As the first major smart contract platform to launch, Ethereum has had a multi-year head start over much of the competition. This has resulted in an expansive library of DApps, including well-developed NFT, DeFi, and gaming ecosystems.
But in the last year, it has been slowly losing ground to various newer, arguably more capable platforms as its fees and congestion have proved to be crippling limitations. As a result, in a landscape where performance and cost are paramount, many developers have migrated from Ethereum to other smart contract chains or skipped Ethereum entirely.
Avalanche is arguably seeing the most significant influx of developer support of these platforms — largely thanks to its low fees, high speed, and excellent throughput.
As a proof of stake blockchain, Avalanche uses a network of thousands of nodes to secure its network. This enables the network to process up to 4,500 transactions per second (tps) and ensure transaction (tx) finality within 2 seconds — compared to around 14 tps and 6 minutes tx finality on Ethereum. However, the platform’s C-Chain still uses the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) for its smart contract execution, which means developers can easily port their code to Avalanche with few to no changes and don’t need to learn new programming languages to begin developing on the platform.
These features have made it a hotbed for developers and have seen its DeFi ecosystem develop rapidly, despite being one of the most recent smart contract platforms to move to mainnet. As a result, hundreds of projects are building on Avalanche, many of which are speedier alternatives to platforms found on Ethereum or novel solutions that wouldn’t be possible on other platforms.
At the heart of the Avalanche DeFi landscape is Pangolin, an automated market maker (AMM) that has become the primary source of liquidity for Avalanche-based projects. As an AMM, Pangolin allows users to contribute liquidity to a range of liquidity pools to earn a fraction of the platform’s trading fees. It also offers a variety of high-yield farming pools, providing users with an additional source of revenue on their LP tokens.
With a huge source of liquidity now available, the Avalanche ecosystem has witnessed an explosion of innovation, and there are now well 100 DApps live on the platform — ranging from Metaverse and gaming projects like Bloktopia and Crabada to yield farms like Alpha Homora, as well as prediction markets, NFT marketplaces, digital identity solutions and more.
But while Avalanche is arguably one of the most established Ethereum competitors, a whole host of new smart contract platforms are now coming up and could be set to accelerate the mass exodus of developers from Ethereum.
This includes platforms like PulseChain, an upcoming Ethereum sister network that features deflationary tokenomics, Proof-of-stake based consensus, and 4x faster block times to create a more efficient and scalable platform for DApps. Furthermore, given that the platform now has its launchpad, known simply as PulsePad, projects building on the EVM compatible chain now have a direct route to funding while simultaneously bootstrapping their DApp ecosystem and userbase.
Project launchpads’ importance in incentivizing developers has been seen across the board among smart contract platforms, including Solana, which has seen a dramatic uptick in development activity thanks to Solanium, and the same can be said for Smart Chain thanks to the simplified funding route offered by BSCPad.
As developers increasingly recognize the challenges that come with building on Ethereum, alternate smart contract platforms will likely continue to grow in prominence. Nonetheless, it remains to be seen if any will be able to topple Ethereum as the most popular and well-developed smart contract platform.