2023 aelf Year in Review: A Year of Growth and Innovation

aelf is a high-performance Layer 1 blockchain network built on cloud computing.

ælf
aelf

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Dear aelf Community Members,

2023 was a year of significant progress and growth for aelf. From network upgrades and product improvements to burgeoning ecosystems and strategic partnerships, aelf was committed to solidifying its position as a leading force in the blockchain space. This year alone, we released 6 major versions of network and contract version upgrades, enhanced 3 infrastructure tools, made 4 significant aelf explorer upgrades, saw the launch of 9 ecosystem projects, launched 2 key funds/grants, made 2 major investments, established 14 strategic partnerships, and hosted and participated in 24 events globally.

Highlights and Milestones:

  • Performed comprehensive network and contract upgrades, full-scale infrastructure optimisation, and user-centric improvements for the aelf blockchain.
  • Key DApps, including Portkey, eBridge, ETransfer, Forest NFT Platform, Symbol Market, and ewell, were independently launched on aelf blockchain.
  • Integrated with Alchemy Pay and Transak for seamless fiat-crypto on/off-ramp.
  • Launched aelf Ventures with a $50 million Ecosystem Fund to support and integrate promising projects into the aelf ecosystem.
  • Launched the aelevate Gaming Grant Program (up to US$150,000 per studio) to foster the integration of Web2 gaming studios into the blockchain gaming space.
  • Established strategic partnerships with leading industry players such as Asia Blockchain Game Alliance (ABGA), Blockchain Game Alliance (BGA), and Horizon Land.
  • Established aelf’s Global Hub in Singapore and expanded aelf’s reach globally through events and sponsorships.

Tech Focus: Upgrading and Optimising

1. Comprehensive Network and Contract Upgrades

Throughout the year, aelf saw a series of strategic network upgrades, contract deployments and chain updates. The changelogs for the upgrades can be accessed here: v1.2.3, v1.3.0, v1.4.1, v1.5.0, contract upgrades in July, v1.6.0, contract upgrades in October, and contract upgrades in December.

Among the new features, here are some highlights you wouldn’t want to miss:

  • Transaction Fee Exemption Mechanism: aelf enhanced user-friendliness by implementing a transaction fee exemption for those holding a minimum balance of 10 ELF or 5 USDT in their aelf address, making it ideal and cost-effective for both beginners and experienced traders.
  • Diversified Delegation Mechanism: aelf introduced a versatile fee delegation system for DApps, enabling the implementation of multiple tiers of fee delegation where transaction fees incurred by users can be covered by layers of delegatees, as defined by the DApps.
  • Enhanced Support for Virtual Addresses: aelf has consistently improved support for virtual addresses throughout the year, and through aelf’s first Account Abstraction (AA) wallet, Portkey, users can vote and participate in aelf governance.
  • Upgraded MultiToken Contract: The upgraded MultiToken contract is the foundational smart contract for digital assets on the aelf network, pioneering compliance with the Standard for Blockchain-Based Digital Asset Identification (IEEE P3207). Embracing a standardised interface, aelf’s MultiToken contract facilitates the creation of both fungible tokens and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
  • SEED Design for Token and NFT Creation: SEED design enhances the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of creating tokens and NFTs on the aelf network. Acting as the exclusive credential, SEED allows users to easily generate digital assets, each representing a unique token or NFT symbol available through Symbol Market or aelf’s NFT marketplace, Forest. Read here for more information.
  • Contract Deployment Without BP Approval: Launching DApps on aelf is now more convenient with streamlined contract deployment. Developers can initiate projects without waiting for block producers’ (BPs) approval, accelerating project launches and updates.
  • Cloud-Native Computing: aelf is enhancing cloud-native computing for faster BP node transaction execution by horizontally scaling the Orleans Silo cluster. BP nodes send requests, and Orleans Silo cluster servers receive and execute tasks, then return the execution results. The project, in its final testing phase, aims for deployment verification on the aelf Testnet before proceeding to the Mainnet.

