Layer-1 Innovator: Shardeum is on the eve of Mainnet

DFG Official
9 min readFeb 22


1- Shardeum’s Final Testnet is Live

Shardeum, an emerging web3 Dynamic State Sharding blockchain, officially launched its Betanet Sphinx on February 2, 2023, as a celebration gift on its 1st anniversary. According to the roadmap, Sphinx is the final testnet before the mainnet launch. This marks a new project accelerating into the Layer-1 track, which will explore the development potential of the blockchain ecosystem.

The Sphinx Betanet is a liberty-based evolution of Alphanet. Sphinx was born after 1.5 million transactions and 45,000 deployed smart contracts on Liberty. Sphinx simulates Shardeum’s mainnet environment, allowing for secure production and application testing. The online launch of Sphinx attracted over 2,500 viewers and IRL community parties were organized and hosted across 17 cities and 10 countries,making this event a global sensation.

2- An Intro to Shardeum

Shardeum is an EVM-based Layer-1 blockchain that achieves scalability and high throughput without sacrificing decentralized features through Dynamic State Sharding and Transaction Consensus. To be more specific,

● Shardeum’s Transaction Consensus is complemented by a unique consensus algorithm that combines Proof-of-Quorum (PoQ) and Proof-of-Stake (PoS). The consensus algorithms will help secure the network through a trust-less collection of votes and staking by validator nodes. Consensus on the network is completed at the transaction level, allowing multiple shards to process transactions simultaneously, unlike most other chains, which have consensus at the block level and require continuous processing. Shardeum’s unique consensus mechanism reduces transaction processing time and effectively enhances network transaction efficiency.

Dynamic State Sharding means sharding on Shardeum expands to allow for nodes to be allocated dynamic address ranges across multiple shards on the network. Nodes in the Shardeum network are free to move around and accommodate more data as dynamic shards. Also, the dynamic sharding improves the network’s performance whenever one node is added to the network to achieve Linear Scaling.

According to the Shardeum team, once all related technical work is completed, the Shardeum network will have 10 shards with at least 1,280 active validators and a TPS of up to 100,000 with only a $0.01 cost per transaction.

Fig2.The Dynamic State Sharding Schematic

3- Rapid Development Progress

Shardeum has evolved rapidly as a Layer-1 Sharding project. After its official launch in February 2022, Shardeum successfully demonstrated the implementation of Linear Scalability, the ability to scale by adding more nodes to the network, to its community for the first time in early April 2022.

In late April 2022, Shardeum released its Alphanet Liberty 1.0, followed by Liberty 2.0 in September 2022, which was the first Shardeum test network to support sharding capabilities. After nearly 5 months of testing and iterations, the team officially relaunched Betanet in early 2023 and made the node operation available to the community. It took exactly a full year from the project’s launch to the Sphinx Betanet release, the final test network.

Brief of the Successful Alphanet

While private companies usually privately release and upgrade their products, decentralized platforms like Shardeum rely on public feedback to improve their product. The evolving yet unstable upgrades will take place on test networks, which will go through two testing phases: Alphanet, which is used to test the attributes of technology products on a limited scale, and Betanet, which is used to test the attributes of products by simulating the main network or production environment.

Shardeum has implemented small-scale EVM parallelization on the Liberty Alphanet to demonstrate the performance of sharding initially. It is worth mentioning that Shardeum has a large test network community with over 540,000 accounts and 45,000 smart contract deployments on Liberty Alphanet, with a cumulative total of 1.5 million transactions completed. In addition, according to the official team, the project grew its community by 100,000 users, reached 300,000 community members, held 50+ meetups/workshops, and gained 30,000+ newsletter subscribers during Alphanet’s operation. The Alphanet was successfully tested, paving a good way for the launch of Betanet.

