In a series of two articles, we aim to present an understanding of the current blockchain ecosystem and trends. This first article focuses on developer activity, a critical factor for the future of blockchain industry. Developer engagement serves as an indicator for a blockchain’s long-term viability, influencing innovation, network security, and user adoption. The second article will delve into on-chain active addresses to offer a comprehensive view of the evolving landscape.
Measuring developer activity accurately is a challenging task due to factors such as varying commit quality on platforms like GitHub, developers working across multiple projects under different aliases, and platforms rebranding or forking, leading to fragmented data. But recent data from Electric Capital and Developer Report still provides a basic snapshot on where developer activity is heading.
Ethereum has long been the dominant force in the blockchain development arena due to its pioneering smart contract capabilities and a broad developer community. But it’s not alone at the top; Polkadot, with its unique multichain interoperability promise, has also been garnering significant developer attention and aims to connect multiple blockchains into a unified network.
But it’s not just the big players that are seeing growth. When we zoom in and exclude the major networks, two projects, Aptos and Sui Network, demonstrate remarkable growth in 2022, standing out as the fastest-growing developer ecosystems. As highlighted in the chart:
- Aptos has seen a significant influx of developers, placing it in the spotlight. With an impressive growth trajectory, it starts in December 2021 with fewer than 10 developers and soars to around 80 by the end of 2022.
- Sui Network showcases a notable increase, albeit at a slightly more moderate pace compared to Aptos, starting with a handful of developers in December 2021 and rising to over 50 a year later.
- TON (Telegram Open Network) also demonstrates strong developer activity which suggests a emerging ecosystem and potentially marks TON as a platform to watch for future developments.
Additionally, we notice a cluster of projects that have either maintained or slightly grown in terms of developer numbers. Prominent projects include Starknet, Arbitrum, Osmosis, Optimism, and The Graph. It’s evident that while they haven’t experienced explosive growth like Aptos or Sui, they’ve successfully retained or expanded their developer base.
On the other end of the spectrum, we can observe a few projects like Avalanche that have lost some of their developer count over the year, suggesting shifts in developer interest or perhaps project evolution that might not resonate with all.
While new platforms like Sui are seeing initial surges in developer interest and networks like Aptos are growing at a steady 90%, smaller platforms like Osmosis show a significant 56% yearly growth, which is also important to underline.
If we return to top ecosystems to analyze the data, Ethereum continues to lead in developer activity but has seen a decline in both full-time and total developers during 2023. Polkadot and Kusama, which inherently operate on the same codebase, have also experienced reductions in developer numbers. Cosmos seems successfully maintained its developer count while Solana and Polygon faces a sharp reduction in developers over the past year.
In conclusion, while several leading ecosystems encountered a decrease in full-time developer counts over the past year, the 2-year growth rates for most remain very positive in terms of blockchain development. This suggests that despite short-term variances in developer activity, the overall interest and growth in these ecosystems continue to be promising over a broader span.
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