EVM chains dominate the multichain development landscape: Report

Ethereum Virtual Machine-based (EVM) blockchain networks are the most popular platforms for multichain developers, according to a new report by Electric Capital. The report analyzed the crypto development activity in 2023 and revealed some interesting trends and insights.

The report found that Ethereum leads the pack in attracting new developers, with more than 16,700 “newcomers” shipping code on the chain in 2023. This is nearly triple the 6,200 new developers on Polygon and almost four times that of Solana’s 4,705. Ethereum remains the largest and most active developer community in crypto, with over 10,000 monthly active developers.

The report also noted that Ethereum has a high retention rate, with 75% of developers who joined in 2023 still active in the fourth quarter. This suggests that Ethereum has a strong network effect and a vibrant ecosystem that keeps developers engaged and motivated.

EVM chains dominate the multichain development landscape: Report
EVM chains dominate the multichain development landscape: Report

EVM chains are the most popular for multichain developers

The report also revealed that EVM-compatible chains are the most preferred networks for multichain developers, with 87% of all multichain developers working on at least one EVM-compatible chain. This means that EVM chains have a huge advantage in terms of interoperability and composability, as developers can easily port their code and applications across different EVM chains.

Some of the most popular EVM chains include Polygon, Binance Smart Chain, Avalanche, Fantom, and Arbitrum. These chains offer faster and cheaper transactions than Ethereum, while still benefiting from its security and network effects. The report also highlighted that some of these chains have seen significant growth in developer activity in 2023, such as Polygon (up 162%), Avalanche (up 153%), and Fantom (up 140%).

Bitcoin development declines, but layer-2s and scaling solutions gain traction

The report also showed that Bitcoin witnessed a 19% year-over-year decline in development activity, now commanding just over 1,000 monthly active developers. This is partly due to the fact that Bitcoin is a mature and stable protocol that does not require frequent changes or upgrades. However, the report also pointed out that Bitcoin development is shifting to layer-2s and scaling solutions, which now capture more than 40% of all open-source Bitcoin developers, a more than 400% increase from January 2016.

Some of the most prominent layer-2s and scaling solutions on Bitcoin include Lightning Network, RSK, Liquid, and Stacks. These solutions aim to improve the scalability, privacy, and functionality of Bitcoin, while preserving its security and decentralization. The report also mentioned that some of these solutions have seen impressive growth in developer activity in 2023, such as Lightning Network (up 55%), RSK (up 48%), and Stacks (up 44%).

Multichain development is on the rise

The report also found that crypto developers have been building out their skills to work across a variety of different chains, with multichain development activity growing by 1,000% since 2015. As of the end of December 2023, 30% of all monthly active developers work on at least two blockchains, with that number growing by around 125% since 2018. This indicates that crypto developers are becoming more versatile and adaptable, as they explore different platforms and opportunities in the crypto space.

The report also identified some of the most popular combinations of chains for multichain developers, such as Ethereum and Polygon, Ethereum and Solana, Ethereum and Avalanche, and Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain. These combinations reflect the preferences and trade-offs of developers, as they balance between security, scalability, cost, and network effects.

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