2023 has been an eventful year full of ups and downs. In the macro markets the year was highlighted by unprecedented interest rate hikes, multiple bank failures, the arrests and convictions of the worst grifters in the industry, notable judge rulings, and a will-they-won’t-they back and forth of a Bitcoin ETF approval.
Although these events tangentially impacted Chia and XCH, let’s not let that overshadow everything that happened in Chia this past year.
Let’s recap the 10 biggest events in a 2023 Chia year in review.
#10 ChiaTCG and CODE
ChiaTCG was a proof-of-concept collectible card game that made use of everyone’s existing NFTs. This marked Chia’s first foray into blockchain gaming but with a markedly different approach than everyone else with Chia Open Digital Economy (CODE). Last update was that Chia Network Inc. has been in talks with a large Japanese game studio but not much else has been heard since. This release did generate a ton of excitement and got people to scour through older and obscure NFT collections looking for high tier cards.
#9 Chia Gets DeFi
An Automated Market Maker (AMM) was one of the most hotly anticipated dApps of the year and @yakuh1t0 delivered in spades with TibetSwap. Although there was a hiccup with the initial version, TibetSwap V2 has been solid and the project sparked the creation of numerous tokens, including some questionable meme coins. Not only does Chia now have a proper Uniswap-style AMM but it also proved that Chialisp can do what Solidity can do but better.
Dexie also made moves in DeFi by offering liquidity incentives on a couple of popular trading pairs. Higher liquidity coupled with the use of self-expiring Offer Files enables a new type of decentralized order book that only Chia can uniquely deliver. We haven’t seen this take off yet but I attribute a lot of that to a lack of useful tokens such as a stablecoin provider on Chia ever since Stably faced issues with their custodian, Prime Trust.
And to bring it all together XCH.trade was launched to aggregate TibetSwap and dexie data together into one place.
#8 Goodbye to Zero Fees!
Potentially inspired by how Chia NFTs and Offer Files were designed, ordinals and inscriptions were created on Bitcoin and made controversial waves dividing the Bitcoin community. Since then, inscriptions have made its way to every blockchain and Chia was no exception. XCHS was announced in late 2023 and marked the end of the no-fee era we had been unceremoniously enjoying since mainnet launch.
This unintended stress test of blockchains resulted in some chains halting and others rendered unusable. Although Chia proved itself in continuing to form blocks with a full mempool, the end user experience did struggle and parts of the ecosystem were forced to adapt to a fee market. Fee estimators were inaccurate and users that were not used to including transaction fees saw their transactions stuck indefinitely. Manually bumping transactions in the mempool was not easy but teams like dexie released a Bump Fee feature that can help with public Offer Files.
A healthy fee market driven from permissionless use of a blockchain is exactly the goal of any public blockchain so the fact that this has happened in Chia was definitely a notable event. We may never see empty blocks again and I think that’s a good thing!
#7 GPU Plotting and Compressed Plots
It was replotting time… again.
Early this year, three solutions emerged to tackle “plot compression” that was once thought impractical. Hand-in-hand with utilizing GPUs for fast plotting, these innovations drastically changed the landscape of competitive Chia farming.
NoSSD and Gigahorse offered third party compressed plots and farming options while Bladebit came from Chia Network themselves as an open source alternative.
GPU plotting resulted in an overall reduction in power consumption of the entire network by making the plotting process much more energy efficient, even after accounting for higher farming workloads.
The battle for more efficient compression continued as NoSSD came out with even higher compression levels and Gigahorse managed to catch up to similar levels. Effective netspace increase over the year but decentralization took a big hit as an unintended side effect of how NoSSD handles their pooling. Nonetheless, farmers are voting with their storage space as can be seen in how the distribution of netspace utilzing different plotting and farming solutions has shifted this past year, resulting in a majority of the effectiveness netspace now coming from third-party compressed plot solutions.
#6 Strategic Reserve Tapped to Engage Market Maker
Although the exact impact of onboarding a market maker for XCH is hard to determine, the fact that Chia Network was comfortable utilizing part of their Strategic Reserve (prefarm) to do so was a marked change from the previous sentiment that the prefarm was untouchable until after the company goes public.
The initial community reaction was overwhelmingly negative but sentiment appears to have shifted with some acknowledging that strategic and limited use of the prefarm could open opportunities that previously were not feasible. The ability to extend the runway of Chia Network indefinitely until a successful IPO also provides comfort that core development of primitives needed for enterprise adoption can continue — which is something that we all benefit from.
#5 Chia Network Lays Off One-Third of Staff
A particularly sullen time in the Chia community this past year was during the depths of the bear market when Chia Network Inc. announced their financial challenges and decision to layoff one-third of their staff as a result of losing Credit Suisse as their banking partner for going public.
