Blockchain Developer – Lifeblood of a Blockchain
Why say Blockchain Developer is the lifeline of Blockchain? What are the factors to attract developers? What is the investment strategy?
One thing that we often see when participating in the debate about which blockchain is best, the best is comparing numbers like transactions per second, transaction costs, etc.
After that, we will discuss the ecosystem, how big is the cash flow in DeFi, are the puzzle pieces completed, is the NFT trading activity exciting, etc.
However, we ignore an extremely important factor, which is Blockchain Developer, programmers, building Blockchain projects.
This is understandable because most of us participating in the Crypto market are not developers (devs) but users, but the fact that a Layer-1 blockchain attracts devs will determine its own survival.
It is also part of the reason why Ethereum, despite its high gas fees and slow speed, still holds a unique position in the crypto market, and why the emerging Layer-1s are not reaching the potential many people expect.
So in this article, I will try to come up with factors to attract and retain Blockchain Developers, so that you can forecast the potential of blockchains more accurately.
In general, there are three factors:
- Simplicity and familiarity when programming (most importantly programming language)
- Financial support.
- Strong community to support project bootstrap.
Disclaimer: I write this article from the perspective of a researcher, not a developer. I myself have no experience in coding Web2.0 or Web3.0, I collect information from sources such as research articles, articles, twitter channels, etc.
Blockchain Developer Web 3.0 Community Overview
One goal of blockchain that we often hear about is Mass Adoption, which is when blockchain is widely used by users and businesses.
However, we also need to focus on the Developer Adoption, because the number of Web 3.0 devs today is very small compared to Web 2.0 dev.
In 2018, the number of Web 3.0 developers was 105,000 (details here), although it has increased rapidly in the past 2 years, compared to the total 18 million Web 2.0 developers worldwide, this number is still very low. little.
See also: Understanding Web3 – Internet controlled by users
Number of new devs joining by month, peaking at 2,550 devs per month at the end of 2017
The development and popularity of blockchain technology is also reflected in the demand for Blockchain Developer:
- Blockchain is at the top of the list when it comes to the Top 10 Hard Skills in 2020 based on the Blockchain Academy Report. Also according to this report, the most potential job in 2020 is Blockchain Developer, increasing 33 times.
- Global demand for blockchain developers grows 300% – 500% annually on Glassdoor.
The number of blockchain skills increases sharply on freelance platform, Upwork
- The biggest companies hiring are IBM, Microsoft, Visa, CoinBase, Circle, and ConsenSys.
- The United States is the top country when it comes to the number of blockchain-related jobs, followed by the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.
Blockchain job distribution map, mainly concentrated in the US and European countries
Blockchain Developer Attraction Factors
As a user, we can switch between projects very quickly and at a low cost. It could be because another project has better APR farming, better UI/UX, etc.
However, with a Blockchain Developer, they will spend a lot of time, effort and financial resources on just one project, so choosing a Layer-1 blockchain to build their product is paramount.
Friendly programming environment
Currently, several generation 3.0 blockchains run on WebAssembly (Wasm). Wasm has the following advantages over EVM:
- Wasm supports more programming languages than EVM. Wasm supports familiar programming languages like Rust, C++, Typescript, Haxe, etc. EVM supports less languages, including Solidity, Vyber, etc. ⇒ Dev 2.0 will be able to quickly write Smart Contracts and not have to. learn new languages.
- Wasm is a standard for web browsers and is developed by big companies like Mozilla, Chrome, etc. ⇒ Tooling is more dev support than EVM and Wasm is still being developed by a large number of developers. islands (both Web 2.0 and 3.0) as well as businesses.
- Wasm has high performance, and EVM does not support sequences of binary numbers smaller than 256-bit.
“But it is not stupid to start thinking about what is next [after EVM] and for me that is using WebAssembly as smart contracts,” said Gavin Wood, Founder of Polkadot.
On the other hand, there are new blockchains that still choose to be Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM-compatible) compatible such as Binance Smart Chain, Fantom, Avalanche, etc.
This helps projects take advantage of the number of Blockchain Developers who are familiar with Solidity (the programming language on Ethereum) and can migrate their projects to these new blockchains without taking too much time. However, this also makes projects limited by EVM and difficult to innovate.
In addition, some new blockchains have their own smart contract programming languages, for example Cardano has Plutus.