Beyond these highlights, aelf has also introduced a spectrum of user and developer-centric features, including optimised random number generation and deterministic contract address derivation, alongside reaching a total of 19 BPs as outlined in the AEDPoS consensus contract. These enhancements play a crucial role in improving aelf’s usability, security, and decentralisation, showcasing the commitment to elevate the overall performance of the network and ecosystem.

2. Full-Scale Infrastructure Optimisation

To empower the developer community, aelf focused on updating infrastructures and enhancing tools this year. Here are 3 key ones:

  • aelf Boilerplate: The aelf Boilerplate streamlines contract development on the aelf network with recent upgrades that simplify project initialisation, streamline contract templates, and reduce costs. The release of NuGet packages and a Docker image for local testing nodes enhances the development experience, aiming to boost developers’ productivity, efficiency, and code quality in testing DApps on the aelf network.
  • AeFinder: AeFinder efficiently indexes and tracks on-chain transaction events for aelf DApps, ensuring real-time synchronisation and accurate data delivery to users. Operating on the Mainnet since April, AeFinder has undergone continuous enhancements, improving query and indexing performance, data read/write speed, push and storage speed, and data processing. It is expected to be ready for developer utilisation by the first half of 2024.
  • AetherLink: AetherLink, an oracle facilitating efficient data communication between the blockchain and the real world, enhances on-chain and off-chain data interaction for aelf ecosystem projects and DApps. The oracle develops multiple smart contracts and implements functionalities like data validation, external data source queries, result aggregation, and feedback. AetherLink also optimises communication protocols, improving data query efficiency and reducing transaction costs. The project is set to launch on aelf Testnet soon.

3. User-Centric Improvements

aelf has systematically upgraded the aelf explorer, achieving notable improvements in versions v1.2.3, v1.3.0, v1.3.2, and v1.3.3. These enhancements include visual design optimisation, real-time data display of the ELF price, improved data categorisation, expanded functionalities such as contract deployment/update without BP approval, and reinforced support for AA wallet users to vote for candidate nodes and deploy/update contracts. With plans for a release of aelf explorer v2 in the upcoming year, aelf is actively testing the tool, aiming to provide a seamless user experience and robust support for various DApps within its ecosystem.

Ecosystem Growth: Partnerships and Projects

1. Building Bridges and Onboarding Web2 Users

In April this year, the first AA wallet on aelf, Portkey, went live on the aelf Mainnet, offering robust security features like social recovery and decentralised guardian design. Their user-friendly approach ensures secure asset management and empowers newcomers from the Web2 space to embrace the possibilities of blockchain technology. ETransfer, was also launched to facilitate efficient USDT transfers to and from the aelf network. The platform currently supports nine major blockchains: aelf, Ethereum, Tron, BNB Smart Chain (BSC), Arbitrum One, Solana, Polygon, Optimism, and AVAX C-Chain. The most recent launch is eBridge, aelf’s first cross-chain bridge that enables effortless token transfers between aelf and EVM-compatible chains and BNB Smart Chain (BSC).

We also partnered with ChainsAtlas to integrate their virtualisation technology to enable both web2 and web3 projects to seamlessly port into the aelf ecosystem regardless of the underlying code. These new ecosystem projects and partnerships ultimately help to boost interoperability while empowering developers to deploy and users to access their digital assets across blockchain ecosystems.

To further lower the barriers to entry for Web2 users, our partnership with Alchemy Pay in July saw the integration of on/off-ramp solutions into the aelf ecosystem. This collaboration allows projects and decentralised applications (DApps) in the aelf ecosystem to seamlessly integrate Alchemy Pay’s plugin to enable fiat-crypto conversion feature for users. Another fiat-crypto on/off-ramp solution, Transak, has also been integrated with the aelf blockchain and will be integrated with Portkey soon.

2. Gaming Takes Center Stage

aelf’s commitment to fostering a diverse and flourishing ecosystem was evident in its dedication to blockchain gaming. The launch of the aelevate Gaming Grant Program ignited a wave of innovative game development, providing generous grants and comprehensive support to studios building their games on the aelf platform. We are currently working closely with our first batch of grant recipients, Field of Dreams and Wizarre Stormfights, as they deepen their impact in the blockchain gaming industry.

