Aptos Labs, a startup founded by employees who built the blockchain behind Meta Platform Inc.’s ill-fated Diem, recently announced its “tokenomics” model amidst a rocky mainnet launch that has performed more slowly than expected.
The platform raised $200 million in March, backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase Ventures, FTX Ventures, Multicoin Capital and other big crypto venture capital firms. The objective of the blockchain was to build a highly scalable, secure network capable of a massive throughput that could outpace other chains such as Solana, by scaling to a high transaction throughput.
Before the launch of its mainnet, Aptos boasted that it was capable of approximately 130,000 transactions per second, but during its launch on Monday, it was reported by Paradigm Engineer #420 on Twitter that the blockchain was capable of less than seven transactions per second – less than the bitcoin network.
“Aptos is broken,” wrote Paradigm Engineer. “Aptos is currently has a lower TPS than Bitcoin and a majority of tokens are either staked or ready to be dumped on retail investors. Aptos promises 100k TPS in its finalized version. However, the current TPS is somewhere around 4 transactions per second.”
Shortly after the launch, Aptos co-founder Mo Shaikh tweeted that it was exciting to finally launch the blockchain, but the rocky start and the low TPS were the result of the fact that the network was underutilized and this was only from growing pains.
“Acknowledged that it could have gone better,” Shaikh wrote. “Building a decentralized protocol from the ground up is tough! Aptos is fortunate to have a fantastic community that’s constantly evolving together.”
According to Shaikh, the current TPS is not representative of the network capacity. Rather, it’s the network idling ahead of projects coming online. It’s expected to increase as more projects are added.
Aptos “tokenomics” model revealed
When it was first to be launched, the community widely panned Aptos for having an opaque token economics structure. That means nobody knew how its internal tokens, the Aptos token, or APT, were going to be distributed among investors, developers and the community.
Upon the mainnet launch on Monday, the company finally revealed the distribution, and unlocked the APT token for trading, alongside an airdrop of 20 million tokens on Tuesday. An “airdrop” is basically a disbursement of tokens to a number of users directly into their wallets in order to seed a number of tokens into an ecosystem in order to jumpstart the economy.
“The Aptos Foundation has provided early network participants with APT tokens,” the company wrote. “If you are eligible to claim, you will receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org in the next few hours.”
Blockchain projects primarily use tokens for three purposes: to fund the project by selling the token in order to raise capital, using the tokens to reward developers and creators for participating in the ecosystem and as a way for the community to pay to use services on the blockchain.
The initial supply of APT tokens during Monday’s launch was reported to be 1 billion. According to the distribution, 510 million would go to community members, 190 million go to the core developers and the remainder goes to the Aptos Foundation and private investors.
According to Shaikh, many of the tokens, including those allocated to the community, have been staked at the genesis of the blockchain. Staking essentially locks up tokens to secure a network against potential attacks and produces additional tokens as a reward, which is 7% per year, unlocked every 30 days for token holders.
The fact that Aptos did not reveal its token model until right before its mainnet launch did not go over well with the community. Twitter user Aylo noted, “Aptos raised at a $2B valuation and failed to make their economic information available at launch. There is no way this was an oversight. This was intentional.”
The reveal of the Aptos token structure and the airdrop did not go over well with the market either. As shortly after both the value dropped almost 50% to trade at $7.27 today from $13.73 at launch, according to price aggregator CoinGecko.