Top highlights of the Betanet

While Liberty Alphanet tested EVM compatibility and sharding capabilities, Sphinx Betanet simulated Shardeum’s main network environment, making production-ready and application tests safe. Shardeum will be able to stress-test all of the designed features on the mainnet with optimal performance on the Betanet. In addition, node operation will be open to the community and general public for the first time.

Specifically, core technical metrics such as the number of validator nodes (from 50 to 150–300), shard size (from 20 to 21–128), and TPS capacity (from 100 to 150–200) were significantly improved across the network from Alphanet to Betanet, propelling Shardeum’s mainnet ahead.

Fig3. Shardeum Testnet Development History / Source:

About half a month after Shardeum Sphinx release, the Shardeum Blockchain Explorer shows that the Betanet has gained more than 17,000 accounts and deployed 1,188 smart contracts, with a cumulative total of 42,848 transactions processed and 150 active verification nodes in real-time.

According to the team, 1,275 total nodes were run online in less than 24-hour launch of Sphinx 1.1,with 95% coming from the community. Sphinx has become one of the most decentralized testnets in web3. The user-friendly and permissionless GUI, along with minimum hardware requirements, has made Sphinx accessible and one of the most adopted testnets.

Fig4. Real-time Data Performance of Shardeum Sphinx Betanet / Source:

4- The Emerging Ecosystem

Despite the fact that it is yet to be released on the mainnet, Shardeum has already drawn attention to a number of projects and developers. In January, it attracted 7 projects to launch on it, including OnBandit, LightHouse, Chaidex, and Double Protocol. Till now, Shardeum has served nearly 60 ecosystem projects spanning infrastructure, tools, DeFi, wallets, NFT, and games. Among them are reputable projects like IPFS, Crust, Multichain, and native DeFi projects such as Swapped Finance, ShardeumSwap, ChainHash, SharDex, as well as native NFT projects like Spriyo, ShardianBoss Baby NFT Collection, and Yogama.

Fig5. Shardeum Ecosystem Map / Source:

5- Excellent Supporters

The new Layer-1 chain market has emerged in the bearish 2022. Chains such as Aptos, Sui, Celestia, and Aleo have swiftly been favored by the capital relying on their exceptional teams, innovative technologies, and outstanding network performance. As a result, these chains have all raised huge amounts of money at valuations of more than $1 billion.

Shardeum, which developed a little bit later, proposed revolutionary technologies such as dynamic sharding and transaction consensus, concluded a seed round of $18.2 million in October last year, with more than 50 investors participating, and Shardeum’s valuation reached around $200 million.

Fig6. Part of Shardeum’s Investors / Source:

In February, Shardeum released its last test network, Betanet, before the mainnet, which measured around 200 TPS with 150 to 300 nodes. Shardeum’s mainnet will deploy at least 1,280 nodes with a maximum TPS of 100,000 in the future, according to the team’s technical design and feasibility projection. If all goes as planned, the performance of Shardeum’s mainnet will be competitive with the new Layer-1 chain mentioned above. Shardeum is significantly undervalued, with its current valuation of $200 million. From a comprehensive perspective, Shardeum has a huge potential to increase its valuation in the future.

Fig7. Comparison of New Layer-1s / Source:

6- Experienced Team

Similar to Polygon,Shardeum initiated from India and has become the fastest growing Layer-1 in India, the huge Web3 market. Shardeum was co-founded by Nischal Shetty, who founded WazirX, India’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, and Omar Syed, a blockchain architect who has worked with NASA, Yahoo, and Zynga to build scalable, fault-tolerant, distributed systems.

Shardeum’s team has been expanding rapidly in the last year, especially in tech, marketing, and ecosystem building. Now, the team comprises 70+ employees with diverse cultural backgrounds from India, the United States, Myanmar, and other countries and regions.

Fig8. Shardeum’s Team / Source: & Linkedin

7- High Quality of Community

The community-driven mindset is embedded in Shardeum’s concept and vision. In order to foster the growth of the community, which in turn aids the development of its products, technologies, and ecosystem, Shardeum consistently adheres to the three OCC principles — Open, Collaborative, Community Driven.

