Aurora 2022: A Year In Review

Aurora 2022: A Year In Review

What a year 2022 has been! The crypto industry as a whole has suffered several blows this year that have left many of us grappling with unanswered questions-- How can we move forward from these setbacks? What can we do to make the industry thrive and recover users' hopes? Of course, these are important questions that we, at Aurora Labs, are asking ourselves as we prepare for 2023. However, we believe that while we are reflecting on how to overcome these challenges, we should also remember and celebrate the extraordinary achievements that our team has reached in 2022 to approach the future with optimism and determination.

A Thriving Aurora Ecosystem & a Growing Community ✨

To start our walk through memory lane, it seems appropriate to begin by looking at the growth of our ecosystem and community. Since the beginning of 2022, over 248 projects have decided to build on top of Aurora, and Aurora DAO has provided support to many of those through grants that amount to over $800k.

When it comes to the Aurora Community, 2022 has been a year marked by astonishing growth. The Aurora community now counts 13 regional communities, 6 media community groups, and over 16 influencers and media partners who are engaged in weekly activities such as AMAs, contests, and threads, and more.

Tech and Product: Aurorascan, New Engine Releases & Aurora+ ⚙️

The Aurora Labs' team has been relentlessly working throughout 2022 to deliver an improved experience to builders and users. Major updates and new initiatives have been launched on 2022 that deserve special attention:

Aurora Integration with Etherscan

Aurora's integration with Etherscan was one of the first major announcements of 2022. This instance of Etherscan on the Aurora network is called Aurorascan and it allows users and developers to get access to developers tools and network stats that provide extended insights into Aurora's EVM.

Aurora Engine 2.4.0

On February 25th 2022, Aurora's Engine team released important updates on the EVM engine aimed at simplifying developers' work and user experience. These new technical upgrades led to the reduction of the Engine's gas usage, opening up new use cases for developers.

Aurora Engine 2.7.0

On September 6th, the Engine team announced another important improvement with the release of the Aurora Engine 2.7.0 which introduced the Cross Contract Calls AIP-2. AIP-2 is the first AIP feature to make it into the project and opens up the possibility to call NEAR contracts through the Aurora EVM.

With the release of the 2.7.0 engine, the team also hit another crucial milestone by announcing the cross compilation of Solidity into WASM which allows any developer to use Solidity to build their apps directly on NEAR.

Aurora Engine 2.8.0

The latest Engine upgrade came on November 30th with the release of the Aurora Engine 2.8.0. The new engine version included security enhancements, binary reproducibility, some finds from the fuzzers, and improvements to cross-contract calls.

Aurora MEV

The Aurora MEV program is an accessible mempool-like environment that secures the network and protects against spam. A managed MEV flow reduces post-block production spam and at the same time decreases incentives for Sybil attacks. Lastly, it creates an open and competitive market for order-flow payment and takes steps towards conserving the value inside the ecosystem itself --- value which grows exponentially as the market moves towards the green.

The Launch of Aurora+

The launch of Aurora+ on May 17th is one of the greatest accomplishments of the year when it comes to elevating users' experience. Aurora+ is a new platform and membership program that unlocks, for any basic user, a suite of incredible benefits. These include 50 free transactions per month, Aurora Staking, and Aurora Airdrop. Aurora+ also put forward a Premium Plan for those that need more than 50 free transactions per month and allows them to also participate in the governance, perform private transactions, and have a single point KYC for any dApps in the Aurora ecosystem. Aurora+ is an initiative that brings a Web2 experience into the Web3 world and a major step towards mass adoption.

In September 2022, Aurora+ put forward other major initiatives that further increased its usability, like Aurora+ Swaps, an instant crypto exchange and easiest place to swap tokens on Aurora. Another very important tool introduced is a Fiat on Ramp that allows users to top-up their Aurora+ account with fiat directly from within the new Aurora+ dashboard with any VISA or Mastercard. Lastly, Aurora+ also launched a referrals program to promote awareness around the Aurora ecosystem and encourage new people to join the ecosystem.

Aurorabot's Launch

To celebrate the launch of Aurora+ an exclusive NFT collection was launched on Endemic--Aurorabot. These unique NFTs not only have an artistic value, but each Aurobot provides its owner with 500 free transactions per month on the Aurora network!

Aurora DAO Approved $Aurora Staking Contract

The approval of the $Aurora staking contract was a long awaited development, and the first step towards the consolidation of a truly decentralized governance model. With the approval of the $Aurora staking contract, token holders can now receive $AURORA rewards and voting rights. For more information about the staking mechanism we invite you to read the following post.

