Aptos: Is it the Solana Killer?

By  Pratik April 18, 2024

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If there's anything more exciting in the crypto world than the emergence of ridiculous dog coins (occasionally sporting a hat) and their astronomical returns—it's the battle between different blockchains. While Ethereum has firmly established itself as a top-tier Layer-1 blockchain, several contenders are poised to challenge its dominance. Solana, for instance, is often referred to as the "Ethereum Killer," whereas Aptos has been dubbed the "Solana Killer"!

So, does Aptos really have what it takes to dethrone Solana? Well, before we figure that out, let's take a quick look at what Aptos is all about:

What is Aptos?

The Aptos blockchain stands as a Layer 1 network renowned for its high scalability, operating outside the EVM framework and embraces AptosBFT, a Byzantine Fault Tolerant PoS consensus. Aptos is constructed on the Move programming language, initially conceived for Meta's Diem initiative. Now rebranded as Aptos Network, the project has amassed over $350 million in funding across various investment rounds, with prominent backers including a16z, Jump Crypto, and Circle Ventures.

Founded by Avery Ching and Mo Shaikh in October 2022, Aptos leverages a modular approach for transaction processing, which enables high throughput and low latency. Their native token, APT, facilitates the payment of transaction gas fees and enables network participation through staking. The Aptos mainnet was launched on October 12th, 2022, with an initial supply of one billion APT tokens, while the current circulating supply is approaching 400 million tokens.

Unique Features

The Aptos blockchain boasts several standout features, such as:

  • It can batch, pipeline, and parallelize transaction processing, providing high throughput and low latency between validators.
  • Its parallel transaction processing capability can handle complex transactions without compromising transaction atomicity.
  • Aptos offers on-chain key management techniques and transaction pre-signing summaries.
  • A modular design approach facilitates easy module upgradeability and configurability. Auditors can model threats at the component level, allowing for more granular testing of smart contracts.
  • Aptos can scale horizontally through sharding.

Now that we understand what it's all about, how does it stack up against Solana?

Solana: Next Best Blockchain?

Solana's Meteoric Rise

Solana has undeniably raised the standard in the blockchain space with its remarkable transaction speeds and cost-effectiveness. Boasting a capability to process around 65,000 transactions per second, it has gradually emerged as the preferred choice for developers and users seeking efficiency and scalability.

Thanks to its impressive speed and low fees, Solana has emerged as a prominent competitor among Layer 1 blockchains. It has likewise experienced significant growth—outpacing the overall bullish trend in the industry. Throughout 2023, Solana's value surged by over 400%, securing its position as the 5th largest token by market capitalization. Moreover, the Solana ecosystem now hosts more than 3000 decentralized applications (dApps), with notable projects like Helium, Raydium, and Stepn contributing to its success.

Solana's 404 Outages

However, it's not all sunshine and rainbows for Solana. It has encountered multiple network issues in the past, with several reports of outages that have cast doubt on the network's reliability. The most recent incident occurred in February of this year and lasted a good five hours. Since January 2022, Solana has experienced approximately six significant outages and 15 partial or major outage days, according to a news outlet .

Aptos excels in this aspect, but it's important to consider that Solana hosts a significantly larger number of dApps and processes a higher volume of transactions, thereby requiring greater technical bandwidth. It's in the core features where Aptos distinguishes itself from Solana. Let's take a close look at how Aptos aims to outperform Solana in its own game

Clash of the Titans: Aptos v/s Solana

  1. Advanced Security: Aptos utilizes the "Move Prover" for enhanced security measures, ensuring safer transactions and smart contract interactions, while Solana focuses on its novel Proof of History (PoH) consensus mechanism for high throughput and low latency.
  2. Sub-second Finality: Aptos offers faster transaction finality, which is crucial for applications that require quick liquidations and risk management, such as DeFi platforms. Solana's block time is approximately 400 ms, which is still impressive but slightly slower than Aptos' sub-second finality.
  3. Fungible Asset Standard: Aptos has a built-in Fungible Asset Standard that could make it more suitable for real-world asset tokenization (RWAs) and other similar applications, while Solana's priority is on providing a high-performance blockchain for general use.
  4. Transaction Cost: Although Solana boasts an impressive transaction fee, Aptos has recently lowered their fees substantially, making it more cost-effective for users. As per Aptos' official announcement , recent technical upgrades have led to a roughly 10X reduction in costs.
  5. Performance Improvements: New load-testing results show that Aptos can reach approximately 130,000 transactions per second, which is significantly higher than Solana's current performance.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Aptos and Solana are quite similar. Both operate as Layer 1 blockchains capable of hosting programmable smart contracts and boast their own set of strengths & weaknesses. While the crypto community is divided on which one's better, some argue that Aptos' biggest edge is its Move programming language. Considered to be extremely developer-friendly, it attracts more developers to the network, leading to the development of more applications and a growing user base. Conversely, proponents of Solana point to its use of Rust language—which despite its steep learning curve— benefits from an already established developer base.

As you can see, determining a clear winner is challenging. Moreover, it's essential to understand that the blockchain space doesn't have to be a zero-sum game. Both Aptos and Solana could continue to flourish, each serving different developers, applications, and end-users. The idea of a "multi-chain" environment could become a reality where multiple blockchains coexist and thrive together. A concept that is similar to how Windows, macOS, and Linux coexist in the tech world, or Coinbase, Kraken and Binance in the Web3 space.

With that being said, one thing is quite clear: Aptos is undoubtedly a contender worth watching, one that has the potential to reshape our expectations of blockchain technology.