Reversing the technology? Aptos and Sui are actually consortium chains, their survival depends on the patience of capital.

This is Whistle’s second article, about why Aptos and Sui do not work.

Regardless of capital or technology endorsement, Aptos and Sui are both very capable. But they actually have no blocks, no chains, and no future.

This issue’s podcast invited technical expert Steven, who interpreted Aptos and Sui as distributed networks from the perspective of a communications engineer. The bombshell conclusion is that their technical logic does not hold up.

The following is a simplified text version:

Beichen: Before we chat formally, please introduce yourself.

Steven: I am a technical person who has been doing communication work for 20 years, and I have a certain understanding of distributed systems. All blockchain technologies can be analyzed from the perspective of distributed systems. I hope my views will help everyone.

Beichen: Let me add a little bit. Steven is a technical expert who often makes bombastic statements about blockchain. This time, we invited Steven to systematically analyze some public chains, which will be a series. Today, let’s start with several public chains in the Move language ecosystem.

Steven: My bombshell statement is that Sui is not the correct direction for blockchain. It is strange that in the past year, no one has pointed out that Sui, Aptos, and Linera, the three public chains that came out of Meta, have problems, but the problems are actually very obvious.

Beichen: This is also one of my confusions. People in the currency circle seem to be quite ignorant. For example, when Dfinity appeared before, many technical people in the currency circle were very excited, thinking that its narrative was grand and could solve many problems, but in fact, that was the story of cloud native. Microsoft and IBM have been doing it for many years.

Steven: That’s it. Most of the technical people in the currency circle are software engineers, and they care about whether they can implement new functions. Move language runs more efficiently and has capital to promote it, which is enough.

I am a communications engineer who looks at blockchain as a distributed system, and is concerned about the states of each part of the system and the overall efficiency and security of the final formation, so I can see some big problems.

For example, Solana’s CTO used to work at the same company as me, so when he created Solana as a communications engineer, as a communications engineer myself, I immediately understood the starting point of those technologies. If it were to be viewed by a cryptographer, there would definitely be a different perspective.

Also, I think it is not the correct approach to criticize Aptos and Sui because the capital behind them is too powerful.

北辰: So no one dares to say anything?

Steven: It’s not that they don’t dare, it’s that ordinary software engineers don’t need to care about this, and communication engineers either have conflicts of interest or simply don’t care about it.

But I think someone in this industry should stand up and point out which projects have promoted technological progress and which projects are purely for cutting leeks.

Now the blockchain industry is in a dilemma-since Ethereum, there has not been any new technological paradigm. This is a relatively dangerous signal for the blockchain, but in such a long time, capital has been busy cutting leeks, and technology has catered to capital to do this kind of work, and the leeks naturally follow the trend.

Satoshi Nakamoto did not create Bitcoin for these things, but as a continuation of the cypherpunk movement, it uses technological progress to promote social progress and avoid large centralized institutions from encroaching on individual freedom. But now the circle is the opposite, a small number of people with technology are exploiting and plundering the majority of people with worse technology, which is by no means Satoshi Nakamoto’s ideal.

北辰: We will start with the first question. Many people are optimistic about the public chains that use the Move language, thinking that it solves the pain points of the blockchain. So do you think the Move language is better than the Solidity language?

Steven: Move and Solidity cannot be compared because their foundations are different, so there is no such thing as which one is better.

Solidity is a compiled language born for Ethereum and must be executed in the Ethereum virtual machine. It is a Turing-complete language. Of course, it has many problems, which will not be discussed here.

Move language was created by Facebook for the Libra project, and it was written based on Rust language. Libra is essentially a standard consortium chain, and all nodes are official access nodes. Therefore, Move language is born for consortium chains. It inherits Rust language’s hardware resource management, has good parallelism, and then programs resources at the type level.

Rust is a compiled language, while Move language is an interpreted language. Later, it was inherited by projects such as Aptos and Sui, but the technical logic of these projects is problematic, which determines that it has no future in terms of technology, unrelated to Move language itself.

For public chains, Move language is not a good language, because if you are out of projects such as Aptos and Sui, Move language cannot be used.