Key Partnerships 🤝

In 2022, Aurora had the pleasure to strike several new partnerships with key industry players such as BraveCovalentFireblocksThe GraphChainstakFreenameRiftHashbon, and AllStars Digital. Below we provide a recap of what these new partnerships brought to the Aurora ecosystem.

Aurora Integrates with Brave Wallet

Aurora was integrated with Brave Wallet, and it is now available as a preloaded chain for all Brave Wallet users. As the Aurora ecosystem evolves, Brave's native token (BAT) will also become available for use in DeFi via integrations in decentralized exchanges, lending markets, and more. Lastly, Brave has also announced its plans to bring Aurora's token swaps and streamlined bridging to Brave Wallet in the near future.

Covalent Indexes Aurora Mainnet

Covalent, the leading provider of indexing solutions for blockchains with their Unified API, integrated with Aurora mainnet in May 2022. This integration provides developers with reliable, high-quality data that will enable them to build their applications more quickly and with ease. Thanks to this partnership, developers are now able to deploy a multichain in minutes by simply changing their ID parameters. However, that is not all, since more initiatives will be unfolded at later stages, such as the Covalent's analyst mode which will allow developers to write SQL to build bespoke dashboards, and decentralizing the Aurora data stack for redundancy and validator incentives.

Fireblocks Brings Easier Assets Management on Aurora

Aurora's integration with Fireblocks, an all-in-one platform for digital assets, enabled institutional clients to benefit from a fast, low-cost, secure, and reliable asset management tool on Aurora. This partnership helped to remove complexity when it comes to managing day to day digital asset operations and making it easier and more accessible for Aurora users.

Chainstack Launches dedicated Aurora RPC nodes

Aurora's partnership with Chainstack was an important step towards achieving greater decentralization and scalability. Developers on Aurora are now able to retrieve the chain data and send transactions through Chainstack's nodes. Through Chainstack, developers can access a robust and scalable infrastructure that is entirely run by Chainstack so they can simply focus on building and exploring data on NEAR through Aurora.

The Graph Deploys on Aurora

At the end of 2021 Aurora announced its partnership with The Graph, aimed at bringing superior data indexing on Aurora. The Graph, thanks to its subgraphs, helps facilitate the development and deployment of performant and discoverable APIs with data indexed from blockchains. In February of 2022, The Graph deployed on Aurora introducing another great developers tool on the ecosystem.

Freename Redefines Web3 Naming on Aurora

Freename is a new platform that allows users to mint their Web3 domains on any preferred chain. Since October 2022, Aurora users can benefit from this service and secure their brand identity.

Rift Partnered with Aurora to Promote DAOs' Growth

Aurora announced its partnership with Rift Finance to help supercharge DAO growth in the NEAR ecosystem. Rift is a novel form of protocol-owned liquidity that empowers DAOs to achieve sustainable liquidity in a single transaction. For Aurora, Rift's deployment means more sustainable liquidity for the entire ecosystem. By providing the necessary liquidity tooling for DAOs, Rift unlocks the growth potential of the ecosystem and at large, allowing it to scale sustainably.

Hashbon Pass on Aurora

Hashbon FiRe deployed its Hashbon Pass on Aurora, the first anonymous KYC for users and DeFi services.

Aurora Enters the world of Crypto Sports Staking with AllStars Digital

AllStars Digital, a new platform that tokenizes the trade of a wide range of sports-based alternative assets, has partnered with Aurora to roll out an expansive list of player-based digital assets. This partnership allowed Aurora to become one of the first chains to tap into crypto sports staking.

Bounty Programs 💰

In 2022 Aurora released two important bounty programs to promote external contributions and to incentivize bug reporting.

Aurora Bounty Program

Aurora released a bounty program that allows external people to work on tasks for Aurora and its ecosystem while getting paid for their services. Tasks are added overtime on Aurora's Github allowing more people to contribute to Aurora's growth.

Aurora's Bug Bounty

Together with Immunefi, Web3's leading bug bounty platform, Aurora launches a bounty to incentivize hackers to report bug bounties and earn up to $1M for their service.

Rainbow Bridge Updates 🌈

In 2022 the Rainbow Bridge proved its resilience by successfully shutting down three hacker attacks. Each attack was automatically mitigated in approximately 30 seconds and caused the loss of 5 ETH to the attackers.

From the technical side, the major update for the Rainbow Bridge was the introduction of the Rainbow Bridge NEAR-native token connector which marked a new era for compatibility and connectivity between NEAR and Ethereum. Thanks to this addition users are now able to bridge any NEAR-native token to the Ethereum network

Aurora In the World: Conferences & Events 🌎

Throughout 2022, Aurora Labs was present at over 28 events across the world, from EthDenver, to Permissionless, Consensus, EthBarcelona, EthCC, Korea Blockchain week, to NEARCON and DevCon.