However, due to the network effect and popularity of Cardano (mainly thanks to the founders being very well known in the crypto community), developers are still actively building on the platform. In addition, the advantage of this language is high security, minimizing risks
This may not be true for new, less well-known blockchains with new programming languages, as it will create a huge barrier for Blockchain Developer even if it has better technology such as low cost, high transaction speed,… (like Kadena has Pact language).
⇒ In this case we should observe how the project attracts blockchain developers through the following two ways.
Similar to Web 2.0, to be able to come up with ideas, set up a team, build a project and do marketing requires large financial resources. This can be from raising capital from large funds such as Coinbase Ventures, a16z, Pantera, etc.
However, for smaller projects, the capital will come from hackathons and the organization that manages the blockchain itself, for example Solana Foundation, Algorand Foundation, etc.
Usually, with a blockchain at an early stage, they will open a small hackathon to gradually attract previous developers (about a few hundred thousand dollars). This will help them build the first puzzle pieces like AMM, Stablecoin, etc.
We will see these hackathons on gitcoin, a platform to fund developers looking for open source work.
Contrary to self-organized hackathons, we can clearly see what projects are being built on hackathons, how many people are involved, etc., thereby capturing the effectiveness and future strategy of the project. judgment.
Case Study: Casper Network is a Wasm compatible Layer-1 blockchain that just got mainnet in March 2021 and their first hackathon was on Gitcoin which just ended on 11/10.
We can see prizes mainly for DeFi and NFT, showing that they are ready to build an ecosystem. At the end of the hackathon, a total of 1300 devs participated, many times more than Casper’s goal of 500.
Casper’s The Friendly Hackathons on Gitcoin
As for a blockchain with complete infrastructure, with DeFi layer 2 as the liquidity center, etc., they will open larger hackathons with large prizes up to millions of dollars.
The judges, speakers, etc. will also be more famous and experienced so that they can bring the most value to Blockchain Developer as well as create a reputation for the winning project.
Solana’s Ignition Hackathon With Up To 5 Million Dollars
In terms of support funds, the organization behind the blockchain itself will set up a separate fund to fund projects that want to build on its platform.
Or as in the past time, ecosystems are very active in deploying Incentive Programs, such as Fantom, Agorand with DeFi Fund, etc. to encourage blockchain developers to build their projects on top of that ecosystem. with very positive results.
To understand more about incentive programs and the results they bring, you can refer to the following video:
Strong community to support Blockchain Developer
It cannot be denied that even though a blockchain has dev support in terms of programming languages, tutorials, etc., Web 3.0 projects are still very new to the vast majority of developers (especially devs from Web 2.0 who want to try Web 3.0).
There are also many new aspects related to Web 3.0 such as tokenomics, tech stack, etc. Therefore, a strong Blockchain Developer community will help new developers answer programming questions, or help connect like-minded devs think and form a team together.
Usually projects will open a chat group for Blockchain Developer on Discord or Telegram, anyone who does in-depth research can go in to see the level of Blockchain Developer activity or future plans.
In addition, to be able to build a successful project, the founder will need to have a team of members in areas such as UI/UX, marketing, community building, etc.
A good community will also be very helpful to the project in connecting people or even doing these jobs for them.
Finally, the organizations behind blockchain also need to carefully prepare courses and webinars to help developers quickly familiarize themselves with Web 3.0 programming as well as talkshows, networking events, etc. to actively build Build community and engage devs.
Learn Near program rewards learners with NEAR tokens
Case Study on the importance of Blockchain Developer
NEAR Protocol is a blockchain that operates according to the Proof of Stake and Sharded mechanism. In the past time, Near has focused on building infrastructure (such as Aurora, Rainbow Bridge, …) and then started to build projects on DeFi, NFT, GameFi, etc.
Through the analysis below, we can clearly see that Near is very focused on developer experience with very positive numbers:
Number of new smart contracts per week
Total number of smart contracts over time
1. Friendly programming environment
Near’s Smart Contract is built on WebAssembly, which should bring familiarity to Web 2.0 developers. Near also provides the following tools for developers:
- Rust SDK: A more secure programming language, often used for financial projects.
- Command Line Interface: A complete command line toolkit for devs.
- AssemblyScript Contract SDK.
