It’s that time of year again. When we look back, and reflect on how far we’ve come in one year. Working in Web3 is like aging in dog years: one year equates to seven. This industry moves at lightspeed and in keeping up with the pace, it’s easy to lose sight of just how much one can accomplish in a year. In this blog we breakdown the key moments at Infura in 2022 and make predictions for 2023.

Added support for 6 new networks

One of the most important evolutions the Infura platform underwent in 2022 has been the six blockchain networks we added to build a multi-chain future for Web3.

For many years Infura has been known as the first node provider to exist for Ethereum. Today Infura supports 12 networks in total, six of which were added in 2022. You could say 2022 was “the year of multi-chain expansion” at Infura. And while we consider it a great honor to have been the first infrastructure provider built to support Ethereum, we know the future of Web3 is multi-chain. Here is the complete list of network releases in their order:

February - Palm

May - NEAR

July - Aurora

September - StarkNet

October - Avalanche C-Chain

November - Celo

We believe every developer should be able to choose the right blockchain for their dapp and go into greater detail about the considerations for choosing a network in this blog.

Providing reliable data and consistent uptime to these networks through the Infura platform means we can also build for interoperability, connecting as many builders to as many networks as possible with a robust API solution.

We are grateful to every network that chose to partner with Infura last year. 2022 was most definitely the year of network releases and we will continue our steady drum beat of network rollouts into 2023. The future is multi-chain!

Launched the NFT API

Another 2022 milestone took place at NFT.NYC in June 2022, where we launched the NFT API. After witnessing the rise in NFT adoption that occurred throughout 2021, we knew we needed to support builders by providing an API with all the metadata and tooling they require to keep advancing NFT technology.

The announcement included our unforgettable Times Square billboard takeover and an event during NFT.NYC dedicated to helping developers be part of the beta and start using the API for their projects.

Infura NFT API Times Square Billboard
Infura NFT API Times Square Billboard
Team Infura at ConsenSys Connect Event

The Ethereum Merge to Proof of Stake

When reflecting on 2022, who could forget the most important technological upgrade in recent history? The Ethereum Merge. Taking place in the early morning of September 15th, 2022, the Merge is the largest decarbonization in the history of technology, reducing Ethereum’s carbon footprint by 99.98%.

The Merge was celebrated far beyond the Ethereum community with news outlets worldwide, both tech and mainstream, wanting to understand its importance and how a community of developers was going to pull off upgrading the consensus mechanism of the world’s largest public blockchain without anyone noticing. Needless to say, Ethereum’s migration to Proof to Stake was flawless and we could not have been more proud to be part of the core devs team.  

In the months and weeks leading up to the Merge, the Infura team made it our top priority to ensure developers were informed about the changes the Merge implied to their client software setups and how they could prepare.

We published Infura’s Guide to Preparing for the Merge, complete with FAQs and step-by-step instructions of how to upgrade software clients, to ensure a smooth transition for developers using Infura. We also hosted seven weekly workshops to have direct contact with our community and answer all their questions and concerns in an open, broadcast forum. Lastly, we said goodbye to Ropsten, Koven, Rinkeby, and welcomed Goerli and Sepolia as Ethereum’s new long-lived testnets.

Growing Infura’s APAC community

Asia is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world for blockchain adoption. The Asia Pacific blockchain market comprises China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and others. Asia is the largest and most diversified continent on Earth. It’s also where you’ll find cutting-edge infrastructure, top-tier innovation clusters, and densely populated emerging markets. For these reasons it was important for Infura to increase our presence in these regions and grow our APAC community in 2022.

We attend 34 events, connecting with builders and sharing our infrastructure service to improve their development experiences and dapps. These events included Gecko Con in Japan, Buidl Asia 2022 in Korea, Global Digital Assets Investment Summit 2022 in Singapore, Hong Kong Fintech Week in Hong Kong, and the World Blockchain Summit Bangkok in Thailand.

We also launched Infura’s partnership with China Software Developer Network in December. Those who are interested in reading about it in Chinese can visit this webpage.

Decentralized infrastructure network announcement

The final and perhaps the most significant milestone of 2022 at Infura was the announcement of our plans to launch a new decentralized infrastructure network.

Infura’s Co-Founder, EG Galano, made the announcement at ETHBerlin just days after the Ethereum Merge on September 17th. He also shared the news in this open letter to our community and crypto Twitter and the press went wild! The news was picked by 20 publications like Bloomberg, Coindesk, and Decrypt.

We also received over 4,000 submissions to join the early access program and while we can’t share who applied and who’s been accepted yet, we can say some big tech from Web2 are among them.

We know how important decentralization is to the future of Web3 and that it must underpin the technology we build. We know how much this matters to our community of builders and to the end-user of dapps today. Our team continues to work on the network and is making excellent progress you can read about in this blog.

That covers the key moments of 2022 at Infura. How about we look ahead to the future?

Predictions for 2023

Given the backdrop of various companies like FTX, BlockFi, Voyager, Celsius and others who have suffered scandals and loss of customer deposits in the billions of dollars, we expect the coming year to bring greater focus on the technology stack used to support and offer crypto services to end-users. Our industry has relied for too long on a legacy Web2 technology stack that is no longer keeping up with the demands of crypto.

The rise of the web3 tech stack

To put it simply, most cryptocurrency services rely on centralized gateways to access or update opaque databases. They are fully trusted systems with no guarantees of integrity nor are they tamper-resistant to protect the records of user authorized transactions. Worse still, a single operator can freeze the entire system in an instant and indefinitely. As a community, we have somehow built systems that replicate the legacy financial system alongside all the risks associated with it.

In 2023 we expect to finally change the technology stack that underpins most financial services built to serve users interested in cryptocurrencies. There is growing evidence of a desire for change too.

In the immediate term, exchanges are rushing to implement and support proof of solvency and proof of reserve protocols to demonstrate their assets cover their liabilities and they are fully collateralized to support all customer withdrawals. It is a step in the right direction, but there are greater fundamental changes taking place in the long term.

The very fabric of crypto, especially Ethereum and other blockchain networks, is to build systems that ultimately protect the end-user from an all-powerful system operator.

As a community, we have witnessed how crypto can achieve this end-goal with the rise of decentralized finance (DeFi). It enables a range of financial services without intermediaries like auctions without auctioneers and swapping assets without brokers. The final step is deploying DeFi protocols on a technology stack that can scale up its throughout and support the adoption for billions of users.

Ethereum’s 2023 rollup centric roadmap

This brings us to a prediction for 2023 which focuses on the emergence of rollups and Ethereum’s roll-up centric roadmap. A rollup offers a fundamentally new technology stack that all cryptocurrency service providers can adopt.

It allows the system operator to maintain a centralized front-end for managing user activity, but a decentralized backend that allows anyone to contribute towards protecting the off-chain database. System operators can focus on offering a superior user experience while the rollup technology automatically protects the integrity of the system.

With this prediction in mind, it is why Infura has focused on supporting the various rollup protocols including Optimism, Arbitrum, Starknet and the zkEVM by Consensys. We foresee cryptocurrency service providers slowly migrating away from their legacy Web2 software to a new technology stack powered by rollups. Motivated by the desire to protect users and to allow the companies to focus on their product without the liability to protect billions of dollars.

To conclude, the rise of DeFi and rollups is at the heart of Infura’s mission. We, alongside our infrastructure provider collaborators for the upcoming decentralized network, must be ready to support the colossal scale of JSON requests that will surely come with the rise of a new technology stack based on Web3 principles – protecting end-users from the accidental or intentional abuses of the system’s operator with decentralized systems.