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Aptos launched in the midst of a vicious cryptocurrency bear market, back in October 2022. However, wider blockchain headwinds do not seem to have stymied this competing Move-based layer-1 blockchain.

What Is Aptos?

Background

Aptos was originally founded in 2021 by co-founders Mo Shaikh and Avery Ching. Both Shaikh and Ching were part of Meta’s shuttered blockchain initiative, Novi, and brought a Meta-heavy team along with them in the founding of Aptos.

Aptoslabs.com details that much of the Aptos team is credited with developing the technical innovations that power the Aptos blockchain—including the original creators of the Move language, the Move Prover, the BlockSTM parallel execution engine, and Narwhal/Bullshark/Shoal consensus mechanisms. They have developed Move objects and parallel token standards for the easiest and most performant developer experience.

Aptos stands as one of the most well-backed blockchain ecosystems in the cryptocurrency landscape today. In total, Aptos has raised more than $400 million in private funding, across two funding rounds, all of which took place in 2022, according to Crunchbase.

Aptos’ investor list is impressive, featuring well-known names in both the Web2 and Web3 venture space, such as Tiger Global, a16z, PayPal Ventures, Multicoin, and Dragonfly Capital.

How Does Aptos Work?

Fundamentally, Aptos is a smart contract layer-1 blockchain, that uses the Meta-born Move language for smart contracts construction. Aptos leverages the well-known Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism for network validation, and places notable emphasis on network scalability. 

Aptos scales using a method known as parallel execution, whereby transactions are processed in parallel, rather than in sequence, allowing for superior throughput and network ability to handle high volumes of traffic.

The State of The Aptos Network

Aptos’ Total Value Locked

Aptos currently boasts a total value locked on the network of more than $50 million – $51.65 million at time of writing, according to data from DefiLlama. 

Aptos Network TVL. Source: DefiLlama 

Though such a value is still overshadowed by that of Ethereum, with current TVL of more than $22 billion, Aptos’ figure is not at all unimpressive for an ecosystem that is just ten months in age, nor for one that launched just a few weeks prior to the infamous collapse of the FTX exchange. 

What’s more, at time of writing, Sui Network, perhaps Aptos’ most comparable competitor, is able to boast just $21 million.

It is worth noting also that Aptos’ TVL has held steady even through a turbulent period in the cryptocurrency markets that has seen such values diminish significantly across most all other blockchain ecosystems.

Aptos Network Analytics

A glance at Aptos’ network explorer tool can lend some insight into the current state of the Aptos Network from an activity and growth point of view. 

Aptos Transaction Counter (30D). Source: Explorer.AptosLabs.com

Over the month, Aptos’ transaction count has remained steady, typically registering between 400,000 and 700,000 transactions on the daily – figures that appear healthy for an early-stage network, garnering traction and development during a market downturn.

However, especially noteworthy are the days of August 10 and August which saw the network achieve around 1.5 million and 1.2 million transactions respectively. Given Ethereum daily transactions and their average of around 1 million transactions per day, Aptos’ achieving these levels, even sporadically, could be seen as an encouraging metric for the network.

What’s more, the number of new accounts being added to the network continues to grow, alongside other Aptos KPIs. Over the previous month, the Aptos Network has typically seen between 50,000 and 100,000 new accounts added per day.

Daily new accounts created on the Aptos Network. Source: Explorer.AptosLabs.com

The Aptos Ecosystem

According to the Aptos ecosystem pagehttps://aptosfoundation.org/ecosystem/projects/all, there are nearly 80 Aptos-specific projects building within the ecosystem. Below, we discuss just a small handful that are especially prominent within the network’s landscape.

Thala: Thala is an Aptos-specific decentralized finance application. The protocol is responsible for Move Dollar ($MOD), which is Aptos’ first and largest overcollateralized, decentralized stablecoin. However, it further introduced a swapping feature in ThalaSwap, in January 2023, inspired in part by Ethereum’s Curve Finance model.

Source: ThalaLabs.xyz 

Shortly after Aptos’ mainnet launch, Thala announced a $6 million funding round that saw investment from well-known VCs such as ParaFi Capital and Shima Capital.

