Aptos: why the hype?

Launched at the end of 2022 by former engineers from the Diem project (formerly Libra), the Aptos protocol is proving a huge success. We met the Aptos team in Paris to find out more.

It's one of the sensations of this early 2023 on the crypto market. The Aptos project's cryptocurrency, APT, has gained 400% in one month and has just topped 2.5 billion in capitalisation.

The project isn't too well known in Europe, but in the US it's getting a lot of buzz, mainly for two reasons:

  • The first is that it's backed by almost all the big investors in the sector. Andreessen Horowitz, Circle, Binance, Coinbase, PayPal, Jump Crypto, Multicoin, and even FTX - before it exploded - have invested in the project. In total, all these players have injected $350 million.
  • The second is that it was created by former engineers from the Diem project, the digital currency project of Meta (ex-Facebook) abandoned in 2022.

The aim of Aptos is not to take over the Diem project completely, but to build on its legacy, and on what the developers have learned about the "Move" programming language.

"At the end of the Diem adventure, we said to ourselves that we shouldn't stop there," explains Mohammad Shaikh, co-founder of Aptos, who was visiting Paris. "A large part of the team followed us for this new project."

A protocol designed for gaming and new social networks

Aptos is a layer 1 blockchain, in other words an infrastructure project like Ethereum or more recently Solana or Avalanche. "Aptos is a very fast blockchain that aims to focus on gaming and new social networking platforms," insists Mohammad Shaikh.

To achieve this, the protocol is banking in particular on partnerships such as the one it has forged with Npixel, a South Korean video game studio that announced in early January the Web3 adaptation of Gran Saga, a hit game available on iOS and Android.

The worldwide release is scheduled, for the time being, for the second quarter of 2023. "They are strong in communication, but there are a lot of announcements in regarding gaming. We'll have to wait and see what they really deliver," huffs a competitor.

Should we expect other projects of this type on Aptos? "Our aim is to make ourselves known, to present our vision, and other projects, particularly from Web2 giants, will follow," stresses Bashar Lazaar, in charge of the ecosystem and partnerships.

A successful launch according to node operators

While the protocol certainly lacks applications and users (that's to be expected, its network launched in mid-October), it has already won over staking specialists.

"The launch of Aptos has been a real success," says Ernest Oppetit, Chief Product Officer at Kiln. "Thanks to their Move language, which includes formal verification of smart contracts and a less complex scalability architecture than on Ethereum, they have quite interesting potential," he insists.

The project can also rely on very attractive incentives to become a validator and hope to earn up to 7% return per year. Not to mention the upside potential of the APT crypto.

As a sign that Aptos is aimed primarily at large companies, the cryptocurrency threshold required to manage a validation node has been set at 1 million APT, or around $17 million at the current price.

"This may present a barrier for the general public, but we wanted to start with a very robust ecosystem," concludes Bashar Lazaar. According to our information, this limit could soon be lowered.

What could prevent Aptos from continuing to develop? Beyond the technical debates, it may be the polemics and poor commercial choices.

At its launch, almost half of the APT tokens were reserved for the foundation and private investors. The latter will be able to start selling their assets from October 2023... "It's a bad signal for a protocol that's just getting off the ground," blows one expert, "Solana has been much criticised for its dependence on venture capital funds, but with Aptos we've undoubtedly crossed a new threshold."

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