Cartesi Research Report – 20th Aug 2021

Cartesi Research Report


Cartesi (CTSI) is a versatile layer-2 infrastructure project which enables complex and intensive computations to run in a Linux environment, outside the blockchain, without compromising decentralization. In this report, we lay emphasis on how the project works, its problem solving capacity and review the pros and cons.

The CMP is $0.76 as of 20th August 2021.

What is Cartesi?

Cartesi is a layer-2 platform for the development and deployment of scalable decentralized applications(DApps). It is an infrastructure for blockchains that lets developers create highly scalable smart contracts with conventional software stacks on a Linux virtual machine.

The CTSI DApps are hybrid in nature, offering a combination of blockchain and off-chain

Erick de Moura, one of the co-founders, iterates that Cartesi bridges the gap between an innovative blockchain technology and the power of mainstream software development.

Image source: Reddit

Why Cartesi matters and its problem solving capabilities?

The two most fundamental roadblocks to Blockchain technology are scalability and cumbersome development software.

Software development on the blockchain platforms has always been hard to do with, expensive and susceptible to bugs/delays. One of the main reasons behind this is that developers have to build applications in a fresh programming language and start from square one, without resorting to the thousands of libraries that they have been used to.

Erick de Moura further explains that the DeFi is built on severe restrictions, where developers have to be almost heroic to work under these computational limitations devoid of a real operating system.

Cartesi brings about an essential solution to this scenario where developers can build on well-established software they are familiar with and execute them in a Linux environment. The project aims to bridge the gap between the centralized and decentralized worlds of application development. Some of its key features include:

  • Scalability
  • Programmability
  • Ease of Adoption
  • Decentralization
  • Portability
  • Privacy

Fundamentals of Cartesi

As mentioned earlier, Cartesi DApps are a hybrid of blockchain and off-chain components. The off-chain component runs in a network of Cartesi Nodes each representing the interests of a DApp user. The off-chain component is further divided into two modalities. Native computations run directly in the host hardware.

Although native computations have access to the node’s full processing power (including GPUs), the computations are not reproducible. The reproducible computations run instead inside Cartesi Machines that are controlled by the Cartesi Node. These are general, fully self-contained Linux systems that run on a deterministic RISC-V architecture. Nodes interact with Cartesi Machines by means of a well-defined host interface.


Considering the limitations of the blockchain, several pioneers of the field and many projects have been coming up with solutions to these problems, one being rollups. Simply put, rollups are a way to deploy complex computations outside of the blockchain, reducing the heavy burden that is responsible for its current jamming. It has become the most promising of them all for two reasons: first, it provides a very generous scaling factor with very few compromises on security and versatility and secondly, rollups and sharding form a very powerful combination that complements each other to push scalability even further.

Cartesi token(CTSI)

Cartesi is currently developing a proof of stake blockchain on the Ethereum platform which will be maintained by a network of Node Operators.

The Cartesi token will have the following features in this new consensus algorithm:-

  • Election of Block producers – Miners will be selected to propose in the blocks based on their Cartesi token balances.
  • Slashing – Unruly behavior by the corrupt actors can be disincentivized
  • Staking – Block generators will be selected based on the amount of the Cartesi tokens staked
  • Transaction fees – Cartesi tokens will be used to pay the transaction fees to the Node Operators
  • Challenge computations –

The Cartesi Token will also be important in order to challenge computation results posted on the blockchain.

Existing products and Use cases:


Creepts is a decentralized tower defence game built by Cartesi to showcase an early version of Cartesi’s core technology. It relies on a bracket structure where each winner is promoted to the next round until the final match-up.


Noether is a high-performance side chain for data availability. It is a side chain designed by Cartesi for temporary data availability, allowing dApps to achieve high throughput and storage of large files with reduced fees. It is presently being bootstrapped through CTSI reserve mining.


Descartes SDK is the simplest infrastructure that DApps can use to run computations that would be impossible or too expensive to execute on-chain, either due to their complexity or due to the amount of data to be processed.

Potential Use Cases

The potential uses of Cartesi extend far beyond just gaming. It can be used to improve the

performance of any type of app, including:

  • Logistics & Optimization
  • Decentralized Finance(DeFi)
  • Research
  • Marketplace
  • Outsourcing


Image source: https://icodrops.com

Opportunity and Competition Analysis

In a $500 Billion industry growing at a 30% CAGR, Cartesi shares a market cap of USD 300 million. With Cartesi aiming to resolve the fundamentals roadblocks in the blockchain system, it is only a matter of time before it dwells on a tremendous opportunity and captures a large chunk of its industry market cap.

In regards to competitors, Cartesi is fairly unique project in a certain way. Offchain Labs (Arbitrum) appears to be one of the closest projects. It has a similar protocol for off-chain computation that involves an interactive dispute resolution.

Team Cartesi

The Cartesi project was initiated in 2018 by four co-founders – Erick de Moura, Augusto Teixeira, Diego Nehab and Colin Steil.

The four originally became interested in blockchain due to Augusto Teixeira being friends with IOTA’s founder Serguei Popov.

Once Cartesi was started Popov became one of the earliest investors and advisors in the project.


Cartesi’s ultimate aim is to help DApp developers build captivating products for their clients and customers.

In a direct application of the principle of least astonishment, Cartesi’s core enables developers to leverage pre-existing knowledge and tools to boost their productivity.

As specified earlier, the key strength of Cartesi seems to lie in Scalability, Programmability, Ease of Adoption, Portability and Privacy Its weakness seems to be Partial security. It may be noted that there is no specific platform that can guarantee 100% security for the safety of data which is its weakness.

MintingM rating for CARTESI: 3.9/5

Opportuniy Size5.00
Competitive advantage3.5
Overall Score3.9

Important links and sources