Beichen: Move language is still very attractive to developers.

Steven: What is attractive is Aptos and Sui. If you do projects on them, you must use Move language, but Move language cannot run on other blockchains.

Beichen: So, are the products developed on these Move language public chains more advantageous than other high-performance public chains (such as Solana)?

Steven: It has nothing to do with the language. All public chains starting from Libra have problems, which is the root of all problems.

Beichen: Then, specifically compare the technical characteristics of these three Move language public chains, Aptos, Sui, and Linera. Which one do you think may be stronger technically?

Steven: As public chain projects, they are not real blockchains, or the direction they represent is very bad, which will lead the entire blockchain world towards a negative technological trend.

Their entire system is inherited from Libra, with some improvements, but the improvements are not significant. Linera has relatively few publicly available technical materials, so I mainly talk about Aptos and Sui.

Beichen: So let’s talk about Libra before talking about Aptos.

Steven: Libera is an unfinished product. It is just a versioned relational database that only uses transactions as carriers, recording transactions and outputting results and ledger status of a distributed transaction settlement system.

Note that it updates the ledger status every transaction, which is completely different from traditional blockchain. The blockchain ledger only adds fields and does not modify existing ones.

This way of controlling global state is suitable for consortium chains, not for public chains. Since its high performance is achieved at the expense of decentralization and security, a centralized system with a little cryptography is enough, and there is no need to use blockchain.

北辰: So do you think Aptos, which inherits Libra, is also unnecessary?

Steven: Aptos has some good designs in practical use, such as changing private keys after generating account addresses, and wallets can be recovered by multiple signatures, which is the same as traditional bank account recovery. However, implementing these functions will bring greater security risks because there are logical problems in the data structure, which lowers the security level of the distributed system.

北辰: Specifically, which operations of Aptos cause the security level to decrease?

Steven: The accounting method of Aptos is to use the key value of the entire account as an operable data structure, and then set a timestamp to arrange the execution order on the blockchain, which does not require extensive consensus among miners.

This is the practice of consortium chains, treating all nodes as a cluster for management, and its shared memory pool protocol is equivalent to the buffer zone in traditional business clusters. Therefore, although Aptos improves operational efficiency, it is vulnerable to attacks because the timestamp is proposed by the Leader in the validator, and the block time can be easily predicted.

Although all BFT algorithms have this security risk, other public chains that use BFT algorithms are still relatively careful. For example, after Ethereum is converted to POS mechanism, all mining nodes also use BFT algorithms in the merge stage, but all nodes are at the same level, and random numbers determine which nodes to package all transactions, which can ensure the security of the entire chain.

Therefore, the basic logic of the data structure of Aptos’ claimed parallel processing is incorrect-it does not determine the order of precedence based on the linked list structure, and determines the global state by packaging. It does not have blocks or chains, it is just a relational database.

This is why Aptos can modify and delete data, because it is not a blockchain, it’s not much different from traditional relational databases.

Aptos is a group of Web2 vendors’ server clusters providing service to everyone. In order to make it look like a blockchain, it adds state control to each operation, which makes it efficient. However, the number of nodes must be controlled, because if there are too many nodes, the efficiency of state synchronization will decrease.

It can be said that Aptos has removed the decentralization and security from the blockchain impossible triangle, so efficiency is meaningless.

Beichen: Next let’s talk about Sui.

Steven: Aptos and Sui have similar problems, namely not all nodes need to reach consensus.

Aptos at least tries to move towards the direction of blockchain based on Libera (although it cannot change the nature of the consortium chain), while Sui simply admits that it is a distributed smart contract execution platform and has nothing to do with blockchain.

Sui divides transaction attributes into simple transactions and complex transactions. Simple transactions are ended with just a signature, while complex transactions only need Byzantine consensus. That is to say, any transaction can theoretically be verified independently by submitting it to the system, and only needs to do one state synchronization in the end. This is really letting go of oneself, it is no different from traditional clusters, and the efficiency must be very high.

So Sui did not adopt the usual way of processing data consistency in blockchain, which is not innovation, but directly abandoned the most basic consensus of blockchain.

Beichen: Is it necessary to add state control to traditional Internet distributed clusters?

