Crypto investors looking for the next big thing now have another metric to consider as they decide where to put their money. Apart from TVL, why does the developer count matter? The number of developers actively working on a blockchain gives a picture of which blockchain has the strongest potential. Developers are the supply to the grand scheme of crypto, while the demand is driven by retail users.
Why developers count matters
As mentioned above, the number of developers actively working on a blockchain provides insight into the future potential of the blockchain and its overall strength. Developers are responsible for creating decentralized applications (DApps), fixing bugs, building smart contracts, and adding new features for beta testing before launching.
Without developers, there would be no coin, making it important for a blockchain to have as many developers as possible because a blockchain that lacks developers will not grow therefore, the more developers, the better.
We looked into Electric Capital‘s developer report, where over 250 million code commits were analyzed across open-source repositories to study which blockchain has the highest developer count.
Let’s get into some of the significant findings.
The overview of Web3
The number of active monthly developers in crypto increased by 5% in 2022, with a total of 23,343 developers. This is 1,034 more than in 2021, and over 61,000 developers contributed code to crypto for the first time in 2022, representing an all-time high and indicating that Web3 is growing.
Taking insights from the trend of network value to monthly active developers, the number of monthly active developers increases along with the price in a market circle. That is, as the value of a crypto network increases, the number of monthly developers also increases.
However, despite a 71% reduction in crypto network value since its all-time high in November 2021 during the bear market of 2022, the number of active monthly developers decreased by only 11% since its all-time high in June 2022 means developers are here to stay.
Overview of Layer1 Blockchains
Ethereum and Bitcoin accounted for 28% of all developers in crypto, while 50% of developers in crypto work in the top 200 ecosystems by network value. Electric capital segmented developers into community developers who work on decentralized applications, docs, tooling etc. and protocol developers who work on core protocols.
Ethereum is currently leading the race with the highest number of total developers, at 5,758. This is 2.8 times higher than second place Solana and has the highest number of new developers, an all-time high of over 14,691 developers, the highest in blockchain history.
Ethereum also accounts for 16% of all developers in crypto. Most of this growth came from full-time and part-time developers, who grew by 9% and 7%. Electric Capital used the top 10 contracts on Ethereum as a proxy to determine the type of contracts that had the most usage.
These contracts were ranked in ascending order by their gas usage, gas is the amount a user is willing to pay for a service on Ethereum.
Among the top 10 contracts ranked by gas usage on Ethereum, DeFi (Decentralized Finance), and NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) are the most prominent use cases.
Of the top 10, 6 contracts are related to DeFi and NFT protocols, with 4 DeFi and 2 NFT protocols. When discussing Ethereum in 2022, it’s impossible not to mention the Merge, which has significantly reduced energy costs and improved scalability. These developments, among others, are the driving forces behind the growth of the blockchain in 2022.
Among the blockchains with over 1000 developers, Ethereum and Solana lead the pack, followed by Polkadot, Cosmos, and Polygon, which all boast 1000 or more developers. Of these, Solana showed the highest growth rate with an increase of 83%, which is particularly noteworthy given that in 2021 Solana was ranked as a medium ecosystem with less than 1000 developers.
After Solana, other blockchains followed are Polygon, with a 40% increase in developer count, Cosmos, with 25%; and Polkadot, at +2%.
Polygon had a very interesting 2022 especially in terms of mainstream adoption as some of the biggest companies in the world embraced polygon. Reddit launched their digital art collectable on Polygon, which had over 5 million users minted, Robinhood launched their Web3 beta wallet on Polygon and Meta (formerly Facebook), the parent company of Instagram, started testing digital collectables feature all contributed to the massive increase in Polygon developer count in 2022.
Even being affected massively by the crash of Terra LUNA, the developer count on Cosmos grew by 25%. The Cosmos SDK framework led to this increase, allowing developers to create custom blockchains and build their own decentralized applications (dApp). This very idea attracted popular decentralized perps who exchanged dYdX when they made the decision to move over to Cosmos as a sovereign blockchain before being an L2 on Ethereum. Will 2023 Be The Year For Cosmos? Here’s What The Stats Say.
Polkadot attracted developers with low cost of building, shorter time to market, upgradability, interoperability and their para-chain auctions. Protocols such as Crust network and decentralized cloud storage, Astar are currently working with Sony to launch their web3 incubation program, which aims to mentor NFTs and DAO projects and foster cutting-edge web3 use cases.
Among medium-sized ecosystems with 300-1000 developers, Starknet experienced the most growth at a +134% increase in the number of total developers. This was followed by ICP at +48% and NEAR at +41%. BNB chain and Avanlance saw a decrease in developers for BNB chain, which falls from the 80% growth it experienced in 2021.
For small chains with 100+ developers, Sui takes the lead with over 1,043% increase in developers to count and possesses the highest per cent increase in the growth of all blockchains in Web3.
Sui leads the growth of small blockchain chains with 100+ developers, having experienced an increase of over 1043% in the number of developers, which is the highest percentage increase among all blockchain chains in web3. Aptos follows at +733%, and Mina at +113%.
Osmosis and Hedera follow with +83% and +82%, respectively. Blockchain chains in this category have shown the highest percentage increase in total developers, indicating the potential of these emerging blockchains. However, Terra, which had one of the highest growth rates among these categories of blockchains with 100+ developers in 2021, fell steeply in 2022, dropping from 157 developers in 2021 to 67 developers in 2022, representing a 57% decrease.
It is no surprise that Sui is leading the pack, given its foundation and strong backing. The owner of Sui is Myten Labs which four former Facebook employees formed, Myten Labs is backed by various venture capitalists such as Binance labs, FTX and Electric Capital, the curators of this developer report.
Myten Labs raised over $36 million in a funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) in early 2022 and another $300 million this time in a fund led by FTX attracting investors like Coinbase Ventures, Circle Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners and others. Myten Labs is currently valued at over $2 billion dollars.
2022 saw an all-time high in the number of new developers at 61,127 and an all-time high in the number of new developers in the Ethereum ecosystem. The number of monthly developers did not reduce despite the bear market and reduction in Network value, a 71% reduction in Network value only brought about an 11% decrease in the number of developers, which means developers are here to stay.
In summary, Ethereum still holds the top among blockchains regarding developer count, followed by Solana, Polygon, Cosmos, and Polkadot. Emerging ecosystems such as Sui continue leading the race amongst smaller chains while Aptos, Mina, and Osomosis are chasing closely behind.
Although an underrated metric, it is important to remember developers are the source of innovative applications that could translate to bring value to users. As they continue to build in the bear, their work in the back end is often forgotten as the driving factor in bringing in the next billion into crypto.
[Editor’s Note: This article does not represent financial advice. Please do your research before investing.]
This article is done by our freelance writer, Godwin Okhaifo
Featured Image Credit: ChainDebrief