Throughout the year, aelf secured strategic partnerships with Kaiju, Asia Blockchain Game Alliance (ABGA) and Blockchain Game Alliance (BGA) to strengthen our presence in the global gaming landscape, fostered accessible blockchain game development through developer workshops, and assisted ecosystem projects with tool integrations.

Additionally, Forest, the first NFT marketplace on the aelf blockchain, launched in October, has set the ground for NFT capabilities within the aelf ecosystem. The platform empowers creators to showcase their work and introduce collectors to a user-friendly environment for effortless NFT creation, exploration and trading. Forest also recently unveiled Symbol Market, a cutting-edge DApp that empowers aelf users to create their own tokens and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) by acquiring unique SEEDs. Read more here.

3. Financial Backing and Ecosystem Support

To propel innovative Web3 projects, aelf Ventures was established with a $50 million Ecosystem Fund. The venture arm adopts a vertical and stage-agnostic approach to pledge comprehensive support to promising blockchain startups and established crypto enterprises to fuel growth and development within the aelf ecosystem. aelf Ventures has invested in several prospective projects, including Web3 gaming projects like Crystal Fun and Mythic Protocol.

Over the past year, the aelf ecosystem has grown rapidly with DApps such as Portkey, a social recovery account abstraction wallet; eBridge, a cross-chain bridge; Forest, an NFT marketplace; ETransfer, a DApp facilitating cross-chain transfers of USDT; Awaken Swap, a decentralised exchange (DEX); ewell, an initial DEX offering (IDO) platform; and BeanGo Town, a casual blockchain-enabled game. In addition, aelf partnered with Horizon Land to educate and equip developers with skills to build applications on the platform and seamlessly integrate Portkey’s wallet functionalities.

This year, we saw the introduction of TMRWDAO, a decentralised governance platform. Designed for forming and managing specialised DAOs within the aelf ecosystem, TMRWDAO focuses on network governance, ecosystem development, and financing. TMRWDAO is set to democratise decision-making for communities globally through its decentralised governance framework. It is set to be available for public use in Q1 2024. This project aligns with aelf’s commitment to being accessible and inclusive where every ELF token holder can actively contribute to governance processes, paving the way for a practical and global decentralised future.

Events: Journeying Beyond Borders

From groundbreaking launches to bustling conferences and engaging community gatherings, aelf’s journey in 2023 was packed with action and progress. Here’s a glimpse into some of the key events that marked our year:

1. Singapore: aelf’s Global Hub

On September 20th, aelf officially opened its new global hub in Singapore, which became a space for collaboration and growth for Web3 space.

In just 3 months, we hosted a wide range of events ranging from roundtables to themed meetups at the aelf office:

🛠️ 22 Sep: AELFINITY Developer Workshop
🎮 20 Oct: Web3 Gaming Meetup (Gamescon Asia 2023 side event)
🎃 27 Oct: Web3 Halloween Meetup
📄 31 Oct: Whitepaper Reading Club
💼 2 Nov: Talent@WEB3 Roundtable @aelf
💵 16 Nov: VNTR Investors Roundtable Singapore @ aelf
📚 14 Dec: 223 Lofi Education Workshop
🐧 15 Dec: aelf X Pudgy Penguins Christmas Party
🎄 22 Dec: Web3 Christmas Meetup

Amidst Gamescom Asia 2023, the world’s largest computer and video games festival, aelf hosted the Web3 Gaming Meetup on October 20th. The meetup brought together gaming enthusiasts, developers, studios, and investors to explore the Web3 gaming scene and the growth opportunities facilitated by our aelevate Gaming Grant Program.

Beyond games, we invited our aelf community down for a spooktacular night of drinks and thrilling conversations about blockchain at our Web3 Halloween Meetup on October 27th.

