Coin, Coin Everywhere, Not a Good one to Buy….
If the current dip in the crypto market makes you reminisce about this Coleridge-like quote, trust me, you aren’t alone. But this dip isn’t something to be scared of, especially if you have the likes of Ethereum or the supposed ‘Ethereum Killer’ on your radar.
- Ethereum is currently placed 2nd on the list of leading crypto-players in terms of market cap.
- Ethereum continues to face issues relevant to slow and costlier transactions.
- Cardano is a promising ETH challenger courtesy of the Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism.
- If transaction speed is a priority, Solana can be a great blockchain to focus on
- Interested in no-cost dApp developer tools; pick EOS
- The Binance Smart Chain is more like the ETH 1.5 that promises lower transaction costs and backward compatibility with EVM.
- Polkadot is a 4th gen Blockchain that perfects the concept of interoperability.
- We can expect these coins to coexist in the future instead of being at loggerheads.
As much as I like Ethereum to the moon and back, it still has some distance to go and updates to accommodate before it can challenge Bitcoin’s dominance. While that might eventually happen, there are already a few cryptocurrencies around that are pretty hot on Ethereum’s heels, waiting to find this 2nd largest player wanting in terms of scalability, transaction costs, and other relevant aspects.
Also Read: What is EIP-1559 & Its effect on ETH Price
But can something as big as Ethreum get killed or rather outpaced? Well, yes and no. Still, to understand this entire premise of standing up to Ethereum and even trying to scale beyond requires a detailed analysis. And that is exactly what this discussion aims to shed light on.
What are Ethereum Killers?
The concept of ‘Ethereum Killer’ for a crypto player is about evolving as a blockchain that can mitigate the shortcomings of the first mover. Put simply, the players, which will be able to improve upon the issues, will have the chance to take over Ethereum, presumably in the long run.
For now, it leaves us with Cardano, EOS, Solana, BNB, and Polkadot as the key players. Why they qualify is a different topic altogether and something that we will cover subsequently?
Fact Check: The Ethereum we shall be discussing isn’t even the original one. Instead, it is a powerful and consensus-driven hard fork that aims at fixing the blockchain’s overreliance on letter strict code.
And before we delve further into the core competencies of the probable Ethereum killers, it is important to understand where the 2nd most popular blockchain in the world falters.
Ethereum’s Obvious Pet Peeves
If you have been following Ethereum closely, you know that scalability is still a major issue. As the demand for ecosystem usage grew, the inherent Proof-of-Work mechanism became dated and, at present, can only manage 13 transactions per second.
Fact Check: Ethereum validated transactions require miners to solve cryptographic problems, the ‘Proof’ of which generates an Ether, i.e., the transactional unit used across the Ethereum blockchain.
Coming back to Ethereum’s shortcomings, the slower transaction speed is one of the reasons why people have been looking for alternative blockchains with similar capabilities to arrive. Plus, slower transactions invariably lead to higher transaction or gas fees, which are mandatory for using the computational power of this massive ecosystem.
Now that we have established that Etherum’s PoW (Proof-of-Work) consensus mechanism is no speedster, it is also important to understand that running close to 1.355 million average transactions, which is common for Ethereum, requires massive computational power.
Fun Fact: The Ethereum blockchain consumes close to 54.47 Terawatt-hour each year, which is at least 12% percent higher than Peru’s annual energy consumption, standing at 49.01 TWh. And mind you, Peru is a ‘Country.’
Apart from issues concerning scalability, i.e., the inability to manage a higher number of transactions per second, the Ethereum blockchain also suffers from a lack of sustainability, which can be related to the mentioned energy consumption. And yes, there is also an interoperability issue that doesn’t allow other blockchain participants to interact with the Ethereum ecosystem without making arrangements.
These issues relevant to Ethereum’s blockchain are big enough for a certain segment of users. And this is the reason why the competition is slowly planning to eat into Ethereum’s global market share by unveiling them as ‘Ethereum Killers.’
So let’s dig in and learn more about these relatively new yet promising crypto players.
Cardano: The Third-Gen Blockchain
Fact Check: Did you know that Cardano’s founder, Charles Hoskinson, is a part of the Ethereum team.
Launched way back in 2017, Cardono comes across as one of the primary and hyped Ethereum Killers around. And it actually tries to make an impression by fixing the problems unearthed by the likes of Bitcoin and even Ethereum.
Coming to the specifics, Cardano is supposed to be a DApps-supporting blockchain that would also make provisions for running ‘Smart Contracts.’ And to sweeten things further, Cardano did become the third-largest crypto player for a brief period in August and is currently holding onto the 4th place.
What started out as a public, open-source, decentralized ecosystem has evolved into something bigger in 2021, courtesy of the ‘Alonzo’ upgrade. Put plainly; this upgrade lends additional programmability to Cardano by making it receptive towards NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) and a wide range of smart contracts.
