A Sailor’s introduction to Sui Network


A Sailor’s introduction to Sui Network

Sui is a decentralized delegated proof-of-stake blockchain that enables horizontally scalable throughput with competitive speed at low cost, aiming to onboard the next billion users to web3. The protocol uses Move, a programming language that focuses on security by using a modular architecture. The Move language also allows parallel execution and horizontal throughput scalability without adding additional complexity for node operators. 

What is Move? 

Move is an executable language used to implement custom transactions and smart contracts. It takes inspiration from Linear logic to define custom resource types, meaning that a resource can never be copied or discarded, only moved between program storage locations. You can read more about how the language functions here

The Architecture

Sui boasts scalability and low-latency by omitting consensus for simpler use cases such as payment transactions and asset transfers. By eliminating the need to achieve total consensus on a total ordered list of transactions, Sui eliminates a bottleneck which is prevalent in most blockchains in today’s time. Sui takes a substantial leap in scalability by enabling parallel agreement on casually independent transactions. Validators commit such transactions using Byzantine Consistent Broadcast, eliminating the need of global consensus without sacrificing the safety and liveness. A list of 20+ potential dapp types that can avoid full consensus is available here.

Sui utilizes move along with a novel data model that applies an object centric view to explicitly encode dependencies. This results in Sui being able to execute transactions on objects in parallel while also executing transactions affecting the shared state via the Byzantine Fault Tolerant (BFT) consensus. In fact, for transactions that specifically require ordering, i.e., some DeFi applications, Sui implements one of the fastest and most scalable mempool and BFT protocols with extra intra-sharding capabilities, called Narwhal and Bullshark.

Sui stores an array of programmable objects, each assigned with a unique global ID. Objects are owned by singular addresses (or other Objects) and every address can own multiple objects. Objects are defined as typed data created and managed by Move Packages (a.k.a. Smart Contracts). Objects are owned by an address at the time of creation and can be frozen or shared to provide accessibility to others. You can read more about Objects here.

Additionally Sui is designed with agility in mind, supporting multiple cryptographic key types, such as EdDSA and ECDSA for user keys and aggregated BLS signatures for validators. Moreover, Sui’s rich cryptography and finance apis, including primitives for DeFi and zero knowledge proofs, NFT and game templates, and examples for marketplaces and social networks, make the smart contract developer and wallet experience seamless.

Sui and Security

Sui promises improved security through the way Move structures smart contracts, while also theoretically improving ease of implementation. “Move’s design prevents issues such as re-entrancy vulnerabilities, poison tokens, and spoofed token approvals that attackers have leveraged to steal millions on other platforms,” Abiodun said. “Its emphasis on safety and expressivity makes it easier for developers to transition from web2 to web3 without understanding the intricacies of the underlying infrastructure.” This sounds similar to the way Dean Tribble of Agoric characterizes its use of hardened JavaScript for smart contracts.

High Performance and Low Latency

One of the core complaints about Ethereum, aside from a hefty fee structure, is that it can’t handle very many transactions per second (tps). I’ve seen numbers quoted in a range of 15-30 tps. Contrast this with the Visa and MasterCard payment networks, which handle something like 1,700 tps. The solution for scaling the processing power of Ethereum has been to use Layer 2 blockchains like Polygon; which, like VISA, claims to be able to process 65,000 tps — although there’s a healthy dose of skepticism about whether this theory plays out in reality.

Sui also touts an extremely high tps throughput, with Abiodun stating, “As of Mar 19, 2022, an unoptimized single-worker Sui authority running on an 8-core M1 Macbook Pro can execute and commit 120,000 token transfer transactions per second.” At almost double the claim by Polygon, I remain skeptical, but this is also where Sui is taking a different approach.

Abiodun claims that Sui’s “system design breakthrough eliminates a critical bottleneck in existing blockchains: the need to achieve global consensus on a total-ordered list of transactions. This computation is wasteful given most transactions are not contending for the same resource against other transactions.” With this unique approach to consensus, the transactions get processed much faster.

Onboarding More Developers to Blockchain

Another parallel I see between Sui and Agoric is in reducing barriers to entry for developers getting started in blockchain. Agoric’s approach to create tools in the most widely used programming language, JavaScript, seems obvious. Sui is betting that Move makes development easy enough that the language doesn’t matter. “This means features like transfer, mint, and burn are already available,” Abiodun said.

