Blockchain Developer Insights

Martin Walker
Oct 19, 2023 at 11:32 am

The latest data analysis reveals an intriguing landscape within the realm of blockchain development. In a noteworthy departure from the norm, Ethereum's layer-2 scaling solutions, Starknet and zkSync, have managed to buck the trend by demonstrating an increase in their total monthly active developer counts over the past year. Despite relatively modest growth rates of 3% and 6%, respectively, these two platforms outshone Ethereum, Polygon, and Solana, which witnessed a significant decline in their developer counts by 23%, 43%, and 57% during the same time frame, according to the latest developer report by Electric Capital. This comprehensive report provides valuable insights spanning up to October 1.

It's worth noting that the overall decline in the total number of monthly active developers was quite pronounced, with a substantial drop of 27.7%, taking the count from 26,701 developers down to 19,279. This decline aligns with the overarching trend observed in developer numbers over the past year.

Monthly active developers in the cryptocurrency ecosystem since 2015. Source: Electric CapitalMonthly active developers in the cryptocurrency ecosystem since 2015. Source: Electric Capital 

Furthermore, Chainlink, Stellar, Aztec Protocol, and Ripple, while not reaching the developer counts of zkSync and Starknet, also experienced an increase in their developer numbers as of October 1.

StarkWare's Starknet and Matter Labs' zkSync are prominent layer 2 solutions, with a primary goal of enhancing Ethereum's scalability through the innovative technology of zero-knowledge rollups, which has garnered significant attention in 2023.

In recent developments, Starknet introduced its groundbreaking "Quantum Leap" initiative, which became operational in July. This exciting upgrade has the potential to consistently increase Ethereum's transactions per second (TPS) from approximately 13–15 to a remarkable 37 TPS, with the capacity to reach an impressive 90 TPS in certain scenarios.

Both Starknet and zkSync are diligently working on zero-knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine (zkEVM) solutions, poised to further enhance Ethereum's scalability throughout the year 2023.

Meanwhile, zkSync developers have embarked on the creation of a network of "hyperchains," a visionary endeavor to foster an ecosystem of interoperable protocols and autonomous chains within their zero-knowledge tech stack. This pioneering solution was unveiled in June, with hopes of achieving a functional version by the end of 2023.

In a recent thread on X (formerly Twitter) on October 18, Electric Capital software engineer Enrique Herreros pointed out that many of the departing active monthly developers were "newcomers," with less than one year of experience. In contrast, the more "established" developers (with over two years of experience) and "emerging" developers (with one to two years of experience) have remained relatively steady over the past year.

Enrique noted that this phenomenon is a cyclic trend where newcomers tend to dominate the developer market during bullish periods but tend to dwindle in numbers when market prices decline.

It's important to remember that Electric Capital typically sources its data from code repositories and code commits on the open-source developer platform GitHub.

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