Most people who think about Blockchain think Bitcoin. This was an uncontroversial statement just a year ago, but now it is being challenged by Ethereum. The reason for it is that the next evolution of technology, Decentralized Finance, is happening in this platform and virtually nowhere else. As all other projects raze to catch up to Ethereum, the network is beginning to gain recognition with mainstream audiences, and the platform is on its way to becoming a household name.
A complete overview of DeFi can be found in DeFi Apps: What you Need to Know (2020).
Yet problems arise on the horizon for Ethereum. Its road towards the fabled Ethereum 2.0 remains bumpy, full of delays, and uncertainty. The slow progress has been a continuous source of frustration for the developer community.
On a few occasions, Vitalik Buterin has claimed that Ethereum is full and cannot host more Dapps. Of course, projects launched on Ethereum have not stopped, the gas price is going through the roof, and the networks keep slowing down due to demand. With all these things happening, Ethereum 2.0 remains over the next hill.
The dynamic of increasing demand for DeFi products, coupled with an inability for Ethereum to meet it, has created an opening for new platforms. Many Blockchains out there have risen to the challenge.
The problems plaguing Ethereum don’t seem to have a specific solution in the short term, so in this article, we will discuss some of the best alternatives for development out there.
Before we continue, here’s a quick and safe way to buy your Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and other cryptocurrencies.
Launched in 2019, Algorand is a third-generation Blockchain. It is a permissionless network that works using the pure proof-of-stake (PPoS) consensus algorithm.
This is a variation on the general PoS system that has become so popular with newer Blockchains. Algorand version PPoS distributes rewards with each block confirmation to everyone holding some ALGO, the network’s coin, to encourage participation.
Algorand’s approach to smart contracts is also novel. They have developed a custom computer language named Transaction Execution Approval Language (TEAL). Unlike Solidity, TEAL is non-Turing complete.
This restriction helps with the security of the smart contract and the speed of its execution. This way, the network can conform to transactions faster, and developers can build new applications without being too concerned about security.
All of these innovations have made Algorand one of the most promising rivals of Ethereum. The network is already seeing adoption and development by some impressive industry partners like Hex Capital and USV.
Algorand already has some projects in the pipeline, and many directly compete with some of the biggest names Ethereum ecosystem. Since Algorand already has a working PoS system and fees that are considerably lower, it is not hard to see that the project will take the lead in the Blockchain race in the near future.
Recently, FlexID has become one of the better projects in the world of Blockchain. It is trying to end the problems caused by a lack of identity cards for citizens of African countries. The project is using Algorand’s network to deploy this solution to those citizens without proper identification.
Instead of being one Blockchain, Cosmos is an ecosystem of Blockchains. It is a framework where developers can create a custom network for their particular use case. Due to how the platform is designed, this Blockchain can communicate with all the others launched on Cosmos.
The result should be a network of Blockchains, each serving different sectors of the economy yet able to transact with each other and become fully interoperable.
The Cosmos network is built to be far more scalable than Ethereum, and user-friendly, as Blockchain architecture is modified to fit a purpose, instead of having developers model their projects to work under the limitations of the network.
This has attracted many impressive partners to develop on Cosmos such as Binance Chain. A decentralized exchange under construction by the Binance company and its community. As Cosmos keeps getting traction, it will only become a more formidable competitor to Ethereum.
The Cosmos Blockchain has a substantial presence in Nigeria. The official Cosmos group regularly organizes meetups and talks in the capital city of Lagos.
Much like Cosmos, Polkadot is a multi-chain Blockchain. Basically, a network of interconnected Blockchains each serving an economic niche while still able to communicate and operate between them to achieve scalability and customization.
It uses a modification of Delegated Proof of Stake called Nominated proof of stake (NPoS). In it, holders of the token nominate a limited number of validators which produce the next block. The quantity of validators is not a fixed number, so it can increase as the network grows, to ensure that decentralization is maintained.
Another innovation already available in Polkadot is Parachains. These are parallel blockchains that run in tandem and effectively scale the network almost in a linear manner. In Ethereum, this concept is known as sharding. Even in the best-case scenarios, Parachain is a year away from implementation, while Polkadot is already working. This is a massive advantage this platform has over the king of DeFi.
Chromia is a relational Blockchain. It combines the advantages of a Blockchain with those of a relational database. The project’s idea is that relational databases are the most common and effective way to store information.
This allows the Blockchain to scale horizontally with demand and will enable the deployment of applications entirely on the chain. One example is that Chromia has developed a game running on the network that can be accessed right now.
The team behind the project has also developed a custom computer language called RELL. It is meant to combine the Blockchain and relational database aspects of the network for easy development. However, it is not completely new. It is based on SQL to give those looking to deploy applications in Chromia a familiar technology.
This is perhaps the most innovative project in the list as it opens the possibility to run large sets of data from a distributed system. Any Nigerian looking to develop the future of Dapps should look at Chromia as the best possibility. Chromia opens roads previously thought impossible in the world of Blockchain.
The race keeps heating up despite the perceived dominance of Ethereum. In many ways, Ethereum is a victim of its own success. It has become the default platform for launching new projects, which has made the network slow and expensive to use.
This has created an opening for those newer Blockchain protocols looking to bring scalability with lower costs. As blockchain technology advances, we will probably see one of these projects taking the lead from Ethereum.
For any Nigerian looking to profit from the world of Blockchain, buying crypto is a necessity.