What makes Thala especially noteworthy is its boasting of more than $20 million in total value locked. This makes it the single biggest contributor to Aptos’ own TVL of more than $50 million, according to data from DefiLlama

LiquidSwap: LiquidSwap is Aptos’ premier decentralized exchange/AMM. At time of writing, the DEX touts nearly $14 million in TVL, making it the second largest contributor to Aptos’ locked value.

Source: LiquidSwap.com

As with Thala, LiquidSwap is backed by some of the biggest names in the space, boasting investors such as Mechanism Capital, Delphi Digital, and Animoca Brands on its cap table. 

LiquidSwap has recorded a cumulative trading volume of nearly $130 million on its platform since launching in late 2022, shortly after the launch of the Aptos mainnet itself, according to data from DefiLlama.

Topaz: Topaz is the leading marketplace currently available for the sale and purchase of NFTs hosted on the Aptos Network. 

Source: Topaz.so

Currently, Aptos Monkeys are the most-traded Aptos NFT collection, having recorded nearly 470,000 APT in cumulative trading volume (approx. $2.76 million ~ CoinMarketCap), with the Aptomingos collection coming in at second with just shy of 180,000 APT (approx. $1.06 million).

$APT: Aptos’ Native Token

The primary purpose of Aptos’ native token, $APT, is for the paying of network gas fees, required to execute transactions on the Aptos blockchain. 

However, as Aptos leverages a Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism for validating transactions, would-be validators must hold and stake a certain amount of $APT tokens to participate in the running of the network and consequently earn rewards for doing so. 

In addition, $APT constitutes a governance token for the network, allowing holders to participate in key decisions, proposals, and changes that will impact the ecosystem as a whole. 

The price of $APT over time. Source: CoinMarketCap

$APT launched alongside mainnet in October 2022 and, following a sharp decline ostensibly driven by the FTX-collapse and a wider market downturn, achieved all-time high price levels of around $18.81 in later January 2023. At that time, the market capitalization of $APT stood at a staggering $3 billion.

Since then, and perhaps compounded by recent turbulence in the cryptocurrency markets, $APT has fallen to a current price level of approximately $5.9. Its market capitalization currently stands at around $1.34 billion, and its circulating supply translates to a fully-diluted valuation of more than $6.2 billion, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

Recent Aptos Updates

Building atop early momentum garnered by the Move-centric blockchain, Aptos has continued to procure and announce additional developments and partnerships. Below are just a few of their most recent.  

Aptos x Microsoft: In August 2023, Aptos Labs announced that it had secured a partnership with Microsoft geared, in particular, toward building out and developing the overlap between blockchain technology and artificial intelligence. 

The announcement declared plans to develop various products alongside the tech-giant including financial solutions and artificial intelligence tooling. 

Web3 Gaming: In recent days, Aptos further announced a partnership with Web3-gaming platform, Intella X, and South-Korean game publisher NEOWIZ. The announcement typified Aptos’ attitude towards building out the blockchain gaming ecosystem, and reducing the barriers to entry therein. 

Aptos x Outlier Ventures: Aptos has collaborated with well-known venture and accelerator fund, Outlier Ventures, and recently announced the participating projects from their joint Move-accelerator, designed to incubate and promote the growth of projects building with Aptos’ native Move programming language.

Aptos in 2023 – Takeaways

As with any project building in the wider cryptocurrency industry, Aptos’ growth has likely been blunted by adverse market conditions and sentiment, beginning with the collapse of FTX in late 2022, and more recently BTC’s dip below the $26,000 mark on August 18.

That said, and in spite of this, Aptos has seen an encouraging first 10 months in the blockchain ecosystem, and has witnessed impressive metrics, prices, and developments, throughout the period.

Its TVL is superior to that of comparable networks and its ecosystem of applications and activity continues to expand and mature. Complimented by a recent swathe of exciting developments and partnerships, Aptos may be considered primed for an exciting end to what has been a difficult 2023 for the industry at large.