The Race for Talent
Competition is heating up between the large layer 1 blockchains as they vy to be the “one” who attracts the greatest number of skilled developers.
“Layer 1” blockchains are the railroads and highways of the crypto ecosystem, providing the structure and framework for software developers to create the decentralized applications or dApps that ride on top of them.
The greater the number of successful dApps that a Layer 1 can have built on its rails, the larger the number of users and transactions there are to grow its overall value.
There are more than one hundred layer 1 blockchains fighting it out for supremacy and comparing them isn’t easy.
Some are open source, others private, some have $M of locked value (TVL) stored in their dApps’ smart contracts. Some have large market caps whilst others are smaller and relatively undiscovered.
If we zoom out, the total number of developers entering the blockchain industry and working on projects is continuing to grow, peaking at approximately 18 thousand monthly developers in Dec 2021.
Let’s take a look at the present crop of layer 1’s who are leading the pack for developer attraction.
The Ethereum Blockchain, founded by a number of people including thinker-developer Vitalik Buterin, is leading the race to attract developers with nearly 4000 monthly developers, 30% of whom work full time. Ethereum also experiences the lowest loss of developers over time, with 30% of full time developers staying on after four years.
What are the other, newer layer 1 blockchains doing to attract developers and catch up to Ethereum?
Solana is a fast blockchain favoured last year to take the mantle of “Ethereum Killer” after it surged in price, but more recently has lost some of its shine after the wormhole exploit theft of hundreds of $M in February of this year.
In terms of attracting developers, Solana has established a 150M fund to attract developers of blockchain game dApps and an additional $164M to attract other dApp developers making a total $314 M for its talent pool.
Near, is a layer 1 blockchain launched in April 2020 by former Google engineer Illia Polosukhin and Microsoft developer Alexander Skidanov. Another fast blockchain, Near is gaining attention due to their sharding technology that avoids the need for each and every node to store all the on chain data. Near has raised 350M to attract talent and boost their ecosystem, including $100M for startup grants and $250M to support developers on Near in projects that are already underway.
Polkadot, is a layer one blockchain founded by Gavin Wood, who was also one of the founders of Ethereum before he left to start Polkadot. Polkadot last year announced a $774 M fund to support “building, improving, educating” people about the platform, including the development of dApps.
Avalanche was founded by professor Emin Gün Sirer and is a fast-growing and scalable layer 1 that is known for its speedy transaction times. In November of last year, Avalanche launched a $200M pool called Blizzard to fund developer activity across their ecosystem including DeFi, Enterprise Apps and NFTs.
Algorand is a layer 1 founded by MIT professor Silvio Micali and is gaining attention for the highly streamlined validation process between its nodes.
The Algorand Foundation has a $250M grants program offering developers funds for dApps built on Algorand across a wide range of categories such as Defi, NFTs, Social Impact, Education, Gaming and others.
BNB chain, formerly known as Binance Smart Chain is the layer 1 blockchain that has grown out of the popular Binance crypto exchange founded by Chinese-Canadian entrepreneur Changpeng Zhao. BNB chain has been attracting developers due to its low transactions fees and talent attraction program. According to our information, BNB chain’s growth fund is providing $400M for crypto talent development and an additional $500M for investment into crypto dApps across a range of categories.
Flow, is private layer 1 blockchain founded in 2019 by Roham Gharegozlou, Dieter Shirley, Mikhael Naayem from Dapper Labs. Flow is purpose built for NFT dApp development and has a number of programs to attract developers to their platform including a $10M funding program for building dApps on Flow and another $1M to attract black developers to Flow and increase diversity in web 3.0
Aleph Zero, one of the newer layer 1 blockchains, launched their mainnet in December of 2021. According to our sources they have been able to attract $14M to help seed developers create dApps on their platform that contains an innovative privacy framework, smart contracts and extremely fast transactions speeds.
In summary, whilst Ethereum leads the race for talent in the blockchain and crypto dApp development ecosystem, it is being fast pursued by a number of other large and well resourced layer 1’s that will be worth following.