The Cartesi (CTSI), an effort at solving the problem of blockchain scalability, has received new levels of attention of late. Both the platform and the utility token (CTSI) have flown under the radar even of careful observers of the crypto world until recently. 

But together, Cartesi (CTSI) aims to solve the blockchain scalability issue using a technology developers call Optimistic Rollups, that scales up the bandwidth of the ETH mainnet.

Importantly, too, on the Cartesi system transactions first occur off-chain, before they are broadcast to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). This means that smart contracts can be created using mainstream programming languages, especially Linux.  

Cartesi, then, is favored by smart contract developers who see it as a way of combining the strengths of Ethereum on the one hand and Linux on the other. 

The CEO of Cartesi, Erick de Moura, describes the off-chain feature as a way of “opening the doors for extensive adoption of regular developers who have never programmed for blockchain, as they will create decentralized applications [DApps] with a coding experience similar to desktop or web.” 

The White Paper

De Moura was part of the founding group in 2018, along with Augusto Teixeira, Diego Nehan, and Colin Steil. Their white paper begins with a careful distinction between layer 1 and layer 2 approaches to giving blockchain scalability. 

Layer 1 solutions address the underlying blockchain infrastructure itself. To that end, one might optimize block size, or partition a database (“sharding,”) or create Delegated Proof of Stake, the white paper said.  But these solutions all share the same problem, they are “burdened by the requirement of preserving global consensus.” 

Layer 2 solutions, on the other hand, can achieve scalability without consensus, by “moving as much data and computation as possible off-chain,” it says. The Cartesi (CTSI) is not the first to adopt this approach: the white paper cites plasma, side chains, TrueBit as other examples of layer 2.  

Not only can the DApp developers work off-chain, they should assume that other work is being done off-chain as well, and work that into their own apps. A Cartesi Dapp, then, will “specify reproducible offchain computations to be performed over large amounts of off-chain data …. Cartesi Nodes can automatically follow these specifications to perform the computations off-chain. DApp developers can instruct the nodes to submit results or verify and dispute results submitted by others. From the blockchain’s perspective, undisputed computations take negligible resources.” 

The name is an homage to Rene Descartes, the founder of Cartesian geometry and a founder figure of modern philosophy. The tribute is apt.

CTSI Has Spiked in Value

Cartesi (CTSI) is receiving attention now because of a recent surge in the value of CTSI. 

CTSI had a spike in value in May 2021, when Elon Musk excited the whole crypto world. As with the other currencies so excited, the impact was short-lived. CTSI went from $0.73 on May 2 to $1.72 on May 7. It lost that value just as quickly, and more (due to the crackdown on crypto in China) and on June 23 it traded at $0.38. 

The upward move this month seems difficult to attribute to industry-wide causes. the value went from $0.47 on August 8 to $1.04 in the early afternoon of the following day, largely because it had just received its listing on the Kraken exchange.

It has given back much of that ground since, but at this writing it seems to be at an equilibrium in the neighborhood of $0.72.   
Also, just last week Cartesi announced an accelerator program and that, too, has heightened interest. “The #Cartesi Labs accelerator program, aims to bring projects built on Cartesi to the next level. For those leveraging Cartesi’s products, we provide investment into the project alongside support that will accelerate your project’s growth” it said.