Alephium is the world’s first operational Layer 1 sharded blockchain, building on the foundational principles of Bitcoin, Proof of Work and UTXO. Overall, it provides a fast, secure DeFi & dApps platform with increased energy efficiency.
Cetacean Capital is a new kind of capital vehicle, built around the philosophy of the POD power as a coordination mechanism for its whale members. It’s structured as a DAO, valuing decentralization and a libertarian outlook above all else.
What drew us to Alephium?
Members of our fund first became aware of Alephium back in 2018, but we didn’t take a deep look into it as it was still the early days of the whitepaper. In recent months, Cheng Wang (Alephium’s founder) and his Swiss-based team’s reappeared on our radar, when they released Alephium’s mainnet, in effect delivering the world’s first operational sharded UTXO blockchain
Alephium is a Proof of Less Work chain, running a unique consensus algorithm called Blockflow, that combines both DAG and sharding to provide extremely efficient, light-weight UTXO sharding. In other words: the technology shrinks the energy usage required to run the network, as well as solving scalability and security issues.
Comprehending the issues addressed by Alephium
Alephium addresses a slew of fundamental blockchain problems. Overall, several features of the most innovative blockchains are converged:
● Bitcoin with its security and immutability.
● Ethereum with its smart contracts.
● Solana with its throughput / scalability.
On the Bitcoin blockchain, the UTXO (Unspent Transaction Output) architecture and PoW (Proof of Work) are the main components allowing the network to remain incredibly secure as no government, no hackers, no amount of brute force can switch off, hack, duplicate, double spend, or corrupt the network.
However, when it comes to UTXO & PoW, there are two major obstacles to overcome:
1) The throughput is bottle-necked. For example, Bitcoin can only handle up to 7 Transactions Per Second (TPS).
2) Because of the willful simplicity of Bitcoin’s scripting language, smart contract development is really difficult and limited.
Along comes Ethereum with a solution. Instead of a UTXO model, ETH uses an account model. This structure opens up the world of smart contract, allowing for the addition of programming elements. While incredibly powerful, it also has its drawbacks such as being limited to 30 TPS. Therefore, when the chain experiences high network demand it experiences outstanding gas prices, which in the case of Ethereum many of its enthusiasts are well aware of by now.
Converging all these factors, what Cheng and the team behind ALPH have cracked is a very special structure. ALPH uses Bitcoin’s UTXO model, but they have made the UTXO ‘stateful’ meaning they can be programmed. They have also implemented operational sharding. Thanks to this, Alephium can manage transaction speeds of 10,000 TPS or more, which is 2500x and 650x more throughput than BTC and Ethereum respectively, while preserving the hallowed UTXO model and leveraging smart contracts.
Why Alephium over something like Kadena?
Kadena encompasses smart contracts and operates on the same “account model” basis as Ethereum. Kadena uses SPV proofs (or Simplified Payment Verification) to prove the inclusion of a transaction between the different chains, thus largely slowing down cross-shard transactions. Alephium on its end offers single-step cross-shard transactions, which is faster while offering better security guarantees.
Kadena uses their own complex programming language called Pact, while all experienced Rust/C++ developers in the field will be overjoyed getting to work with Alephium without having to learn another dedicated programming language.
On the same topic, it is also difficult to write and develop on Ethereum because of solidity, and the token structures used by Ethereum, such as ERC20, ERC721, are just a few examples. Ultimately, tokens running on Alephium are first-class citizen which eliminates the need for all of these complicated structures and enabling advanced usages such as atomic swaps.
Even though Alephium is still at an early stage of its development, the team is working exceptionally hard on creating the foundation for developers to easily start working on the chain: a Software Development Kit (SDK). Once this SDK is released, we believe developers that dip their feet into Alephium’s ecosystem and will realize the huge advantages it has over other chains, and $ALPH will gain traction faster than we can imagine.
Our stance is to back the ecosystem, help build a healthy development community that will be able to create fantastic dApps for the innovative chain.
We have plans to announce a Hackathon to promote development once the SDK is released, so stay tuned for that.