Sui Series: Introduction
While this emerging decentralized economy has seen exponential, albeit lumpy, growth over the past years, we have only scratched the surface in terms of discovering what experiences smart contracting platforms are capable of delivering. As use cases evolve and application development accelerates, platforms are poised to support ecosystems orders of magnitudes larger than those we have seen to date.
With each passing year, the likelihood of a “one blockchain to rule them all” outcome fades further and further into the rearview. But analyzing these platforms continues to be a challenging task. Traditionally, the blockchain scalability trilemma has provided a nice back-of-the envelope way of quickly evaluating blockchains.
Decentralization. Scalability. Security. They are words that are thrown around a lot in the blockchain discourse. But what do they really mean? And how should they be used to analyze different blockchain networks?
Dozens of smart contracting platforms have launched in tandem with Ethereum’s rise. Some are seeking to offer an easily adoptable alternative to Ethereum and challenge its status as the de-facto platform for launching decentralized applications. Others are taking a different approach centered on giving developers the highest level of flexibility in building their own blockchains and creating infrastructure to facilitate cross-blockchain communication.
They span platforms that very much embody the decentralized ethos of Ethereum to others that are pushing the limits of what minimal level of decentralization users will accept. They are making bold technical design choices primarily aimed at delivering scalability; a feature that Ethereum has historically lacked. The breakneck pace of development and competition amongst these platforms is not slowing down anytime soon.
At this juncture, there is a new wave of Layer 1 protocols led by former Facebook blockchain researchers: most well-known as Aptos, Sui and Linera. They share the use of a new programming language, Move, which is one of the core differentiators compared to previous layer 1s. However, looking inside, there are also important differences in their designs that bring unique opportunities and challenges.
Among them is Sui, a new proof-of-stake (PoS) and general purpose Layer 1 (L1) blockchain that is designed with high throughput, low latency, robust security, instant finality, and low fees. Through these ideal combinations, it aims to bring a high-performance network for broad adoption.
In September 2022, the project announced their $300 million Series B round with investors like FTX, Andreessen Horowitz, and Coinbase Ventures fund, valuing the smart contract platform at $2 billion. Mysten Labs, the project company behind Sui and led by Evan Cheng, former Director of Engineering at Facebook, asserts that Sui is able to scale horizontally “without any upper bounds”, enabling them to meet application demand whilst maintaining extremely low operating costs per transaction without sacrificing security and decentralization.
Here are the main known features of Sui:
- In traditional blockchains, all transactions are pushed into sequential blocks which creates wasteful computational power. Sui’s innovation is that they will organize data into independent objects, enabling transactions to be executed in parallel.
- The network is also able to scale throughput horizontally through parallel execution yet without sacrificing safety and liveness guarantees.
Despite the hype around the project, not much explanation has been given; thus, we expect why and how Sui is different and superior compared to traditional blockchains will be a focus for many discussions. Furthermore, there lacks Sui analysis evaluating against the layer 1 evaluation framework, the blockchain scalability trilemma. As a research and developer focused venture capital firm, L2 Iterative Ventures intends to cover extensive analysis on Sui, from technical deep dives on its architecture to its tokenomics model, and its prospects.
The particular series will start with the core technical design philosophy of Sui, covering the concept of Objects and the unique Ownership model of Sui, the first “object-centric parallel processing blockchain”. The understanding of these concepts will be the foundation for analyzing and evaluating other differentiating characteristics of Sui.
Second, the series will continue onto dissecting the Sui consensus, also known as the first “zero-communication consensus algorithm”, again focused on scalability. Understanding the low-level architecture and mechanism of this layer would be important in evaluating the network against the blockchain trilemma.
Third, the series will cover the uniqueness of Sui’s tokenomics, analyzing its business model and value capture mechanism, in addition to how its unique components contribute to the long-term sustainable scalability of the blockchain.
Lastly, the series will cover the Move language, designed and developed by Mysten Labs. We will talk about how Move was designed with an intention to be a coding language for facilitating digital financial transactions. Furthermore, we will explain how the Sui Move’s design not only provides improved, more secure developer experience, but also serves a role in Sui’s scalability mechanism.