Shardeum places a strong emphasis on community engagement and creates opportunities to feed the community. The Shardeum team has established incentive programs, including Super Shardian, Shardeum Leagues, Shardeum Missions, and Become a Contributor. For example, Super Shardian will post community missions one after another, and those who complete them will be rewarded. In the second half of 2022, the Super Shardian Program has posted 170+ community missions and 170+ rewards. Shardeum’s community grew and maintained a high level of activity thanks to the constant stream of incentive programs for the community.

Huge Community Pool

In 2022, Shardeum’s community exploded substantially following each testnet release, from tens of thousands 1 year ago to 750k followers today, with coverage on Twitter, Telegram, YouTube, Discord, and other prominent community channels. Shardeum community members frequently contribute to the development of the project. Online, there is never a dull moment regarding Shardeum technology and product, which is an organic community-driven decentralized project.

Fig9. The growth metrics of the Shardeum‘s community / Source:

Numerous Community Events

Apart from the size, Shardeum has a vibrant community that consistently hosts splendid events. More than 50 events were held in January and February of this year, a significant increase compared to the same months last year, bringing the community’s six-month total of events to over 110. (Include planned activities)

Based on the theme and approach, their events can be classified as Campus Seminar, Campus Webinar, dApp Library, Demo, Meetup, Webinar, Workshop, and others, with Meetup being hosted the most frequently.

Fig10. Shardeum’s Community Events by Category (since Jul, 2022) / Source:

8- Summary

Shardeum has set a long-term goal since its inception: to solve the blockchain trilemma, which is the core problem limiting the development of the crypto industry. To this end, Shardeum has made significant innovations in the underlying technology of blockchain, introducing unique transaction consensus and dynamic state-sharding technology, aiming to ensure network security and achieve high scalability and meager transaction costs while taking into account the decentralized structure.

Shardeum has released several test networks of Liberty 1.0 (Alphanet), Liberty 2.0, and Betanet (Sphinx). In addition, it has conducted quite a few rounds of comprehensive tests on the performance and security of the network. The test networks have functioned admirably, indicating that Shardeum’s goal of high scalability, stability, and decentralization is being achieved.

With the release and upgrade of test networks, Shardeum’s community has grown expeditiously in the past year and now hit 750K community users. The Shardeum ecosystem has built a unique win-win paradigm of “community to drive project development” and “project to grant community perks.” Such a virtuous cycle of community development is established on the OCC principles (Open, Collaborative, Community-driven Development) that Shardeum always esteems.

It is thrilling that Shardeum is well prepared to launch its mainnet in Q2 of 2023 when the linear scaling of the Shardeum network is fully accomplished. The network will have at least 1,280 validators, and the public sale of SHM tokens will occur. A series of milestones are scheduled to happen in the coming months, which will benefit Shardeum’s investors, consumers, developers, and community members.

DFG strongly believes Shardeum is one of the most competitive Layer-1 infrastructure projects, and its success is meaningful to the evolution of scalability and the crypto world. As one of the early backers of Shardeum, DFG is deeply committed to working closely with these brilliant team members to witness the project’s progression.

About DFG

DFG is a global investment firm with more than $1B in AUM focused on empowering blockchain and Web3 companies. DFG’s portfolio has included equity holdings in Circle, Coinlist, Amber Group, FV Bank, ChainSafe, and Bloq among others. In addition, DFG is an early investor in new and emerging protocols and projects, including Polkadot, Kusama, Avalanche, Solana, Near, and Shardeum, among others.

Recently, DFG has become a leading and active member of the Polkadot ecosystem, which includes partnerships with and investments in projects such as Astar, Acala Network, Moonbeam, Efinity, HydraDX, Interlay, Ternoa, Bit.Country and many more.

DFG Website:
DFG Twitter: @DFG_Official
DFG LinkedIn: DFG