Ethereum Leads Web3 Developer Count, with 700+ New Devs Each Month
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Ethereum Leads Web3 Developer Count, with 700+ New Devs Each Month

Ethereum has approximately 3x more developers than the second-largest DeFi ecosystem, Polygon.
Neither the author, Ruholamin Haqshanas, nor this website, The Tokenist, provide financial advice. Please consult our website policy prior to making financial decisions.

Ethereum is by far the largest Web 3.0 and DeFi ecosystem, maintaining 30% of all full-time developers working in the space since 2017. While rival blockchains grew at a considerably faster rate in 2021, it is uncertain if such growth can be sustainable over the long run.

Ethereum Lures 700+ Devs Each Month – an ATH

There are over 18,000 monthly active developers in the DeFi and Web 3.0 ecosystem that provide various contributions to projects. Of that tally, over 4,000 work on Ethereum, accounting for over 22% of all the developers working in the space, according to research by Electric Capital.

Ethereum, as the largest DeFi ecosystem, consistently draws between 20% to 25% of developers coming to Web 3.0. In general, an average of over 700 developers join the Ethereum ecosystem—a figure which represents an all-time high. The report also noted that over 20% of new Web3 developers join the Ethereum ecosystem over rival blockchains.

Image courtesy of Electric Capital.

As of now, around 4,000 active developers are working on Ethereum each month. Notably, 42% of that figure, or a total of 1,184 devs, have joined since January 2021. More specifically, there has been a 51% increase in Ethereum’s active part-time developers and a 24% increase in the number of full-time devs over the past year.

The report reads,

“Ethereum continues to have the largest ecosystem of tools, apps, and protocols, and is 2.8x larger than the second largest ecosystem. One out of every five new developers coming into Web3 works on Ethereum.”

At the same time, Ethereum has seen modest growth in the number of developers working on its ecosystem. As of now, approximately 700 devs are working on Bitcoin, an increase of just 9% over the past year. More precisely, Bitcoin has seen a 14% rise in the number of its part-time developers and 8% in full-time devs. 

Meanwhile, the cumulative number of developers that have joined Web 3.0 in 2021 is notable. Reportedly, over 34,000 new developers committed code to crypto projects in 2021—which is the highest in history. Further, over 3,000 new developers were joining crypto every month in the final months of 2021. 

The report also noted that approximately 60% of all developers and 45% of full-time developers have joined Web 3.0 in 2021. It added that the number of developers goes up with prices, but does not take a hit during bear markets. Electric Capital said:

“Monthly active developers have historically increased when prices increase, but stay flat even as prices fall. Across 2018 and 2019, monthly active developers have stayed flat around 11,000 even as prices fell more than 80% from peak.”

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Ethereum Rivals are Growing at a Faster Pace

Some experts believe Ethereum has become a victim of its own success. This is because the exponential rise of DeFi platforms, as well as the meteoric rise of NFTs, brought more users to Ethereum than the ecosystem’s capacity, which has resulted in sky-high gas fees. 

These scalability issues around Ethereum pushed users toward rival blockchains, or so-called “Ethereum killers.” For instance, Binance Smart Chain (BSC), which can process around 300 transactions per second for only a few cents, outperformed Ethereum by nearly 600% in terms of transaction volume in May. 

Similarly, Solana, which is less than two years old but supports an average of 2,000 transactions per second with a trivial fee of less than one cent, has burst in popularity. The project managed to exceed Ethereum by 500% in August. 

All of this describes why these projects have also been more successful in terms of attracting new developers in 2021. As per the report, the number of Solana’s monthly active developers grew by a factor of 4.9x over the past year. Likewise, NEAR, another PoS blockchain, saw a 4x growth, Polygon (MATIC) rose by more than 2x, and Cardano nearly doubled its monthly active developers. 

Image Courtesy of Electric Capital.

Smaller Web 3.0 ecosystems, those with less than 300 developers, also increased their number of devs by multiple times. The report said:

“Comparing average monthly active developers between December 2020 and December 2021, Terra, ICP, Fantom, and Harmony all 4x’ed their developers in 2021. Both Avalanche and Algorand grew their developers by 3x.”

It is worth noting that many of these so-called “Ethereum killers” have traded off decentralization for bandwidth and speed. For instance, BSC has a total of 11 validators on the testnest and 21 validators on the mainnet. Compare this to Ethereum, which surpassed 200,000 validators back in July 2021. 

In fact, the main reason behind the Ethereum 2.0 upgrade taking much longer than anticipated is that devs want a more scalable and secure blockchain but not at the cost of decentralization. At the end of the day, what users ultimately want—and need—is yet to be decided.

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