Two years ago, Bitcoin dominated the crypto market, accounting for 70% of the industry’s value. But when the market cap crossed $2 trillion, the industry was shriveled up. Today, Bitcoin’s market share is sitting at less than 40% and many new crypto networks are popping up every day. One of the ways to see how this industry will grow is to follow the software developers who build and maintain the cryptocurrency network.
“Developers tend to be quite rational. They are always exploring and developing new possibilities for their tools,” said Avichal Garg, managing partner at crypto-focused venture firm Electric Capital. He considers the number of developers working on the network “as a leading indicator of the value that will be created and accumulated over the next 10 years” of a crypto project.
Garg together with Maria Shen, partner of Electric Capital, has publish reports on which crypto platforms attract the most developers in 2021. They used data from GitHub, an online repository where developers store code, to estimate the number of engineers. Engineers work on each platform. The total number of developers for the project may be lower than the actual number, as the report doesn’t show how much code is written specifically or how many engineers work at companies like Coinbase.
Their research says that 18,000 active developers are working on crypto platforms, up from about 10,000 developers the previous year. Garg sees that increase as validation of the industry’s ability to grow and longevity.
Kinjal Shah, an investor at Blockchain Capital, agrees that:
“When developers proceed to invest their time and effort in the project, it is a strong signal that they are trying to build the foundation and stick with the project in the long term.”
Electric Capital’s research analyzed nearly 500,000 sets of code and 160 million code updates. It compares December 2020 with December 2021 to calculate growth. In the list below, a developer is considered full-time if they make at least 10 software updates in a month.
Top 10 fastest growing crypto market ecosystems | Source: Electric Capital
The fastest growing platforms are all rivals to Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency network launched in 2015, which has 1,300 full-time developers involved in creating applications on it. Ethereum acts as a decentralized computer where applications can be built and maintained by more than 5,000 “nodes” or computers that validate transactions. The downside of the Ethereum network is that it can only handle about 15 transactions per second (the Nasdaq stock market averages around 20,000 transactions per second) and transaction fees can sometimes exceed $100.
All of these growing cryptocurrency networks adopt different decentralized methods and consensus protocols (transaction validation algorithmic processes) than Ethereum. They settle transactions faster, with lower fees, and most are not as decentralized as the Ethereum network.
Korea-based Terra was founded by businessman Do Kwon, which was launched 4 years ago. The UST stablecoin, a cryptocurrency pegged to the dollar, has grown rapidly, hitting a market valuation of $10 billion, making it one of the top five stablecoins in the world.
San Francisco-based Solana has surprised many in the crypto wars over the past year, as it attracted hundreds of developers and received strong support from crypto billionaire Sam Bankman- Fried. A wide range of applications built on Solana, from cryptocurrency exchanges and lending products to music applications, have become very popular. Solana’s SOL token, which rose from $1.85 in January 2021 to $170 late last year, has now dropped to the $141 region with a market cap touching $43.9 billion.
Near, the protocol was founded in the Bay Area in 2017, by Alexander Skidanov and Illia Polosukhin, two engineers who have worked on the MemSQL distributed database system and Google’s TensorFlow machine learning platform. Both Solana and Near are built using Rust, a more widely used popular programming language than Solidity, which is based on Ethereum.
Solana and Near have also been active in providing grants to software developers if they agree to build apps on their respective systems. Near announced an $800 million funding program in October, and former Circle CMO, Marieke Flament, became Near Foundation’s CEO this year.
Meanwhile, the EOS platform has lost a significant number of developers, falling from around 125 active developers (both full-time and part-time) in December 2020 to 80 in December 2020. the following year. During 2018, EOS became famous in the crypto community when it conducted a $4 billion ICO fundraiser and was subsequently fined $24 million by the SEC for providing unregistered securities services. The company does not acknowledge or deny this allegation.
In addition to the fastest growing networks, Electric Capital’s research also lists the network with the largest total number of developers. Ethereum has long held the top spot, and one in four new crypto developers chooses to build apps on top of Ethereum.
Top 10 Cryptocurrency Market Ecosystem | Source: Electric Capital
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According to Forbes