1.1 Background

Public blockchain architectures have allowed for the next iteration of the internet: the decentralization of digital applications. Decentralized, digital applications are currently categorized in two subsequent groups: decentralized finance and the decentralized web.

Decentralized finance has achieved significantly more adoption than decentralized web, for a variety of factors, although the most significant is the difference in computational overhead required to create a contemporary user experience: the computation of money or money-like instruments is primarily dependent on floating-point arithmetic, computationally light to conduct in contrast to the algorithms required for the par-functioning of web applications reliant on ‘news feeds’, ‘matching algorithms’, and ‘product recommendations’. Consequently, decentralized finance can achieve private scalability at the same throughput as international payment networks, such as SWIFT [1], today and promises to achieve private scalability on par with modern domestic payment networks, such as VISA, in the near future. Decentralized finance will continue to subsume additional financial applications beyond payments, namely investing, trading, lending, and savings. These four use cases have begun to show meaningful growth as decentralized finance continue to scale.

The decentralized web is further from mainstream adoption: we approximate that popular decentralized web protocols today are three to five years behind their decentralized finance counterparts in terms of privacy and performance. While decentralized finance can leverage zero-knowledge-proofs to achieve private scalability, and the rate of zero-knowledge proof improvement has been exponential [2], the decentralized web is dependent on technology still further in its infancy, namely secure multi-party-computation (sMPC) and fully homomorphic encryption (FHE) [3]. As these cryptography technologies continue to scale in the same way that zero-knowledge proofs have over the last five years, the decentralized web will be able to reach the same adoption as decentralized finance.

However, so long as there exists any degree of centralization of decentralized financial and web products, the entire system is at risk. API’s Law states that: “A product is only as decentralized as its most centralized component.” We present APIS in order to realize a vision of decentralized finance and web, without any platform risk that would be subjugated to local regulations, specifically those in regimes that currently control the global regime and so are incentivized to mitigate disruption. The most centralized component of the decentralized finance and decentralized web stacks are the data index and querying layer, a mission-critical component without which decentralized applications would not be able to achieve mainstream adoption. Thus, APIS allows for decentralized finance and web products to permeate the world while maintaining the security properties of a fully decentralized web architecture.

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