbase, Bitfinex, Kraken, and other large exchanges, as well as on Aptos DEXs like Liquidswap or PancakeSwap.
The total supply of APT is 1 billion. According to Mo Shaikh, Aptos tokenomics were designed to “fairly represent the community.” The share of the tokens that went to investors is just 13.48% with rather long lockup periods:
At the end of January 2023, APT ranked in the top 30 largest cryptocurrencies with a market cap of almost $3 billion and a token price of around $18. This is astonishing growth for a coin that was launched only 3.5 months ago.
Why did Aptos APT grow 400% in 2023?
In January 2023, APT dramatically outperformed the market, growing 440% (from $3.5 to $19) in just 3 weeks. In the same period, ETH rose just 36%. Aptos TVL is also growing fast.
What were the possible reasons behind Aptos’s explosive growth?
1) Launch timing: Aptos is the most advanced L1 blockchain to launch during the current bear market. It generated enormous interest, which created significant pent-up demand. As a result, APT was well-positioned when market sentiment turned more bullish at the start of 2023.
2) DeFi ecosystem news: Aptos attracted even more attention after PancakeSwap deployed on it. In November, PancakeSwap launched the first Aptos yield farming program known as Syrup Pools. In January, the CAKE community voted to continue the deployment. PancakeSwap eventually came to represent the majority of TVL on Aptos – and since PancakeSwap is one of the best-known projects in the DeFi space, a lot more people became interested in APT.
3) Short liquidations: Once the Aptos rally started, some traders tried to short APT, expecting the price to go down. Instead, it kept going up, forcing those traders to close their shorts or face liquidations, furthering the rally. This often happens when a very strong coin is trending.
We provide a much more detailed analysis of why APT is growing in 2023 in this article.
Aptos Ecosystem Today
The Aptos ecosystem already hosts more than 200 projects, with dozens of dApps live on the mainnet, and many more on the testnet. Here are some of the most popular:
- Aptos wallets: Pontem Wallet, Petra, Martian, Fewcha, Rise, Blocto
- Aptos DEX: Liquidswap, PancakeSwap, AUX, AnimeSwap, Obric, HoustonSwap, Aptoswap
- DEX aggregators: Hippo, Kana Labs (+ Aptos staking)
- Liquid staking: Ditto Finance, Tortuga Finance
- Lend & borrow on Aptos: Argo (deposit collateral and mint USDA stablecoins), Aries Markets (with added margin trading and leveraged swaps), Aptin Finance, Abel Finance.
- Aptos stablecoins: Argo (USDA)
- Yield farming: Liquidswap (Hydroponic Farms), PancakeSwap (Syrup Pools), Mole Finance (leveraged farming)
- NFT marketplaces: Topaz, Souffl3, BlueMove
- Launchpads: AptosLaunch, AptosLauncher
You can find detailed info on these dApps and more in our Aptos DeFi guide.
Aptos is also compatible with Ledger, using our Pontem Wallet. Simply download the Aptos app and connect Ledger to Pontem Wallet, to use your Ledger wallet with Liquidswap and any other Aptos dApp. Learn more from our detailed guide.
Pontem Network is a product studio building the first-ever suite of foundational dApps for Aptos. Pontem Wallet, the first wallet for Aptos, is available for Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and iOS (and an Android app is coming soon!)
Use Pontem Wallet to store and send any tokens on Aptos. The wallet is integrated with our Liquidswap DEX, the first DEX and AMM for Aptos, Topaz and Souffl3 NFT marketplaces, Ditto and Tortuga liquid staking platforms, Argo and Aries lending protocols, and all other major Aptos dApps.
Our other products include the browser code editor Move Playground, the Move IntelliJ IDE plugin for developers, and the Solidity-to-Move code translator ByteBabel – the first ever implementation of the Ethereum Virtual Machine for Aptos.