Announcing Sui

Mysten Media
Mysten Labs
Published in
6 min readMar 22, 2022

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Today, we announce Sui to the world.

Sui is the first permissionless Layer 1 blockchain designed from the ground up to enable creators and developers to build experiences that cater to the next billion users in web3. Sui is horizontally scalable to support a wide range of application development with unrivaled speed at low cost.

In 2021, we decided to leave the comfort of Meta to build Mysten Labs — a company dedicated to rethinking web3 infrastructure from first principles. Sui is our first act, and it’s a big step. It is not a derivative of the Diem network or an incremental improvement. It is a step-function advancement in blockchain technology to meet the needs of the next generation of crypto users and developers.

Parallel agreement — a breakthrough in system design

Sui scales horizontally with no upper bound to meet application demand while maintaining extremely low operating costs per transaction. Its 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.

Sui takes a significant leap in scalability by enabling parallel agreement on causally independent transactions. Sui authorities commit such transactions using Byzantine consistent broadcast, eliminating global consensus’s overhead without sacrificing safety and liveness guarantees.

This breakthrough is only possible with Sui’s novel data model. Thanks to its object-centric view and Move’s strong ownership types, dependencies are explicitly encoded. As a result, Sui both agrees on and executes transactions on most objects in parallel, while a minority of transactions that affect shared state are ordered via Byzantine fault tolerant consensus and executed in parallel.

Sui vs Traditional Blockchain

Highlights

  • Unmatched scalability, instant settlement
  • A safe smart contract language accessible to mainstream developers
  • Ability to define rich and composable on-chain assets
  • Better user experience for web3 apps

Sui is the only blockchain today that can scale with the growth of web3 while achieving industry-leading performance, cost, programmability, and usability. As we push towards mainnet launch during the next few months, we will demonstrate capacity beyond the transaction processing capabilities of established systems — traditional and blockchain alike. We see Sui as the first internet-scale programmable blockchain platform, a foundational layer for web3.

Unmatched scalability, instant settlement

Today users of existing blockchains pay a considerable tax as network usage increases due to limited throughput. In addition, high latency limits the responsiveness of applications. These factors contribute to the bad user experiences that are all too common in web3:

  • Games are slow and prohibitively expensive to play
  • Investors lose funds when they can’t liquidate undercollateralized loans in DeFi
  • High volume, low value per transaction mass-market services like micropayments and coupons are priced out of the network
  • Artificially high floor prices on assets due to high gas prices

Sui scales horizontally to meet the demands of applications. Network capacity grows in proportion to the increase in Sui authorities’ processing power by adding workers, resulting in low gas fees even during high network traffic. This scalability characteristic is in sharp contrast to other blockchains with rigid bottlenecks.

By design, Sui authorities (nodes) can effectively scale the network throughput infinitely to meet the demand of builders and creators. We believe Sui can do for web3 what broadband internet did for web2.

Note: 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 (TPS). Throughput scales linearly with the number of cores — the same machine processes 25,000 TPS in a single core configuration.

This experiment uses a configuration where each client submits a batch of 100 transactions (i.e., transfers to 100 distinct recipients) with a single signature. This configuration captures the anticipated usage pattern of a highly scalable blockchain — e.g., a custodial wallet or game server operating at scale will likely need to submit hundreds or thousands of on-chain transactions per second. With a batch size of 1, an authority running on the same machine can process 20,000 TPS with 8 cores, and exhibits the same linear growth in throughput as more cores are added.

We will publish a full performance report for optimized Sui networks in a variety of configurations when our testnet is released.

A safe smart contract language accessible to mainstream developers

Move smart contracts power Sui applications. Move is a programming language initially developed at Facebook for writing safe smart contracts. It is a platform-agnostic language that enables shared libraries, tooling, and developer communities across blockchains.

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. 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.

We are confident that Move is well-positioned to become the de-facto execution environment not only for Sui but for every next-generation smart contract platform.

Ability to define rich on-chain assets

Sui’s scalability is not limited to transaction processing. Storage is also low-cost and horizontally scalable. This enables developers to define complex assets with rich attributes that live directly on-chain instead of introducing layers of indirection into off-chain storage to save on gas fees. Moving attributes on-chain unlocks the ability to implement application logic that uses these attributes in smart contracts, increasing composability and transparency for applications.

Rich on-chain assets will enable new applications and economies based on utility without relying solely on artificial scarcity. Developers can implement dynamic NFTs that can be upgraded, bundled, and grouped in an application-specific manner, such as changes in avatars and customizable items based on gameplay. This capability delivers stronger in-game economies as NFT behavior gets fully reflected on-chain, making NFTs more valuable and delivering more engaging feedback loops.

Better user experience for web3 apps

We want to make Sui the most accessible smart contracts platform, empowering developers to create great user experiences in web3. To usher in the next billion users, we will empower developers with various tools to take advantage of the power of the Sui blockchain. The Sui Development Kit (SDK) will enable developers to build without boundaries.

Learn more about our plans for the Sui Development Kit (SDK) here.

How we got here

Before explaining some of the new product experiences developers can enable on Sui, let’s discuss some drivers that led our team to a blockchain design that truly scales.

Our founders are former senior leaders from Facebook’s advanced blockchain R&D organization. We delivered some of the most advanced open source components, including the programming language, execution engine, and cryptography of the Diem network. We had an exhilarating experience building and ideating on bleeding edge technologies that are now finding their way into many open source projects.

We studied the infrastructure in the web3 space and saw lots of gaps that result in poor user experiences across the board. The obvious issues are high cost and low throughput (low tps). The not-so-obvious issues are restrictive storage, inflexible, and inherently unsafe programmability limit the creativity of developers. Developers start with grand plans, but as they build, the limitations of the current blockchains force them to compromise on functionalities resulting in poor user experiences.

What’s next?

Over the next few months, we will share our roadmap and provide developers with samples of what they could build on Sui. Mysten Labs is rapidly growing, and we’re excited to expand our global and remote-first team — check out our job board for open positions.

Here are some cool things you can do now and some applications that will become possible over the next few weeks and months.

Sui enables developers to define and build:

  • On-chain DeFi and TradFi primitives: enabling real-time, low latency on-chain trading
  • Reward and loyalty programs: deploying mass airdrops that reach millions of people through low-cost transactions
  • Complex games and business logic: implementing on-chain logic transparently, extending the functionality of assets, and delivering value beyond pure scarcity
  • Asset tokenization services: making ownership of everything from property deeds to collectibles to medical and educational records perform seamlessly at scale
  • Decentralized social media networks: empowering creator-owned media, posts, likes, and networks with privacy and interoperability in mind

View some examples

Learn more about Sui

Build with us!!

We are super excited about what the future unfolds and invite creators and builders to join us.

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Mysten Media
Mysten Labs

We create foundational infrastructure to accelerate web3 adoption