As a pioneer of blockchain technology, we took it upon ourselves to create a conducive space for decentralisation and Web3 discussions. Our first session of the Whitepaper Reading Club on October 31st saw blockchain enthusiasts and experts gather to discuss the latest trends, technologies, and innovations in the realm of blockchain through Whitepapers.

We also held two roundtables in November — Talent@WEB3 Roundtable and the VNTR Investors Roundtable Singapore — with the former focusing on Web3 talent and the latter focusing on startup investments.

To show our dedication to educating and nurturing the Web3 community, we organised the 223 Lofi Education Workshop on December 14th to empower both newcomers and seasoned Web3 enthusiasts with the knowledge and connections to thrive in this transformative space.

For the developers, we organised our first-ever AELFINITY Developer Workshop, where participants gained hands-on experience integrating aelf and Portkey SDKs, demonstrating our commitment to empowering developers.

Finally, the aelf office welcomed the festive spirit of Christmas with the aelf x Pudgy Penguins Meetup on December 15th, an exclusive gathering for NFT enthusiasts. Under the twinkle of fairy lights and amidst lively conversations, collectors celebrated Christmas and bonded over their shared passions.

We finally concluded 2023 with our very own Web3 Christmas Meetup on December 22nd, where attendees from diverse backgrounds mingled and reminisced about aelf’s incredible year.

Beyond the office, aelf made a mark at various events during the TOKEN2049 week, such as the Beyond Scaling X, powered by aelf afterparty held at SKAI that saw the attendance of industry leaders, Web3 builders, investors, and blockchain-curious individuals as well as the Blockchain Gaming Grand Prix, a high-octane event that brought together gamers, enthusiasts, and industry leaders to explore the future of gaming through go-kart racing, competitions, and networking opportunities.

Throughout the year, the aelf team also actively participated in industry events in Singapore, including Google’s fireside chat “Web3 Trends in 2023/2024”, where they shared aelf’s vision and its alignment with the evolving Web3 space in the coming year. Linda, our Head of Strategy, also attended Asia Web3, GO! by JDI One as a guest judge for the pitching session to tease out promising projects in the space.

2. Establishing our Global Presence

Beyond the sunny shores of Singapore, aelf sponsored and participated in a plethora of events in Asia and beyond to strengthen our global presence:

🇭🇰 12–15 Apr: Hong Kong Web3 Festival (Hong Kong)
🇺🇸 26–28 Apr: Consensus 2023 (Texas, USA)
🇻🇳 21 Jun: Google Gaming Founders Connect (HCMC, Vietnam)
🇯🇵 28–30 Jun: IVS Kyoto (Kyoto, Japan)
🇻🇳 7–8 Jul: GM Vietnam (HCMC, Vietnam)
🇰🇷 4–10 Sep: Asian Web3 Gaming Gathering (Seoul, South Korea)
🇦🇪 15–18 Oct: Future Blockchain Summit 2023 (Dubai, UAE)
🇳🇱 30 Oct-3 Nov: Solana Breakpoint (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
🇹🇭 11–12 Nov: Thailand Blockchain Week 2023 (Bangkok, Thailand)
🇫🇮 30 Nov-1 Dec: SLUSH (Helsinki, Finland)
🇮🇳 4–10 Dec: India Blockchain Week/ IBW’23 Demo Day/Web3 Carnival 2023 (Bangalore, India)

In April, the aelf team travelled to Hong Kong for the Hong Kong Web3 Festival and to Texas for Consensus 2023. At both events, Steven, Portkey’s CTO, spearheaded conversations surrounding Portkey, aelf’s first wallet and the gateway to Web3; aelf’s position as a leading Layer 1 network; and the broader scope of blockchain technology.

Our global venture continued with our trip to Japan for IVS Kyoto, which gave us valuable insights into the Japanese gaming landscape and Web3 scene, helping us to navigate our gaming focus.

To further drive our commitment to gaming, we headed to Vietnam twice, another country rich in gaming studios and developers. On June 21st, we participated in the Google Gaming Founders Connect event, where we teased our aelevate Gaming Grant Program to the forerunners of the gaming space in Vietnam. In less than a month, we returned to Vietnam for GM Vietnam, where Linda, our Head of Strategy, hosted a cosy aelevate luncheon to connect with key gaming studios and partners and shared with them a preview of the grant program.