Steven: No, it is only necessary to ensure that the data on all servers is consistent.

Beichen: Does state control have any effect on security for Aptos and Sui?

Steven: It has some effect, but the effect is not very strong. Theoretically, it will definitely be attacked, and hackers can attack as long as they can control a small number of miners. But to be honest, this situation is unlikely to happen because Aptos and Sui will strictly control the admission threshold and quantity of nodes. It can only be said that the possibility of malicious behavior is much greater than that of traditional blockchains.

北辰:So can I understand it as just a distributed network like blockchain, instead of blockchain?

Steven: Yes, it’s a cluster system like blockchain, but with a certain amount of state control added to each operation. This is inherited from Libra, so who is stronger in technology between Aptos and Sui, I can only say that Aptos has done more on the basis of Libra, and Sui is closer to the original state of Libra, and it is hard to say who is stronger.

Although Solana has also sacrificed security and decentralization in the impossible triangle, at least it has done some innovation and adheres to the basic principles of blockchain such as global control and consensus algorithms, while Aptos and Sui are directly a traditional relational database, abandoning the basic properties of blockchain.

北辰: Are all the Move-based public chains essentially consortium chains?

Steven: Yes, and Sui doesn’t even want to pretend to be a public chain.

北辰: The use of consortium chains in China is mainly for compliance considerations, and I feel that it is a transitional product that will eventually disappear and will disappear soon.

Anyway, different people will pay for different IQ taxes. Aptos and Sui’s narrative is very appetizing for those in the Web2 world, because they can only understand these things, they may not even be able to recognize the logic of Bitcoin and Ethereum, and think it is a vague vision, and the technology is far worse than Web2. At this point, a high-performance public chain appears, and they will feel “this thing is good” out of instinctive closeness.

Basically, almost every bull market will attract a new wave of people who have just come from Web2. Their IQ tax is basically locked in the two categories of “high-performance public chain” and “large-scale easy-to-use products”, but their lifecycle is destined to be short. Undeniably, although it is an IQ tax, it can indeed attract hot money to the industry.

A capital I contacted some time ago is laying out the Sui ecosystem. The logic is relatively simple and rude. They said that the Sui ecosystem will definitely have a DEX or other basic suite, so you only need to invest in the top one or two in the first batch, and there will be good returns.

Well, it is actually correct, but these so-called “high-performance public chains” have life cycles, and they are not true order issuers. They can only take on hot money from Web2 and technology from Web3 to make a quick profit. EOS is like this, and so are BSC, Solana, and others. For example, I think Solana has not died, but it is already brain dead, so it can be declared dead in actuality.

Steven: They don’t understand the essence of blockchain, and they haven’t seriously looked at the Bible of the blockchain world-the Bitcoin white paper, or even how Satoshi Nakamoto thought and solved problems that traditional systems cannot solve in the emails before this.

Beichen: So, how do you view the future of Aptos and Sui?

Steven: To be honest, this is difficult to predict. Technology doesn’t matter and doesn’t delay making money. I think they are tools for the big capital behind them to harvest, so it ultimately depends on how long the capital can support them (if FTX doesn’t collapse, Solana can hold on for a while).

Aptos and Sui are projects that have developed from the corpse of Libra, and they directly take their existing technology as a selling point and try to accumulate a project.

Simply put, I have some technology in my hand, so I use this technology as a selling point to design a system, but it cannot solve the landing problem of any scenario. If you haven’t figured it out and come to do it, it must be incorrect, so I personally think they have no future.

Active participation in the short term may have good returns, but it is not the correct direction for the development of blockchain technology, and even has the opposite effect.

Beichen: Aptos and Sui are not said to be a conspiracy of capital or a game, but most of the participants (from project parties to capital to developers, media, and retail investors) really believe that they represent the future of blockchain. It should be said that it is a wishful thinking of a group of people who have just come from the Web2 world to the Web3 world.

Today, let’s talk about it here. Can you summarize a violent theory for all the views today?

Steven: To sum up, all these Libra-related projects use consortium chain technology to do public chains, which is a technological degradation, and the technology itself cannot stand.

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