The Blockspace Singularity

One of crypto's biggest flaws – a lack of mainstream use – could be going away.

AccessTimeIconJun 5, 2024 at 4:00 p.m. UTC

For years, crypto skeptics and believers alike have decried the lack of mainstream use cases for blockchain technology. Thousands of decentralized applications have been deployed, but mainstream use cases are scarce. That may be about to change.

A singularity, a point of infinitely dense matter, is theorized to have caused the Big Bang when one such point exploded, distributing matter throughout the universe. I think we’re at an analogous moment in the history of crypto.

Over the last year, developers have delivered fast, cheap blockspace to builders.

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The “majors” have made huge strides, with Ethereum (ETH) deploying its Dencun upgrade in March, reducing transaction costs for users of layer-2 blockchains to less than $0.01. Solana (SOL) has (largely) fixed the downtime issues that plagued it until last year, leading to a massive surge in economic value on the protocol.

New entrants have also been coming thick and fast. New layer-1 blockchains such as Sui, Sei, Aptos (APT) and others have launched in the past 18 months, promising unprecedented levels of throughput. This process is nowhere near complete, with yet another cohort of new and heralded blockchains expected to come to market with novel design elements throughout 2024 and beyond:

New L1 and l2 Launches

The experimentation stage begins

Chris Dixon, in his new book "Read Write Own," predicts that “a key moment will be when the infrastructure becomes so good that application developers no longer need to think about infrastructure.”

Since crypto began, application developers have only had to think about infrastructure. Even if you had a novel idea for a crypto use case, infrastructure limitations likely kept you from executing it.

Now that multiple blockchains with diverse designs can operate reliably at scale and low cost, developers can focus on what they can do, rather than what they can’t.

The figure below illustrates just how much tech there is to be experimented with:

Blockchain decision tree

Recently, we’ve seen novel ideas for decentralized social media and social finance; DePIN networks that utilize high throughput blockchain solutions to enable real-world utilities; and AI-adjacent tools such as decentralized compute networks and AI agent platforms.

Over time, novel applications will only get more popular and more performant as they work out what infrastructure best suits their needs. Perhaps this process will end with scaled applications running on modular solutions settling back to Ethereum, or maybe the monolithic vision will win, and Solana, Monad, Aptos or Sui will become the preferred blockchain of the masses. In the end, the market will decide what solutions work best once they can be tested at scale.

Read the rest of the article on our website: The Blockspace Singularity – Runa Digital Assets.

Note: The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CoinDesk, Inc. or its owners and affiliates.

Edited by Nick Baker.


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Ned Menton

Ned Menton is an investment operations analyst at Runa Digital Assets.