Aptos, a new layer 1 blockchain, established by former Meta (META) employees, that promised extremely fast transaction speeds isn't living up to those brisk expectations on its first day.
On-chain data from Aptos’ block explorer shows the protocol is currently processing four transactions per second. During the development process the Aptos team said that its parallel execution engine was capable of processing 160,000 transactions per second (far above speed demon Solana’s advertised 65,000 per second).
Also, the vast majority of these, as Crypto Twitter personality Paradigm Engineer #420 pointed out, are not actual transactions from users but rather maintenance messages from validators writing metadata to the blockchain.
“It's hard to see how users can even use Aptos right now, I personally cannot find any rpcs nor connect with any validators to send transactions,” they wrote.
The engineer also pointed out that nearly 80% of the tokens on Aptos are staked, which they said will result in them being dumped on retail users.
In a post on the Aptos Discord, the team said the TPS shown was a "function of network activity" and having announced the activation of the mainnet only a few hours ago there are no user transactions yet. Those are expected to start tomorrow.
The race for a faster blockchain
As institutional interest in digital assets increases, there’s a hunt for infrastructure that can keep up to the demands of real-world finance applications. Right now, Ethereum in its current form can do a maximum of 15 transactions per second, and has done an average of 13 TPS during the past month. Ethereum 2.0, when complete, will have a theoretical ceiling of 100,000 TPS.
Venture capital firms have been enthusiastically looking for this nirvana, and hundreds of millions of dollars have been deployed to build out faster blockchains.
Jump Capital, as an example, has doubled down on its commitment to Solana, investing in fixing the back-end infrastructure of the once-hot protocol, which has suffered from a number of high-profile breakdowns during the last year.
Jump has also invested in Aptos, alongside FTX and a16z in Aptos’ $150 million series A round.
Trust from investors
But Ethereum, despite its sluggishness, still has the trust of investors with 58% of the total value locked in decentralized finance (DeFi) on that protocol, according to aggregator DefiLlama.
After Tron and Binance’s BNB Smart Chain, which have 10.2% and 9.9%, respectively, the rest of the total value locked (TVL) is split among protocols that have 1%-2% at most, like Solana, which has 1.72%.
Part of this long-tail distribution likely comes from the skepticism about the integrity of platforms.
This won’t bode well for Aptos as Ian and Dylan Macalinao, who operated under 11 different pseudonyms while building for Solana, say they are moving on to Aptos next.
UPDATE (Oct. 18, 2022 07:12 UTC): Adds details on amplification regarding transactions per second.
CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk offers all employees above a certain salary threshold, including journalists, stock options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.