Blockchain Competitors: Why Sticking With Ethereum Might Be Best
“Blockchain Competitors: Why Sticking With Ethereum Might Be Best”
Ethereum looks like it will keep its place as the platform of choice for developers of blockchain and the people who follow its every move including its plans for the future and support within the community. With the rise of the popularity of blockchain technology, EOS as well as other lesser known companies have emerged as competitors of which Ethereum must take note.
As more and more companies begin to introduce blockchain into their operations or at least consider it, the technological implications imagined by Satoshi Nakamoto and other early adopters are being expounded upon. The word “blockchain” was not even initially, intentionally used, as Bitcoin viewed the tech as more of a p2p electronic cash vehicle. The whole goal of blockchain was to create a network that couldn’t be changed after a transaction was processed, nor be tampered with in any way during processing.
Since the market demand for blockchain seems to be there, companies are looking for ways to piggyback on the idea and take it a step or two further. With benefits including transparency and security before, during, and after transactions of data as well as the near impossibility of stored information being changed, businesses are choosing blockchain to secure various operations. Like in other industries, the market leaders take the biggest pieces of the pie, while others try to carve out a niche or innovate so dramatically that they start cutting into the big players’ shares. Right now, Bitcoin and Ethereum are in pole position with startups like EOS, Cardano, and others playing catch-up.
So, you’ve decided that blockchain is right for you and your business. Do you go with the more established players or the up-and-comers? Which solutions are available and are the startups able to offer something better than established guys? How are companies dealing with the litany of questions and concerns around a technology that could be vital to industry, yet is in such a nascent state?
With all the companies trying to utilize blockchain, why has Ethereum become the go-to choice for such a large number of organization looking for a base on which to build? There are obviously pros and cons with Ethereum as with other blockchain developers, but the pros significantly outweigh the cons which is why it’s cemented itself as the default option.
The most recognizable name in blockchain is the crypto giant, Bitcoin. But, there are plenty of players ready to unseat the platform when it comes to how we use blockchain to solve problems. Right now, Ethereum looks to be the most likely to overthrow the oldest blockchain ledger in terms of stature because it has the most utility. Consequently, the highest number of users and developers are adopting and working with Ethereum. Additionally, Bitcoin’s network hasn’t been able to make very many game-changing strides as a payment provider, so the top spot is ripe for the picking.
Ethereum has been adopted by many promising startups. Decentralization and the provision of payments has enticed many of the top, young companies to build on their base. In industries which are relatively new to the market, Ethereum’s blockchain has been especially useful in their development and innovation. A fantastic example of this is DreamTeam, which is an infrastructure platform and payment gateway for esports and gaming.
The appeal of the Ethereum ERC20-compatible token smart contract to DreamTeam, as the leading platform for team building is apparent. With the esports industry burgeoning globally, parties with insufficient experience are becoming involved in professional competitions. Since the core audience of esports is an extremely difficult-to-reach demographic made up of teenagers, university students, and thirty-somethings, companies are interested in reaching them. DreamTeam has recognized that when working with new or inexperienced parties, trust is a major issue and determined that smart contracts were the way to go. These smart contracts ensure that the execution of payouts, based on preset conditions. All parties are, therefore, protected from changes after the fact and provide a secure way to guarantee that payments are made on time. Add to that the transparent tokenized assets exchange, and the use of Ethereum was a no-brainer for DreamTeam.
Another startup which has taken advantage of all that Ethereum offers is Loom Network. With the goal of creating a platform to push large-scale, decentralized mobile games as well as social networks into the mainstream. The developers at the Loom Network said, “Ethereum has already won the race to become the foundation of Web 3.0, and will become the fundamental base layer that all major DApp platforms will choose to build on top of in the future.”
With Ethereum positioning itself as the primary player in blockchain, other companies have been left fighting for scraps. EOS, Cardano, Stellar, and a few others are worth mentioning as they’ve managed to make a bit of headway, but still have it all to do to catch up to the big guys.
For all the plaudits, Ethereum isn’t without its issues. It’s sluggish response to concerns about scalability and transaction fees that shot up in 2017 have caused some businesses to reconsider. A bizarre issue involving the collection of digital cats highlighted the fact that even the most advanced blockchain platforms aren’t flawless. However, Ethereum still remains the dominant force with 94% of all blockchain projects still being built on its network. The scalability issues, are being addressed and could be solved in the near future as developers continue working hard to make the system more elastic.
Even taking into account the growing pains that Ethereum has had to endure, it still remains the most stable and affordable network for blockchain enthusiasts.
Something that has helped to separate Ethereum from the pack is that the founders of the platform have a well-thought-out roadmap and are transparent about their plans. With the ever-changing landscape of the blockchain and crypto world, having a plan gives its investors a way to hold the company accountable. Crypto enthusiasts also see the transparency as a stabilizing factor for the currency.
The image below is a timeline for the next four years with the release schedule of the most important updates. It’s current as of October 2018.