- Gitpod for Near: Near uses Gitpod to create a fast, timeless integration experience for developers.
This is not the only highlight of Near, because Near also has Layer-2 scaling solutions such as Aurora and Octopus Network.
Aurora is an EVM-compatible Layer-2 that extends Ethereum, thereby allowing projects on Ethereum to migrate to Aurora to take advantage of Near’s low cost and fast transaction speeds without too much cost or time. Time to update the code (after Sharding the fee on Aurora will be even cheaper than Arbitrum).
This also makes it easier for Web3.0 developers who are familiar with Ethereum’s programming languages like Solidity or Vyper.
How Aurora works on Near
Octopus Network is a network that runs application-specific blockchains or appchains (separate blockchains are created with a specific purpose instead of normal, general-purpose blockchains like Solana, Ethereum, etc.).
These appchains are written by Substrate (a framework for building parachains on Polkadot), and in the future Octopus Network will also support Cosmos SDK (used to build IBC-connected blockchain in the Cosmos ecosystem).
How Octopus Network works on Near
As can be seen, Near supports all popular smart contract and appchain programming languages, including Rust, AssemblyScript, Solidity, Vyper, and Substrate. Currently, there is hardly any other Layer-1 blockchain that has as much flexibility as Near in this respect.
2. Strong financial potential
Near has gone through 3 rounds of funding from large investment funds such as a16z, Coinbase Ventures, etc. Near is currently using this money very well in providing funding for projects and hackathons.
In the first 6 months of 2021, the Near Grant Program (Near’s funding program) has awarded a total of US$1 million to potential projects that want to build on Near. Some recent projects funded by the Near Foundation can be mentioned as Emiswap, Panther, Trisolaris, …
After completing the basic facilities, Near started to open a big hackathon called MetaBUIDL with a total prize value of 1 million dollars.
Near also invited a lot of speakers, judges from big technology companies, potential crypto projects, etc., thereby attracting a lot of attention from the crypto community in general and Blockchain Developer in particular.
At the end of the hackathon, there are 7 winning projects, with the special award winning project Roke.to which will officially run on October 14.
Near’s Metabuidl Hackathon runs from August 27 to September 19 with 7 winning projects
Another hackathon that Near is currently participating in is the Swiss Blockchain Hackathon along with other blockchains like Streamr, Casper, Algorand, etc.
Near also announced $800 million Incentive Programs, with $350 million in partnership with Proximity. Along with that is the announcement of famous projects that will be built on Near and Aurora such as Dodo, KyberDMM, Curve, etc.
⇒ This shows that Near has officially started to build its own ecosystem with the goal of mass adoption.
3. Diverse community
One of Near’s most unique features is the Guilds.
These are communities with different goals and interests such as Legal Guild (work on law), Art Guild (on art, NFT), Flying Rhinos Guild (work on content and help with marketing projects), … with a total the number has reached over 100, with 7 new guilds being established in the past month
These guilds play an important role in supporting the project in areas such as law, marketing, dev support, etc.
The most notable in recent times is the appearance of Sankore 2.0. S2 will help blockchain developers use Near Protocol to build, develop Web 3.0 and spread knowledge about this new field in Africa.
Currently, S2 has connected with Bithub.Africa, promising to build a strong Blockchain Developer community in this potential continent.
Moonbeam vs Astar Network
With Polkadot officially opening the parachains auction, I will analyze two smart contract platforms, Moonbeam and Astar, on Blockchain Developer aspects and make a few personal comments.
1. Programming environment
Moonbeam is an EVM-compatible parachain on Polkadot. Therefore, Moonbeam uses a programming language similar to Ethereum such as Solidity, Vyper, etc. In addition, Moonbeam also integrates familiar tools such as Metamask wallet, Remix, Waffle, …
Astar Network aims to be a Polkadot Hub Layer dApp, so it supports both the Ethereum Virtual Machine and WebAssembly, which will help Astar attract projects in other blockchains as well as developers from Web 2.0. Astar will also support Layer-2 scaling solutions such as ZK Rollups and Optimistic, expected in Q1 2022.
⇒ It can be seen that Astar Network, although supporting EVM, is not as specialized as Moonbeam, so I think that projects built on Ethereum will migrate to Moonbeam.
