In this paper, we argue that blockchains are trapped in a dark age of technology centralization. The wars of multi-chain DeFi push the market to abandon decentralization, its oldest and most foundational principle. Crypto’s citizens search for “fast” technologies that optimize for DeFi yield generation, even if this hands power to a new class of kingmakers – from centralized exchange operators to political figureheads who guide the destiny of these networks.
This dark age presents users with a choice: performance or decentralization, but not both. Following on from our 2019 report at the launch of MainNet, we argue that Algorand represents an opportunity to transcend this paradigm. It is the first “fast L1” which can coordinate between billions of people without trending toward plutocracy. Consensus is fast yet open to anyone: Algorand currently performs 1,000 TPS with < 5 second finality without sacrificing decentralization.
Solving the “blockchain trilemma” compromising other networks, Algorand has been live for two years with no downtime. A series of novel cryptographic and political breakthroughs create a new system of self-government and evolvability unlike any other L1 blockchain. The end result: a way forward for DeFi without forsaking decentralization and a ground-up network for risk-averse TradFi applications like Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) and asset securitization.
If the Enlightenment – an 18th century intellectual movement focused on the ideals of reason, liberty and constitutional government – was humanity’s new base layer protocol, then the scientific method and industrial revolution were simply the apps that followed.
What apps could emerge in an Algorand age of reason? One simple application is “fast DeFi” without centralization and inefficiencies like miner extractable value (MEV). Another application – arguably the ultimate goal – is the eventual merger of DeFi and TradFi. We could see a wave of hybrid experiments where DeFi plugs into TradFi, bridging old and new capital pools.
This, perhaps, is crypto’s industrial revolution – a productivity boom that will come long after the end of the DeFi wars. In our view, Algorand could be the immutable home of high-value assets, where hybrid experiments emerge and grow to global scale.