As you can see from the timeline, Ethereum is scheduled to release their Proof of Stake Casper upgrade at some point in 2019. There was talk about merging the Casper upgrade with the Sharding upgrade under the name “Ethereum 2.0” but this updated roadmap anticipates a longer-than-expected development period which will cause them to be released separately.
Vitalik Buterin, Justin Drake and Karl Floersch of the Ethereum Foundation claim that sharding, alone, will be split it into two phases in 2020 and in 2021. Drake also said that the team is also planning Ethereum 3.0 which will have super quadratic scaling.
Contrary to Satoshi Nakamoto, Buterin is, publicly, very well-known and held in high regard among his peers in the blockchain world. The weight of failure falls directly onto Buterin’s shoulders, while a community of lesser-known people is largely responsible for Bitcoin. The negative associations that people generally have connected to blockchain projects seem to be absent with Ethereum co-founder. His strong belief that greater decentralization can handle and solve the problems of trust, accountability, and security has been realized in the Ethereum network. Taking care of these global issues is the highest priority for he and his team.
CNBC released a report last year which tallied at least 35,000 known Ethereum developers. This year, Kevin Rooke, a YouTuber and person knowledgeable of the cryptocurrency world, argued that the figure was closer to 250,000. The blockchain giant’s support extends to social media as well with 435,000 followers just on Twitter.
Forums and Social Media
Online forums continue to be the go-to platform for the exchange of Ethereum ideas by developers. There are tons of them but the majority of traffic is concentrated in three: Ethereum Community Forum is the official Ethereum forum where discussions are popping up 24 hours a day. Ethereum’s GitHub is where all the development is taking place every minute.
Some of the information and discussion on Reddit can also be valuable. Going to the /r/ethereum subReddit helps one connect with an inquisitive and, occasionally, informed community. For users who seek more information about popular Ethereum-based projects like Bloom or Cryptokitties, there are dedicated subReddits which have sprung up there as well. Reddit is a place where you can easily find the good, the bad, and the ugly, so take what you read there with a grain of salt.
Real-time discussion and receiving immediate answers about Ethereum are crucial in the instant gratification world in which we live. Here are a few of the people and companies worth following “@ethereumproject”, “@VitalikButerin, “@LilButerin”, @DECENTRALca”, ”@DreamTeamGG“,“@CryptoKitties”.
Whether it’s meeting for dinner or a beer, discussing the intricacies of blockchain in person with others who are knowledgeable can be extremely helpful in navigating the industry. Meetups allows one to find like-minded individuals who are interested in conversing in a more casual setting.
In the past three years the top blockchain professionals have flocked to Ethereum, but projects like EOS and Cardano have slowly been gaining popularity, acceptance, and even loyal followings. With a combined market cap totalling $12 billion, they are nearly five times less valuable than Ethereum. Still, their achievements in such a short period of time are nothing to scoff at.
Claims by Cardano that they are capable of solving some of the big issues that Bitcoin and Ethereum are facing, including both scalability and security. One of the biggest drawbacks to their product is the lack of a developed smart contract platform. Without that, it’s hard to see them making much headway at the bigger companies’ expense.
At this point, EOS is probably the biggest threat to the market share Ethereum currently enjoys. It’s an extremely young company launching just this past June. The bureaucratic hoops management has to jump through, hinder the decision-making process at the company. Coupled with bugs, EOS faces an uphill battle to keep itself relevant. The good news for the company is that in just a few short months, the company has already reached a valuation of over $4 billion, which means that a lot of very smart people see some value there. Whether they can overtake Ethereum remains to be seen, and even the most optimistic EOS fan would be hesitant to make that leap.
The simplicity of Ethereum, when compared with competitors, is a major selling point for companies. Being able to guarantee payments of promised amounts, in the case of DreamTeam, to the players or teams and at the same time the fulfillment of all obligations to the tournament organizers and sponsors, makes Ethereum the clear choice right now. These benefits make the platform the best choice, but what makes it the obvious choice for companies is the support costs. Supporting payments requires every user to have a dedicated personal wallet. Ethereum’s cost is virtually nothing. If a company chose to use EOS, they, or more likely the users, would have to pay several dollars to simply establish a wallet for each user. If your benefits are superior and your costs to companies are less, you’ll win every time.
Improvements in stability and scalability by Ethereum over the next several years will only serve to widen the gap between the giants and everyone else.
Most leading experts in the industry believe that Ethereum will continue to be the top of the class, at least for the next several years. The first-of-its-kind platform which has cracked the code of successfully simplifying the development of advanced decentralized applications and online agreements. That fact is supported by the countless ICOs that have started their fundraising efforts on the Ethereum platform and the vast number of developers working on making it the go-to place for everything related to blockchain. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised on Ethereum by creating and distributing tradeable digital tokens, and there’s no sign of that letting up any time soon. The only thing that could really stand in the way of unimpeded progress is stringent government regulation.