‘Solana Killer’ Aptos Launches Its Highly Anticipated Mainnet

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With a secret sauce conjured in the bowels of Meta, and a mission to provide “the safest and most scalable layer 1 blockchain,” Aptos launched its mainnet today, the culmination of four years of technical development and a $1 billion valuation. Leading exchange FTX, an Aptos investor, has already announced that it will list Aptos’ APT token on Wednesday.

Dubbed a potential “Solana killer” by many, Aptos is the latest high-profile attempt to build the perfect blockchain for smart contracts, code that supports the sprawling world of NFTs, DAOs, and DeFi.

While Ethereum has taken a major leap forward following the merge, challengers like Solana are making inroads with much faster transaction speeds—albeit with occasional outages that left the door open to even newer players like Aptos.

In 2019, Meta (Facebook at the time) was working on its own blockchain project called Libra, later renamed Diem. Pressure from government regulators (and plenty of criticism from the crypto community) prompted the tech giant to shelve the project. But developers saw value in its key differentiator: “parallel execution,” or a method of ordering and combining transactions to rapidly accelerate the process.

In testing, Aptos claims it has handled 130,000 transactions a second, compared to 30 per second on Ethereum.

Also key to the nascent Aptos ecosystem is the affiliated Move programming language, which prioritizes scarcity and access control.

In the run-up to its launch, Aptos has been quite a VC attraction: it closed a $200 million strategic round from big players like Andreessen Horowitz back in March, and a $150 million Series A round led by FTX earlier this summer. The large amount of venture money it raised in a short time created a narrative among some Web3 circles that investors were ditching Solana for Aptos.

Aptos also selected Anchorage Digital as one of its preferred institutional custodians last month, following years of collaboration. Anchorage Co-Founder and President Diogo Mónica had previously served on the Diem technical steering committee.

Aptos called today’s launch a milestone in a “movement aimed to bring the masses to Web3.”

“We are proud to arrive here together, for the people,” the project wrote on Medium. “This is step one in a long journey to create universal and fair access to decentralized applications for billions of people through a safe, scalable, and upgradable blockchain.”

Time will tell whether the Aptos approach to transaction execution will prove to be a silver bullet, or if it will attract a sufficient community of blockchain developers to build with it and its proprietary language.

Aspiring “Twitter VC ghostwriter” @ParadigmEng420 was not impressed with today’s launch, reporting a breakdown in communications, lower transactions-per-second than promised, and raising questions about the allocations of Aptos tokens.

Singapore-based blockchain engineer and venture lead Siddhanjay Godre, however, praised the launch, saying Aptos’ parallel execution model and very strong community “is likely to compete with ETH in [the] near future.”

With today’s Aptos launch, many developers are now waiting for the pending launch of the Sui blockchain, which also uses the Move language and shares much of Aptos’ DNA. But skeptics and Solana loyalists are already bracing for a battle.

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