Although the Ethereum blockchain remains the most popular platform among dApps developers, it still has some serious drawbacks.
High transaction fees and the lack of scalability are, perhaps, the key obstacles preventing its further adoption.
Buterin’s team slowly but steadily moves on toward Ethereum 2.0. The upgrade should resolve many of the current problems including high network fees.
Yet, the release date is still unknown. At this, the question about Ethereum alternatives is as acute as ever.
In this article, we will review some of the best Ethereum competitors that have been released up to date.
With its whitepaper published in 2014, Ethereum became a real breakthrough solution of its kind.
Its key innovation, i.e. smart contracts, provided developers with many new possibilities. At this, Ethereum made it possible to create fully functional decentralized applications with immutable transactions and 100% uptime.
Yet, the ICO craze that captured the attention of many investors in 2017 revealed a few serious deficiencies that the new system possessed.
As dApps surged in popularity, Ethereum experienced an enormous growth in transaction volume.
With an average network throughput of 15-30 transactions per second, the network inevitably got congested. This resulted in high transaction fees and slow confirmation times.
At the time of writing, Ethereum Foundation together with other companies that run the decentralized network has found a solution to this problem. At this, the project aims to implement ZK rollups, sharding, and a few other methods in Ethereum 2.0.
Yet, at the time of writing, the system still experiences scalability issues while the ETA of the improvements still lingers in the dark.
When it comes to defining the network fees, Ethereum relies on auction-based principles. The higher gas fees you specify, the higher the chances of your transaction being processed.
This technical peculiarity resulted in the so-called gas wars during high network congestion. In the worst times, the gas fees spiked to $60-70 per transaction.
During 2022, transaction fees hovered around $5. This is surely much better, but still, it’s just highway robbery and not a path toward mass adoption of decentralized finance (DeFi) solutions.
BitInfoCharts: during the gas wars, ETH network fees can be pretty high
While Ethereum was running on the proof-of-work consensus mechanism, it was prone to centralization problems.
With the ever-growing mining complexity, node holders required more powerful equipment which led to larger players dominating the market.
Luckily, these problems are not relevant for Ethereum anymore.
As the network has finally completed the transition to PoS (proof of stake), the chances of a 51% attack have drastically decreased. The cost of such an attack would be too high making the whole action useless.
With new coins being minted every few seconds, Ethereum is subject to high inflation rates. The lack of a defined maximum token supply makes things even worse.
The network continues burning around 1k ethers every year. But the process is not automated, hence, it doesn’t solve the problem.
Ethereum features Solidity as the primary programming language for its smart contracts. The language is famous for its high complexity which often results in code errors and, eventually, vulnerabilities.
Yet, one can hardly find an Ethereum competitor that would use anything less complicated.
In fact, the overall novelty of blockchain technology makes the majority of blockchain creators invent new programming languages. Thus, we can only hope for the release of better technical documentation in the upcoming years.
The problems mentioned above stimulated blockchain developers to search for Ethereum alternatives.
Below, we have listed some of the best Ethereum competitors together with their perks and key features that help to solve Ethereum’s issues.
Launched as a fork of Ethereum, PulseChain represents one of the most viable competitors to the source network.
Here are some of its key features.
Launched in parallel with Binance Chain, BSC represents a separate independent network. With the initial goal of solving the scalability problem, the system comes with the following features.
Polkadot’s history takes root in 2016 when Ethereum’s co-founder Gavin Woods published its white paper for the first time.
Prior to the ICO boom that took place in 2017, Woods foresaw problems with interoperability that Ethereum was inevitably going to face. At this, he has invented a new blockchain to address this question.
Previously known as Matic Network, Polygon has been created to address the scalability problem of Ethereum.
The project has built an EVM-compatible network based on several second-layer solutions that Ethereum is only planning to add. At this, it features Plasma, zkRollups, and Optimistic Rollups to increase its throughput indices and reduce fees.
Ava Labs is the company that stands behind Avalanche creation.
It issued the white paper on the new solution in 2018. The mainnet came out 2 years later aiming to conquer Ethereum in terms of scalability and interoperability.
Similar to other Ethereum alternatives, Cardano has been created with scalability and interoperability in mind.
An interesting fact is that Charles Hoskinson, Cardano’s founder, was also one of the first participants in the Ethereum project. Having launched his brainchild in 2017, he has managed to attain the following features.
Finally, there is one more project entitled by mass media as “Ethereum killer”.
Indeed, the journalists had a good reason to do so. There were times when Solana approached Ethereum by market capitalization. Moreover, NFT support makes it another NFT Ethereum alternative to consider. Yet, some successful hacking attempts in 2022 have drained the enthusiasm of Solana’s followers.
Nonetheless, the project is worth mentioning since it has some nice features it can boast of.
As the blockchain market evolves, one can be sure to see more Ethereum competitors emerging.
Which of them is going to finally win the race and lead to the mass adoption of blockchain-based tools? Only the time will show.
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Kate is a blockchain specialist, enthusiast, and adopter, who loves writing about complex technologies and explaining them in simple words. Kate features regularly for Liquid Loans, plus Cointelegraph, Nomics, Cryptopay, ByBit and more.