Ethereum still reigns with its developer ecosystems, but rival networks are catching up fast

  • New findings show that Ethereum reigns in terms of developer activity, with 4,000 monthly active developers of the total 18,000.
  • However, competitors such as Polkadot, Solana, and Avalanche have shown faster growth than Ethereum at similar times in history.

The Ethereum (ETH) network, only second to Bitcoin in terms of market cap, also boasts of the largest number of blockchain ecosystem developers. However, a new Jan. 6 report shows that blockchains of other altcoins are coming up fast, and giving Ethereum a run for its money.

According to crypto research firm Electric Capital, the networks Polkadot, Solana and Binance Smart Chain (BSC) are growing fast in terms of developer activity. The total number of monthly active developers on all chains was more than 18,400, the report reads. Out of these, over 4,000 open-source developers work on Ethereum.

The firm also analyzed about 500, 000 code repositories and 160 million code commits (code updates). From this, it revealed that 2021 has the highest code commits of over 34,000.

Ethereum competitors growing strong

Additionally, after Ethereum, the largest developer ecosystems were Polkadot, Cosmos, Solana, and Bitcoin. Polkadot has about 1,500 developers while Cosmos and Solana each have 1,000 developers. Bitcoin comes in fifth with just over 680 developers.

Other ecosystems with active monthly developers were NEAR Protocol, Tezos, Polygon, and Cardano, each with over 250 monthly active developers. NEAR itself launched an $800 million developer fund in October directed towards the growth of its decentralized finance (DeFi) systems.

Over 20 percent of new Web developers recently joined the Ethereum ecosystem, further solidifying its leadership position. However, the report shows that rival networks have seen better days in terms of growth than Ethereum.

Polkadot, Solana, NEAR, BSC, Avalanche, and Terra are growing faster than Ethereum did at similar points in its history.

Between Dec. 2020 and Dec. 2021, the average number of monthly active developers on Solana grew by 4.9 times. Those on NEAR increased fourfold while Polygon’s numbers more than doubled. Coming in second and first position were Cosmos and BSC which saw a 70 percent and 80 percent increase in average monthly active developers, respectively.

Further findings

These figures show impressive developmental growth among early-stage projects, while Ethereum, which was the first mover, sees less growth. Nonetheless, the network remains king, with the largest network of DApps, protocols, and tools. Its developer ecosystem is also 2.8 times larger than its closest rival, Polkadot.

Of note, high gas fees on Ethereum have seen developers gaining preference in other less costly networks. In the past year or so, the likes of Solana, Avalanche, BSC, NEAR, and Terra have become DeFi hubs with increased crypto adoption.

Moreover, the report highlights that the number of DeFi full-time monthly active contributors surged by 64 percent last year. Even more, over 500 new developers took part in coding a DeFi project every month in the last year other than in January.

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