During Korea Blockchain Week, we co-hosted a side event, Asian Web3 Gaming Gathering, on September 8th. The event laid the groundwork for aelf’s gaming ecosystem and connected the team with potential gaming partners that were interested in our aelevate Gaming Grant Program. Hazel, our director of Investment, made a keynote speech that covered aelf Venture’s key focus areas and insights on what contributes to the success of Web3 gaming projects.

In October, aelf made a splash at the Future Blockchain Summit in Dubai, as we showcased our blockchain technology, shared insights on the future of Web3, and connected with industry leaders.

Our investment team represented aelf at Solana Breakpoint held in Amsterdam and SLUSH held in Finland, where they networked and explored partnership and investment opportunities in the EU region. Xianrong, our Senior Investment and Financing Associate, was also invited to participate in the panel “The State of Web3 Infrastructure for Gaming” at SLUSH, where he shared insights on the current landscape of gaming projects and the future of Web3 gaming.

Our Platinum sponsorship and panel participation at Thailand Blockchain Week 2023 cemented aelf’s position as a leader in the space, particularly in discussions surrounding crypto wallets and GameFi tokenomics.

Solidifying our commitment to expanding globally, aelf took on a key role as a partner and sponsor at India Blockchain Week. Our involvement included a panel speaking slot at the main event, guest judging for IBW’23 Demo Day, and a panel participation at the Web3 Carnival.

It’s been an eventful year but we’re only just getting started on our global expansion journey. To commemorate the start of an exciting year of growth, we’ll be at NFT Paris 2024 and we’ll be minting the first-ever POAP on the aelf blockchain. Stay tuned for more updates in January 2024!

Looking Ahead: BUIDLing for the Future

We stand proudly before the vibrant landscape we’ve helped cultivate. Looking back, we see milestones etched in every brick of our ecosystem, each a testament to the unwavering dedication of our community and the endless possibilities of blockchain technology.

From launching aelf Ventures with a $50 million fund for Web3 projects to forming strategic partnerships that span ecosystems, the year epitomised commitment to growth and innovation. aelf’s heart beats not just in its infrastructure, but in the pulse of its community. Through events held globally, we sparked curiosity, built connections, and celebrated shared achievements. We fostered a vibrant gaming scene with the aelevate Gaming Grant Program, partnered with industry giants to empower developers and revolutionise the Web3 gaming landscape, and sowed the seed of Forest, poised to bloom into a haven for creators and collectors.

As we turn towards the horizon of 2024, the spirit of BUIDL-ing burns brighter than ever. aelf will continue refining our network and optimising performance and efficiency while nurturing our developer community with improved documentation and tools. We will strengthen the bridges we’ve built and continue to invite new ecosystems to engage and collaborate in the boundless world of Web3.

About aelf

aelf, a high-performance Layer 1 featuring multi-sidechain technology for unlimited scalability. aelf blockchain is designed to power the development of Web3 and support its continuous advancement into the future. Founded in 2017 with its global hub based in Singapore, aelf is one of the pioneers of the mainchain-sidechain architecture concept. Incorporating key foundational components, including AEDPoS, aelf’s variation of a Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) consensus protocol; parallel processing; peer-to-peer (P2P) network communication; cross-chain bridges, and a dynamic side chain indexing mechanism, aelf delivers a highly efficient, safe, and modular ecosystem with high throughput, scalability, and interoperability.

aelf facilitates the building, integrating, and deploying of smart contracts and decentralised apps (dApps) on its blockchain with its native C# software development kit (SDK) and SDKs in other languages, including Java, JS, Python, and Go. aelf’s ecosystem also houses a range of dApps to support a flourishing blockchain network. aelf is committed to fostering innovation within its ecosystem and remains dedicated to driving the development of Web3 and the adoption of blockchain technology.

Find out more about aelf and stay connected with our community:

Website | X | Telegram | Discord

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