axelar-2023-year-in-review

Tldr

We're excited to share a recap of 2023, including major milestones, product releases, ecosystem integrations and devrel content. Dive in! To stay up to speed in 2024, subscribe to the main newsletter for general updates or subscribe to the developer newsletter for developer-specific content.

January: Squid liquidity router launches

The Axelar network ecosystem kicked off the year with the launch of Squid Router, enabling seamless cross-chain swaps over decentralized infrastructure for the first time. In a matter of months, Squid has grown to power cross-chain swaps and bridging for major projects, including dYdX and MetaMask. And, via Squid Boost, it is finalizing swaps faster than what users expect on a single chain. Check it out.

February: Interop Summit at ETHDenver

interop-summit

The Interop Summit, powered by Axelar at ETHDenver BUIDLWeek, was a resounding success with over 1,300 attendees. This inaugural event, which sold out, showcased groundbreaking developments, including the Axelar Virtual Machine and the new Interchain Token Service. The Summit's agenda was packed with speakers from Arbitrum, Base, Celestia, Chainlink, Circle, Optimism, Solana and many more. Technical workshops featured industry leaders such as Alchemy, Aptos, CosmWasm, Infura, Stellar, Sui and zkSync, each contributing unique insights into Web3 development, blockchain innovation, and scaling solutions.

Links to check out:

Watch the full Interop Summit Workshop Playlist here.

March: Ethereum L2 interoperability

An early glimpse of Axelar's vision for interoperability in an Ethereum scaling via L2 and L3 blockchains, outlined by Axelar Inc. co-founder Sergey Gorbunov. (Axelar Inc. is the initial developer of Axelar network.) The challenge of building across hundreds of Layer 2s, requiring specific infrastructure for interconnectivity. He emphasized the importance of a consistent user experience, likened to Starbucks, and full-stack interoperability, combining core routing protocols with user-friendly layers. Learn more here.

April: Circle, Mastercard, Arbitrum, zkSync

axelar-and-mastercard-partnership

Notable new integrations for the Axelar network included a partnership with Mastercard and integration with Circle for Composable USDC

Developer tutorials were produced by the devrel team at Axelar Inc., and teams were supported at the Harvard Blockchain Club hackathon and the Filecoin Network Base event at Consensus in Austin on April 26. 

Collaborations with the Arbitrum developer community and zkSync, who highlighted their integration with Axelar, were featured. The month also saw the release of tutorials on General Message Passing, enhancing developer engagement.

You can watch the full video here if you missed it. Learn the Basics of General Message Passing - Axelar Developer Tutorials.

May: Space trucks + U Waterloo

axelar-cosmos

Axelar network enabled Cosmos GMP, supporting composability between EVM and Cosmos chains with a popular campaign, "space trucks." The leading integrator of this feature was Sommelier, a Cosmos-based protocol, featured in a Bankless episode with Zaki Manian of Sommelier and Steven Goldfeder from Offchain Labs (Arbitrum). Learn more about GMP here.

stephen-fluin

Axelar Inc. CEO Sergey Gorbunov delivered a technical keynote at the University of Waterloo Blockchain Club's inaugural Olympihacks and Stephen Fluin, Axelar Inc. Head of Developer Relations, conducted an interactive interchain workshop. The hackathon competition was intense, and the winning projects showcased innovation and technical prowess, ranging from an estate-planning service to a complex application integrating AI with Axelar for sending interchain messages, token transfers, and minting NFTs across 13 chains. Olympihacks was not just a competition but a celebration of emerging talent and interchain possibilities. Learn more about this hackathon here.

June: Uniswap approval

uniswap-approve-axelar

Uniswap announced that Axelar is approved to support the next phase of its cross-chain development. Using Axelar as a programmable interoperability layer will give Uniswap better governance over its multichain deployments, pushing updates securely cross-chain. “Axelar employs a proof-of-stake mechanism with sound cryptoeconomic guarantees to secure the protocol,” Uniswap noted, following a rigorous assessment. Learn more about the Uniswap assessment full report here.

axelar-sponsor-oscafest23

Notable new-chain integrations in June included Optimism and Filecoin. June also saw Axelar network activity at Open Source Community Africa (Oscafest23) Idris Olubisi, Developer Advocate at Axelar Inc., led a workshop.

July: Microsoft + Interchain Tokens

axelar-microsoft

In July, Axelar Inc. and Microsoft Azure partnered to integrate Web3 with traditional internet systems, focusing on utilizing public blockchains to bolster trust and facilitate AI integration in mainstream applications. Notably, this marks Axelar network as Microsoft's first Web3 interoperability integration. 

The Interchain Token Service (ITS) testnet was launched at EthCC, enhancing token fungibility and functionality across Web3. For details, see the announcement post and the ITS portal. ITS is part of the Axelar Virtual Machine (AVM), making interoperability a programmable layer that can automate complex tasks, letting developers build interchain dApps that span the whole of Web3 as if they were building on a single chain.