As the community saw their most favorite and prominent CNI team members one-by-one share news of whether or not they were impacted, the general sentiment was definitely one of sadness and loss. Nonetheless, CNI has remained resilient and continued to deliver on their roadmap (with reshuffling of priorities as expected) with a leaner team and a better financial situation to weather a prolonged crypto winter.
#4 Chia Network Submits IPO Draft Filing
The desire for Chia Network Inc. to become a publicly traded software company has always been one of the most talked about and anticipated milestones. In April 2023, CNI announced that it had made its initial confidential draft registration filing to the SEC. Since that announcement, we’ve only heard that the process and back-and-forth between the company and the SEC has been proceeding normally, which in my mind is a positive sign that the only major hurdle are the macro economic conditions.
Although the markets were not very favorable for IPOs in 2023, the hope is that a potential IPO in late 2024 or 2025 will bring interest, development, use cases, and the funding needed to elevate the unique technology and offerings of the Chia blockchain to solve more real world problems.
#3 The Chia Community Steps Up
2023 saw the development and launch of many ecosystem projects in the community. In no particular order, here are some of the memorable ones that stood out to me:
- @steppsr for meticulously tracking every happening on ThisWeekInChia.com and pioneering serving a website from DataLayer
- @MonkeyZoo for hosting regular Saturday Twitter Spaces and working with the NFTr team leading CHIP-0021 for fusion NFTs.
- @acevail_ for launching XCHPay.me, XCH.events, and MintGarden Premium
- @Evergreenminer for shipping compressed plug-and-play farmers and a special VoskCoin collaboration edition
- @anewformofmusic for hosting a record breaking 200 Hour Twitter Spaces as well as regular Thursday night spaces.
- @DaOneLuna for releasing the beta for FastFarmer, an alternative lite farmer which is massively important for client/node diversity.
- Digital Spaceport, Chia In China, and Corey Costa for creating tons of helpful video content and hosting numerous interviews with prominent members of the Chia team and community.
- @ChurchOfChia and #TangGang for keeping it fun and meme filled throughout the year.
- And finally for a shameless plug, I released XCH.farm, XCH.trade, XCH.builders, XCH.LOL, and of course XCH.today. Oh and 🥔POTATO.
#2 Chia DataLayer Powering the Future of a Decentralized Internet
Prominent Chia community member, CAD Trust developer, and DataLayer expert Michael Taylor had ideas in 2023. Those ideas surrounded the unique technology of Chia DataLayer and how it can be used to create the decentralized internet of the future.
From hosting NFTs on shared DataLayer stores to serving decentralized frontends to creating a decentralized DNS service, he has released both proof of concepts and fully functional services to turn those ideas into reality. And there’s more to come.
Most relevant of all have been the discussions this past year about Uniswap and scrunity over their hosted frontend UI. DataLayer can deliver a decentralized solution to put the “decentralized” back in DeFi.
Look forward to more articles to come on this topic to dive into the importance of DataLayer as a building block for an unstoppable internet!
Before we get to the biggest event of Chia’s year, here are a few more notable items that didn’t quite make the list but are still worth a mention:
- ASIC Timelords activated on mainnet
- Chia moves from Keybase to Discord
- Chia 2.0.0 – Compressed farming, clawbacks, vaults, BLS operators for zk proofs, secp signatures and more
- Verifiable credentials, credential restricted CATs, DAO primitive.
#1 CAD Trust Goes Fully Operational
Although the Climate Action Data Trust (CAD Trust) was launched December 2022 in partnership with IETA, World Bank, and the Singapore Government, it wasn’t until the end of 2023 when it really picked up steam with the biggest registries like Verra onboarding their projects and countries like Bhutan launching their national registries on a end-to-end tech stack developed by the World Bank to track and tokenize carbon credits on the Chia blockchain.
Bonus: 2023 also marked the year when the first tokenized carbon credit CATs on Chia were successfully issued and retired on-chain, led by Sumitomo Corporation of Americas.
I know this use case gets talked about a lot but in my opinion, it doesn’t get talked about enough outside of the Chia community. Every other blockchain project dreams of having serious adoption by the likes of the World Bank and IETA, but they chose Chia.
This is one of the only real-world applications of blockchain that truly requires a blockchain and is also beyond the proof-of-concept stage. World governments, banks, and enterprises have assessed the offerings of blockchains out there and have made the decision that Chia’s superior technology, security, and decentralization is the path forward.
Regardless of what one thinks about the effectiveness of carbon credits and markets in affecting climate change, the ability for a blockchain to allow untrusting parties to cooperate and work together in an auditable and transparent way is one of the core problems that blockchain distributed ledger technology is meant to solve. And Chia is leading the way.
Summary: Top 10 Chia Events in 2023
Do you agree with this list? What are your top 10 biggest Chia events in 2023?