Blockchain developers are still hard to come by. Largely self-trained and working on software built by people you can still email, the industry suffers from an overdose of easy capital combined with an absurd level of optimism brought on by strong markets and weak faith in central banks.
There was a time you could propose virtually any idea as an “initial coin offering” on the Ethereum blockchain and your odds of getting it funded were favorable. Literally hundreds of such projects never made it past the concept phase, while the money disappeared. Lawsuits have arisen in the debacle, and the government eventually got involved.
More than that, another eventuality came to pass: Ethereum alternatives.
An Army of Alternatives Emerges From The Ether
To be clear, Ethereum was not the birth of the “token.” Bitcoin’s Omni layer had long supported tokens such as the original stablecoin, Tether.
Ethereum’s Virtual Machine offered a lot of functionality not found in traditional blockchain designs. It seemed anything was possible, but soon the network was bogged down with millions and millions of token transactions. Ethereum has struggled to keep up with the load, and currently it’s far from the “fastest” option for developers to choose.
EOS and Tron have very similar designs to Ethereum, but both are extremely fast. The same can be said for NEO. They differ in that they are less “decentralized” – they all use a more “authoritarian” design, employing various schemes to enable the nearly-instantaneous relay of transactions.
And they all support tokens.
Every token-supporting blockchain worth writing about has had some version of success. The irony is that Ethereum’s biggest successes have been entirely ridiculous – things like CryptoKitties.
The majority of all ICO projects have had some sort of metafunction – they offer crypto traders some advantage or another.
Ethereum enjoys the widest swath of blockchain developers and often shares this talent pool with Bitcoin itself. But as developers come into the market and consider their options, will Ethereum always be the top choice?
Allegedly, Ethereum will eventually be able to have everything it currently has and operate much faster. But the “governance” model of Ethereum is such that every detail of a future scaling upgrade will be talked to death before it’s ever implemented. Which creates an opportunity for competing chains, of which there are quite a few.
Many Roads, Many Missions, Many Solutions
2017 was the year that dozens of new blockchain platforms were founded, and more have come about in the interim. Cardano and Hedera are two of the later implementations. Cardano is the brainchild of Charles Hoskinson, an Ethereum co-founder.
Ethereum’s future depends on developer, investor, and perhaps most importantly, user interest.
Five years ago, it was a revolution in distributed ledger technology, and today it still insists upon things we value in this community such as decentralization. But in a sea of alternatives, many of which are more convenient and user-friendly, what are Ethereum’s prospects for the future?
You decide, dear reader, and let us know your feelings in the comments.