Smart contracts are truly one of the most significant applications of blockchain technology. Not only do they enable transactions to become easily programmable, but they can also automate entire processes across a multitude of industries, which’ll help reduce typical transactional costs and settlement times. But just as significant as smart contracts as a whole can become, there’s also a war going on between the different networks that facilitate the development of these innovative technologies.
Since it was brought to market, Ethereum has long maintained its crown as king of the smart contract platforms. However, in recent months there has been fierce competition from other blockchains such as Avalanche, Cardano and Solana just to name a few.
This competition will greatly benefit the wider cryptocurrency industry because it’ll create an open and competitive market that will in most cases benefit the consumers the most. This is because competition naturally brings about innovation, which naturally brings about overall improvement.
An abundance of networks and ecosystems would mean that users would not be shoehorned into using one network, much like the traditional gaming industry. Instead, users would have the freedom to choose the best network for their needs, which heavily incentivises different networks to improve their platforms to entice developers and users to build on and use their networks respectively.
While the big boys are busy fighting each other, there’s an opportunity for smaller projects like Harmony and Fantom to play catch up. Speculative investors and traders alike are looking for the next big opportunity and users are waiting for a diverse ecosystem of applications that are built on a cheap, convenient and easy to use platform. This is partly why networks like Avalanche and Solana have seen such great growth in recent months.
What these smaller projects like Fantom and Harmony should be focusing on is building networks that are easy to build on, cheap to transact on and very fast, all without compromising on security and decentralization. However, that is easier said than one...
Ultimately it’s these factors that’re most likely to influence the smart contract race. Making a platform super easy to build on is essential to attracting developers to a network. But that and that alone will not bring about significant adoption. Yes, a great ecosystem is probably the most important factor for adoption, but trying to rival giants like Ethereum’s ecosystem without first nailing scalability and security is a recipe for disaster. This is why creating a network with good fundamentals is so important.
Getting developers on-board is one thing, but building a platform that is capable of mass adoption is something completely different. Ethereum has shown that they can build an amazing ecosystem with amazing developers, building amazing applications. However Ethereum’s network gas fees completely invalidate the possibility of mass adoption. Even those who earn salaries significantly above global averages cannot afford to transact regularly on the Ethereum network and that is a big problem.
This is what presents the opportunity for other blockchains to stamp their mark on the industry. Attacking your enemies while they’re weak is a battle-tested, competitive strategy that has proven successful through centuries. If just a handful of these networks can continue to build serious Ethereum alternatives then the entire crypto industry will collectively see significant improvements.
If the smart contract race continues at current speed, we might just possibly witness the decrowning of the current giant sometime soon.