2021 was a big year for Infura and with 2022 ahead, Infura’s general manager Michael Godsey takes us from the early days to what the company is focused on today.
Infura launched at DevCon in 2016 and as you can see from A Brief History of Infura, we’ve come a long way. We now count a community of over 400,000 developers, which signifies both our quick growth and our commitment to making Web3 as easy to build on as Web2. This has always been our mission and will continue to be our north star: providing developers with the tools they need to ship.
Looking back means acknowledging how far we’ve come as a team and evaluating the performance of the Infura platform. We are grateful to each and every developer who chooses Infura as their infrastructure provider and are ready for the new opportunities and challenges 2022 will bring. Our constant exploration of how we can serve our community better is what makes Infura a leader in Web3 development. In this post I’d like to share a bit about my history, experience, and thoughts on what makes Infura so important to realizing the Web3 vision.
My dad was a programmer and I was born and raised in a computer family. This led me to complete a degree in mathematics, then a master's degree in video game design and production, and my first job at EA Games. It was at EA that I learned about game creation, programming, and the complexity of developing software. For me, gaming is about exploration, solving challenges, and expressing your creativity through archetypes like antagonists, heroes, and survivors. Gaming also connects people and creates community. Web3 is no different. In Web3 we have users who join a shared environment and interact with it to achieve their goals.
From Gaming to Web3 Infrastructure
I have always focused my time and energy on understanding the developer mindset. Never losing sight of the developer experience has helped me have a “first principles” approach to product design and continuously ask the deeper questions that solve design challenges so that Infura is the number one tool developers choose to build with. And while it all started at EA, a pivotal point came when I got a call from my friend and former co-worker, E.G. Galano, who was creating a company in the exciting new world of Ethereum.
I sat down with E.G. Galano, the co-founder of Infura, and immediately connected with his strong perspective of Ethereum from the developer standpoint. Ethereum was new and very exciting and with Infura, we wanted developers to explore its potential and make their ideas a reality.
Our focus has always been to give developers the tools and then watch how they disrupt the market. Infura has seen massive growth and change since its early days when I joined but one thing has never changed, our mission to make building apps on Web3 easy for everyone.
Web3 Evolutions That Have Guided Us
Over the last five years our understanding of Ethereum has shaped our focus to create a similar interface for other blockchains and protocols. Some of the most notable Web3 evolutions that have shaped Infura’s product roadmap are MetaMask and Polygon.
MetaMask is the first Infura customer. It’s also the most used app and wallet in Web3, connecting millions of users on Web3 everyday. We saw Metamask grow exponentially during our partnership that demanded a lot from Infura. Every infrastructure piece was built to ensure that it could keep up with MetaMask’s user growth, resulting in high-performance, scalable APIs very quickly.
With MetaMask as our customer, we created libraries, tutorials, and other developer resources that enabled developers to learn exactly what we were learning. Our investment provided not only free infrastructure but also shaped our approach in the developer educational lifecycle, during the early days of Web3, and enabled developers to experiment with Infura and innovate in a highly competitive, ever-changing Web3 landscape.
Another important inflection point was when one of Polygon founders, Jaynti Kanani, came to us as a student. He was working on a very cool project called Dagger and was making some complex API calls that required an upgraded plan. We recognized the exciting work he was bringing to the ecosystem and got him set up on a special free student account, so he could experiment, unrestricted. We had no idea what Jaynti had brewing in his brain and it has been amazing to see the meteoric growth that he and the team have created with Polygon. Since adding Polygon APIs, the Polygon network on Infura has grown 3000%.
Polygon is a protocol for building and connecting Ethereum-compatible blockchain networks. It currently supports over 7,000 dapps using Infura, as of end-January 2022. The scaling solutions they’ve been able to build using Infura have contributed enormously to Ethereum’s growth and today, Polygon is now one of the leading side-chains in Web3 and a great addition to the Ethereum ecosystem.
We are inspired by Polygon's growth and believe it shows Infura's value and position in the market to allow developers to experiment with and over time, inevitably create successful products that advance Web3. Our decision to offer a freemium model is to assure developers we are here to stay and support you at any stage of your Web3 development journey, from ideation to product-market fit.
What Infura is Focused on Today
Infura’s growth has always been steady even through the many cycles of crypto winter. We see more and more developers coming to the platform to create projects that we couldn’t even imagine ourselves. Today, our focus remains to provide developers with the tools they need to ship. The challenge is to provide a platform that truly makes building easy and this motivates us. We welcome your feedback and collaboration in order to do this.
With the most recent updates to the platform including analytics, notifications, and the improved dashboard, developers can now better understand the data patterns in their projects that lead to growth, scalability, and a better UX for their customers. For Infura, it means that today, we can not only focus on core infrastructure, but also create more abstracted APIs and features, based on the emerging application and development patterns. These will allow developers to solve Web3’s biggest challenges and onboard even faster.
What Does 2022 Look Like for Infura?
2022 for Infura is looking very exciting! From the Merge, MetaMask, and DeFi applications, we’ll be busy!
Right now, we’re getting ready to embed Ethereum’s merge to Proof of Stake and provide the tools to developers who will be interacting with the new Consensus and Execution Layers (formally Ethereum 2.0) later this year.
Another core focus is to enable MetaMask to become an everyday tool for everyone interacting with the blockchain and to onboard early adopters by giving them a better developer experience. And since DeFi is here to stay, we believe MetaMask will become part of almost every person who uses DeFi and who are working actively with MetaMask to bring simpler, safer, and clearer experiences for users.
As for our team, we are more ecosystem-aligned, as we aim to provide a better user experience to best unlock the protocols for both mid-adopters and early adopters. NFTs will also play a big role this year, with major gaming companies showing interest in integrating Web3 in their games, unlocking new game mechanics, including a better marketplace and transferability. We’ve barely scratched the surface of NFTs, when it comes to implications on cross-entertainment mediums.
Infura’s focus is to grow every day by improving our platforms to ensure it remains the number one choice of developers. I strongly believe in Web3 and in how it will shape the future.