Sui says that developers will benefit from:

  1. Having less code to write (less boilerplate code).
  2. Less opportunity for making errors on foundational concepts.
  3. Writing apps without having to understand the underlying infrastructure.

The Sui SDK will be available starting today. Abiodun highlighted that they’ve already worked with a number of partners including Lucky Kat Studios and SoWork. From a press release on Sui, the SoWork team said, “For SoWork specifically, we use Sui to deliver fast, efficient, cost-effective minting of composable, mutable NFTs to our customers, which just isn’t possible with older blockchain technology. One of our favorite use-cases is SoWork’s ‘Teammate Awards’ feature, which lets our workplace customers reward their employees in a fun, engaging manner via mutable NFTs.”

It remains to be seen what Sui adoption looks like in the long run, but it seems like they’ve got the right focus in addressing key developer pain points.

Sui Use Cases

As per Evan Cheng, the CEO of Mysten Labs, current technology suffers from confining storage solutions and inherently unsafe programmability models, which pressure developers to compromise on functionality and user experience. Sui solves the most infamous problem in blockchain by delivering nonpareil scalability, security and a simplified user experience at a low cost. 

The Sui blockchain is designed to handle a diverse set of use cases. Some include: 

  • Enabling low latency on-chain trading to facilitate DeFi applications 
  • The ability to deploy mass airdrops and loyalty programs
  • Widening the asset functionality by implementing transparent game and business logic
  • The ability to tokenize asset ownership such as land deeds to medical records
  • Develop social media networks by boasting an ability to create media posts and likes with privacy and interoperability in mind

Evan Cheng says that the lack of infrastructure has paralyzed development across the web3 space and Sui will empower builders and collectors to conquer uncharted territory. 

Sui Tokenomics 

The Sui ecosystem boasts its native token SUI to perform essential functions on the blockchain. These functionalities include participating in staking, paying for gas fees and to submit or vote on governance proposals. The total supply of SUI tokens is capped at 10,000,000,000 (10 billion) tokens and upon Mainnet launch some tokens will be liquid while the remaining tokens will be vested over the coming years. 

The Sui economic model consists of three main contributors: 

  • Users – This category refers to the users who will be conducting transactions on the chain. These transactions may include creating, mutating and transferring assets via smart contracts.
  • SUI token holders – Token holders have the ability to delegate their tokens to validators to participate in the proof of stake mechanism and retain the right to participate in on-chain governance. Staking rewards are distributed by the end of each epoch.
  • Validators –  Validators manage transaction processing and execution on the Sui blockchain.

Stay tuned for an article on Sui Staking and Tokenomics. 

Sui Governance

Sui governance will manage updates and parameter changes via on-chain voting. The SUI token will enable users to participate in the governance process. More information will be released closer to the Mainnet launch. 

Sui Team

The Sui blockchain is the brainchild of Mysten Labs, a team of leading distributed systems, programming languages, and cryptography experts whose leaders previously headed Meta’s Novi Research. At Novi, they helped develop the Diem Blockchain and Move Programming Language. Mysten Labs is headed by Evan Cheng (Founder and CEO), previously at Meta and Apple, Adeniyi Abiodun (Founder and CPO), ex-Meta, Sam Blackshear (Founder and CTO), ex-Meta, Kostas Chalkias (Founder and Chief Cryptographer), ex-Meta, and George Danezis (Founder and Chief Research Scientist), ex-Meta. 

Mysten Labs raised $300 Million in a Series B funding round that values the company at more than $2 billion. The round was led by Figment Capital, FTX ventures, Binance Labs, Coinbase Ventures, a16z crypto, Jump Crypto and others.

Sui Partners 

Sui provides a general purpose platform with high throughput, rich on-chain asset environment and a user-friendly web3 experience. It is designed to view the blockchain experience from the user’s perspective. There are many big names already partnered and building towards a new web3. Some include: 

  • Ballast – DeFi infrastructure
  • Axelar – Cross-chain communication bridge
  • Cramium – NFT distribution service 
  • Ethos – Cross-functional wallet 
  • Gaggle Studios – Decentralized social gaming 
  • Wormhole – Cross-chain asset bridge. 

Sui Roadmap

Mysten Labs published the Sui white paper in March 2022 and tokenomics in May 2022. Currently they are in Devnet and awaiting announcements for Testnet and Mainnet. Testnet is scheduled to launch in Q4 2022. Stay tuned for more updates on Sui, including upcoming launches on our Twitter