Ethereum is the leading blockchain for decentralized applications
) and decentralized finance
) protocols. However, many other blockchain ecosystems provide developers with the same, if not more, appealing benefits. Several projects want to become the proverbial "Ethereum killer," although that may take a while to materialize.
Many people are excited about Cardano's chances to become one of the potential Ethereum killers. The ecosystem has a high valuation - nearly $31 billion - and provides much functionality one can find in the Ethereum ecosystem. In addition, its proof-of-stake
consensus mechanism makes for a sustainable and environmental-friendly approach to validating network transactions and exchanging data.
introduced smart contract functionality - albeit later than expected - allowing the developer activity to pick up strongly. In 2021, it was the top-ranking smart contract platform for overall developer activity, ahead of Ethereum and Solana. As smart contracts become more appealing to developers, there will be a more diverse dApp ecosystem.
recently had several decentralized exchanges launched on the network, among other projects. Several dozen dApps are operational on the network today, with more being developed behind the scenes. Compared to the thousands of applications built on Ethereum, it is a small number but a decent start regardless. Cardano-based alternatives to OpenSea
andUniswap may come to market eventually, even if they do not exist today.
On the decentralized finance front, there is work to do for Cardano. The network represents roughly $300 million in total value locked
), a far cry from Ethereum's $133 billion. However, projects like Hydra can make Cardano DeFi a lot more successful and appealing. Better scaling, lower fees, and improved efficiency are always beneficial to ongoing and future blockchain development. Moreover, the Basho era of Cardano will enhance scalability and interoperability, another crucial aspect to keep tabs on.
You may check out our detailed analysis on “is Cardano really an Ethereum killer?”
The Fantom ecosystem
has seen tremendous growth in the decentralized finance sector throughout 2021 and early 2022. Most of that growth comes from the contributions of super-developer, Andre Cronje, who built dozens of protocols on Fantom's technology stack projects. However, Cronje had confirmed
he would leave the DeFi ecosystem and pull the plug on virtually all Fantom-based projects. It remains unclear how that will affect the DeFi landscape, but there is more to Fantom than just yield farming
Fantom operates on a proof-of-stake variant, called a DAG
, or Directed Acyclic Graph
. Although the system shares a few aspects of a distributed ledger, it is not a traditional blockchain. Data pieces are sequenced and offer a cheaper, faster, and more scalable solution for transactions and data processing. Moreover, it is more energy-efficient, paving the way for long-term sustainability. The downside to Fantom's DAG implementation is the reliance on network validators, reducing the overall decentralized nature of the network.
Another benefit of Fantom is its programmability, which can serve any potential use cases. Smart contracts, NFTs, metaverse worlds, gaming, and decentralized finance are just some options. There are also developer incentives to create new projects and an overall more efficient ecosystem for users and developers to benefit from. Moreover, Fantom is EVM-compatible, making it easy for Ethereum developers to port their creations to a new network.
For now, Fantom remains one of the lower-valued Ethereum killers, with a market cap of just under $3 billion. However, the network represents over $6.3 billion in DeFi TVl, indicating momentum is brewing.
The Solana ecosystem
is slightly ahead of Cardano by two billion dollars market capitalization (at the time of writing). That momentum stems from the ecosystem providers' technological benefits: high throughput
at little cost and support for storage, supply chain, and identity use cases
. Particularly that latter aspect will become of broader interest in Web3
development cycles. Some people expect Solana to rival Visa for payments and settlement
, although that may take years to happen.
You may also check our guide comparison of Solana vs Ethereum!
More and more projects are being built on Solana due to these crucial advantages. Decentralized finance, blockchain gaming, and non-fungible tokens are three prominent verticals within Solana's ecosystem today, even though they aren't as well-used as solutions running on Ethereum. Solana represents $6.66 billion in DeFi TVL, putting it slightly ahead of Fantom, but well behind Ethereum, BNB Chain, and Avalanche.
One aspect holding back Solana as an Ethereum killer is the trade-off between performance and decentralization. Solana noted a severe network outage in late 2021
due to bot activity on the network. One can offer tremendous throughput, but it is of no use when the entire network suffers. Moreover, like Fantom, Solana requires network validators to keep things running.
You may also check out our guide on Cardano vs Solana!
There are many parallels between Ethereum and BNB Chain, although both networks are completely different. BNB Chain is launched by Binance, the biggest centralized crypto exchange worldwide. BNB Chain has attracted much attention from users and developers, resulting in various prominent dApps like PancakeSwap, SecondLife, MOOX, Bomb Crypto, etc.
BNB Chain has also noted substantial growth
in the DeFi ecosystem - representing nearly $16 billion today - and non-fungible tokens, among other verticals. The benefit of the BNB Chain is its speed and efficiency. However, when Ethereum moves to proof-of-stake, both of those benefits may become less outspoken.
It is worth noting that BNB Chain was created in February 2022, when Binance merged its Binance Chain - used to enable Binance's crypto trading - with Binance Smart Chain - the dApp technology stack. So far, the merge has not made BNB Chain a more outspoken "Ethereum killer" than it was before. However, it still benefits developers and users, which Ethereum cannot offer.
You may also check out our analysis on Solana vs BSC!
Another "Ethereum killer" gunning for speed and efficiency is Avalanche
). It is also a smart contract platform that has become the tenth-most-valuable crypto project according to market capitalization. Avalanche represents a market cap of over $20.4 billion and has a DeFi TVL of over $11.3 billion. Part of that success comes from being a much faster smart contract platform than other networks.
Avalanche leverages a unique consensus mechanism to achieve transactional finality in under two seconds. That is a vast improvement over Ethereum's 6 minutes, although that's still better than waiting an hour for finality on Bitcoin. Moreover, Avalanche has attracted attention from Mastercard, Deloitte, and other prominent finance and fintech companies. These partners will, through Ava Labs, develop new projects, products, and solutions.
Moreover, Avalanche is Ethereum Virtual Machine-compatible, allowing developers to bridge the gap to the leading development blockchain. EVM compatibility can be a crucial benefit, as it supports smart contracts built for Ethereum without requiring code changes. Additionally, this approach ensures users can access Avalanche through trusted tools like MetaMask
Why Is Cardano Called the "Ethereum Killer"?
Given all of the competition to become an "Ethereum killer", one may wonder why Cardano is part of this conversation. The network is well-behind competitors like Solana, BNB Chain, Fantom, and Avalanche in terms of the ecosystem, decentralized finance TVL, and more. Ethereum is still alive and thriving, and the upcoming switch to proof-of-stake may reinforce the leading network's industry position.
Moreover, to "kill" Ethereum, Cardano would have to surpass Ethereum in market capitalization. That seems very unlikely today, although nothing is impossible. Ethereum's users and developers are fed up with the slow network and exuberant transaction fees. Cardano and other potential "Ethereum killers" provide strong alternatives, yet their success hinges on attracting more developers to build powerful and prominent applications. Speed and efficiency are powerful benefits, but Cardano is not unique in that regard, even if it is more decentralized than networks relying on validators.
On paper, Cardano has the same chance of being an "Ethereum killer" as Solana, BNB Chain, Fantom, or Avalanche. Whether any of them will get to that stage is a different story. Ethereum 2.0 will introduce many solutions to pressing problems affecting the network. Moreover, Ethereum still has the first-mover advantage
, early adoption, and tremendous market share.
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