Axelar network was also represented at several notable events in July, including the Linea unconference, Celo Co: OPERATE, OsmoCon 2023 and the Axelathon, hosted by ContributionDAO, SCB10X and AWS in Thailand. Additionally, Axelar Inc. released a comprehensive tutorial on building a full-stack interchain decentralized application, furthering the educational outreach.

Axelathon

August: Base, Linea + Sei

August saw notable new chain integrations such as Base, Sei, and Linea. These integrations and educational resources underscore Axelar network's scalability: Axelar ends 2023 as the largest cross-chain ecosystem, and growing. Additionally, in August, Axelar Inc. published How to Create an Interchain Token with Axelar in 4 Steps and How to Build a Cross-Chain Airdrop DApp With Solidity, Next.js and Axelar, a developer tutorial.

September: Lido, dYdX + Token2049

dydx-axelar

Axelar network integrated with two major projects in September: Lido, renowned for its Ethereum-based liquid staking with stETH, and dYdX, the largest derivatives DEX by volume. Lido's expansion via Axelar network includes Cosmos connections and faster connections to layer-2 blockchains like Arbitrum and Optimism. With Axelar network and Squid, dYdX has one-click onboarding from any chain. Read the dYdX case study in CoinDesk.

Axelar Foundation had a major presence at Token2049 in Singapore, sponsoring side events and speaking on panels. Axelar also hosted various events and workshops at Web3 Lagos (workshop & conference), HackQuest in Shanghai and Ethcon Korea.

axelar-at-token2049

October: 50 chains + v0.34

Axelar network achieved a significant milestone by connecting to over 50 chains, including additions like Scroll, Centrifuge and Mantle. Progress continued on the Axelar Virtual Machine (AVM), with plans to transition from the devnet to deploying CosmWasm support and the Interchain Amplifier on the testnet in the upcoming months. More information is available here for those interested in this ongoing development and to try out the new chain integrations.

Axelar network also successfully completed an upgrade to v0.34. This release centered around smart contract governance, a new call-contracts proposal type and the ability to specify an optional refund address from the source chain when sending a GMP CallContract or FeePaid event from Cosmos chains.

Axelar Inc.’s ongoing developer tutorial video series explained two key features:

As always, you can catch up on previous tutorials on the Axelar network blog and over on the Axelar network YouTube channel.

Also in October, Axelar Foundation offered bounties at four global hackathons in October. 

November: J.P. Morgan, Filecoin + Foundry GMP Example

crosschain-portfolio-management

Axelar Inc. collaborated with Onyx by J.P. Morgan and Apollo on a successful proof-of-concept as part of 'Project Guardian' by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, showcasing automated rebalancing across interconnected blockchains, highlighting blockchain's potential for composability and automation in asset management. J.P. Morgan's Onyx used Axelar network's cross-chain technology for interoperability with Provenance Blockchain and Oasis Pro, supporting tokenized Apollo funds. For more details, check here.

interchain-governance

Axelar network was also used to integrate Uniswap and Filecoin, highlighted in a case study published in November. This case study demonstrates the innovative use of Axelar's technology in facilitating interoperability between these two significant blockchain platforms.

axelar-1million-transaction

In November, Axelar network passed a milestone: 1 million cross-chain transactions and 10 million blocks. Special thanks to all the protocols, builders and early adopters who have contributed to the growth of the Axelar ecosystem 🦾 Friends, this is just the beginning ⏩ Visit axelarscan.io for more.

Updates to Axelar’s Interchain Token Service (ITS) on testnet: Whether you are shipping a new token on multiple chains or leveling up an existing token with interchain functionality, ITS will have you covered. A November update introduces an InterchainTokenFactory to help deploy new tokens. ITS maintains fungibility and functionality with automation of complex developer tasks, reducing overhead. 

The Foundry GMP Example was released in November, providing examples to make it easier for developers to integrate with Axelar General Message Passing (GMP) using the Foundry framework. The Foundry GMP Example is a toolkit for developers looking to let smart contracts talk to each other across different blockchain networks using Foundry. Learn more.

December: Decentraland, Frax, Vertex + Messari

axelar-frax

Axelar network's new integrations include Vertex, Frax, and Decentraland in a series of exciting developments. The Vertex integration sews up Axelar network's leadership in the DEX category. The collaboration with Frax signifies a step forward in scalable interop for DeFi. Lastly, integrating with Decentraland opens new avenues in cross-chain NFTs and Web3 games. These partnerships highlight Axelar's growing influence and capability in enhancing cross-chain interoperability.

Messari covered Axelar network in an in-depth report that looked at Axelar's adoption by leaders in key verticals, compared Axelar vs. major competitors and looked ahead to new product releases and tokenomics changes in 2024.

axelar-and-developer-dao

Developer workshops: If you haven't seen these yet, check out the following videos from the Axelar team:

As always, you can catch up on previous tutorials on Axelar's blog and our YouTube channel.

THANK YOU!

2023 has been a tremendous year for the Axelar network. From the teams at Axelar Inc. and Axelar Foundation, thanks to all the builders and dreamers who made it great!

Stay tuned for more on what's to come in 2024!