Astar Network is more versatile so it will be suitable for new projects where developers want to take advantage of WebAssembly because of its more familiarity and flexibility. This also explains why there are more projects collaborating with Moonbeam than Astar.
2. Financial support
Both platforms provide grants to projects as well as many other forms of support.
Moonbeam provides funding in the form of Glimmer token (GLMR) and dev tools for infrastructure projects and projects in the ecosystem of DeFi, NFT, etc.
In addition, Moonbeam also supports networking (connecting with other projects, investors, …) and end-to-end support (from start to finish, including project development, marketing, etc.)
Shiden Network on Kusama has announced to spend 6% of all tokens (equivalent to nearly 30 million USD) to attract projects to build on their ecosystem, including activities such as direct funding, organizing hackathons , events for dev,…
Therefore, we can expect a similar fund for the Astar ecosystem once Astar wins the parachain slot.
In addition, Microsoft Japan also officially cooperated with Stake Technologies (the organization that built Astar/Shiden) in expanding the ecosystem through marketing activities and infrastructure support.
A unique feature of Astar is dApp staking. Blockchain developers who build projects on Astar/Shiden will receive bonus tokens based on on-chain activity and the number of tokens staked in that project, which will attract developers to build projects on Astar/Shiden.
They also designed a flywheel to ensure ecosystem participants benefit and avoid token price inflation.
Astar’s Grid Effect
Flywheel: 10% tokens released every year ⇒ 50% of these go to devs and dApp stakers More projects, more tokens staked Decrease in circulating supply and increase in token price Rewards for dev increases and encourages them to build the project ⇒ The loop continues.
⇒ Therefore, I currently evaluate Astar is stronger in terms of attracting devs through funding and dApp staking mechanism, but the real effect, we still need to evaluate after Astar and Moonbeam have run.
Currently, Blockchain Developer support comes mainly from two foundations, Moonbeam and Astar, through programs such as Builders Programs, Substrate Builders Program, etc., but they have not built other independent organizations as Near has done.
However, this could be because both projects are not officially running yet so they are focusing more on building projects and tech, once on Polkadot we will see the community building moves clearer agreement from Moonbeam and Astar’s side.
Understanding these knowledge, we can know what stage blockchain is in.
Are they actively building the infrastructure before or have started attracting Blockchain Developers and building their own ecosystem, from which we will have a reasonable entry point and reduce the risk as much as possible.
This tactic will apply mainly to smart contract platforms, not to dApps or application-specifc blockchains.
Let’s take Solana as an example.
By the end of 2020, Solana has basically completed the infrastructure, acquired breakthrough technologies with high transaction speed and cheapest cost in the market.
They also integrate infrastructure projects such as Chainlink, Arweave, Akash, etc. However, in terms of ecosystem, we have not seen much, DeFi puzzle pieces such as AMM, Lending, etc. almost none.
Solana’s ecosystem late 2020/early 2021
⇒ We don’t know that Solana even with such high technology, it can attract blockchain developers to build projects, has a quality ecosystem, so at this point we should observe more. .
However, in early 2021 Solana began to actively open hackathons and build communities. Solana has organized 2 hackathons, attracting hundreds of projects and thousands of people from all over the world to contribute to build the ecosystem.
The winning projects all play an important role in the ecosystem such as Saber, Sunny, Mango, etc.
From there, we will be able to identify Solana’s intentions in building our ecosystem and have an appropriate investment strategy.
You can combine it with macro and micro cash flow analysis to get the most general picture (for example, many projects, but will the cash flow in, or what areas will the cash flow in) through the following video:
So compared to Near, we can also see that Near is at a similar stage to Solana in 2020.
Near has completed infrastructure such as Aurora (mainnet 12/5), Rainbow Bridge, Flux (Oracle), … and started to build its own ecosystem (through opening hackathon, actively supporting grant for projects). projects and incentive programs worth $800 million).
⇒ I believe this is an ecosystem you should keep an eye on in Q4/2021 and 2022.
Disclaimer: All information on this article is for sharing market experience only and should not be considered as investment advice. Crypto investment is a form of risky investment and should only be entered with capital that can be lost.
The success of a blockchain project is partly due to better technology, but will largely depend on its ability to attract developers to build projects on it, so we need to keep a close eye on its moves. organize as well as work for Blockchain Developer to make the most accurate investment decisions.
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