On top of these revisited and potent capabilities, Cardano also boasts a Peer-Review setup, which focuses on getting the entire blockchain back-tested after major and minor upgrades.
Why is it termed an Ethereum Killer?
Cardano’s chain incentivizing cryptocurrency, i.e., ADA, follows a finite or rather deflationary principle, which hints at a fixed coin supply. This means that the demand will eventually increase regardless of how things go for this ecosystem.
Plus, Cardano focuses on the Proof-of-Stake, consensus mechanism from the onset. And, believe me, this approach is expected to be highly sustainable.
Fact Check: Proof-of-Stake consensus requires transaction validators to stake their ADA and gain precedence instead of solving cryptic puzzles.
While Cardano itself deserves a separate discussion, it is clearly moving up the global charts courtesy of the detailed roadmap, ability to support close to 266 transactions each second, and the much-anticipated Hydra upgrade.
Important: Hydra upgrade is a layer-2 chain scaling solution for increasing the speed and volume of transactions further.
Solana: The Primary Suspect
Fact Check: Did you know that Solana has a blazing fast block time of 400ms as compared to Ethereum’s 10-second and Bitcoin’s 10-minute limit.
Now that we see that Solana has some obvious speed-specific advantages over Ethereum, let’s understand how it aims to supplant the latter in terms of functionality.
Solana, as a blockchain, comes with built-in support for smart contracts. Plus, it already has the ‘Degenerative Ape Academy’ NFT housed within the ecosystem. Sounds fun, right!
Well, there is more. Solana already has over 250 fully-functional projects running on-chain. And what’s even more impressive is that it currently holds the 5th position while listing crypto players by market cap.
Fact Check: Much like Ethereum’s Ether and Cardano’s ADA, SOL happens to be Solana’s native currency.
Here is a fourth-generation blockchain that supports Proof-of-History. And, owing to the insane transaction speeds, the costs are dirt cheap, at least for now. However, the only thing stopping Solana’s ascension is that its mainnet functionality is still in the beta stage.
Important: Proof-of-History is similar to the energy-efficient Proof-of-Stake but with time stamping to speed up the process further.
Why is it termed an Ethereum Killer?
Well, it’s definitely the speed and also the scalable ecosystem. Also, Solana supports sea level, which is an approach for running concurrent smart contracts, making it a far quicker blockchain as compared to some other players. These capabilities can certainly come in handy in the Defi (Decentralized Finance) space, which is something Ethereum takes pride in leading.
EOS: The Stealth Mover
Fact Check: Did you know EOS’s ICO offering lasted for almost a year and had a net worth exceeding $4 Billion?
EOS.IO, the software protocol behind the EOS blockchain, is aimed at developing something fast, scalable, and flexible. Also, Decentralized Applications were in focus for the EOS blockchain.
Launched way back in 2018, EOS supports DApps and Smart Contracts right off the bat. And to top it all, the blockchain aims at minimizing coding and including a wide range of base capabilities to the decentralized app developers. This way, people with lesser technical acumen can also use EOS for day-to-day operations.
EOS uses dPoS or Delegated Proof of Stake as the underlying principle, where the stakes are blocked, and validators are chosen randomly to create new blocks. Also, these validators are rewarded with freshly generated EOS tokens. This approach also brings about the concept of decentralized governance, which aims at transforming staking into a fairer system.
Why is it termed an Ethereum Killer?
While the 0.5-second is reason enough, EOS also boasts free transactions and the availability of no-cost developer tools.
Binance Smart Chain: In it for the Long Haul
Fact Check: Binance already boasts massive crypto exchanges, which ensures that ‘User Targeting’ will never be an issue.
For starters, Binance has already proved itself to be faster than the Ethereum blockchain. Plus, it is obvious that network using costs are also on the lower side.
If you have your eyes on the BSC (Binane Smart Chain), watch out for BNB mentions, as BNB is the native currency used for incentivizing the BSC. Moving on, BSC focuses on high-end dApps, Smart Contracts, and cross-chain compatibility.
Moreover, BSC even caters to investors and traders by offering low-cost and low latency platforms for them to work on. But the fun part is that BSC supports EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine), and therefore, allows Ethereum-based applications to function without breaking a sweat.
Fact Check: EVM signifies the network of computing resources relevant to the Ethereum blockchain.
And as we discussed, the Binance Coin is BNB has already peaked to 3rd place on the list of global crypto players, segregated by market cap.
BSC, as mentioned, is cheaper and faster as compared to Ethereum. Also, if you are into specifics, BSC supports close to 39 transactions each second, which is almost thrice of what Ethereum offers.
Why is it termed an Ethereum Killer?
While the prices and speeds are self-explanatory, Binance’s growing popularity as an exchange is also facilitating the rise of the BSC and the BNB in the process. And to add to the benefits, Binance solves the interoperability issue faced by Ethereum by ensuring cross-chain blockchain compatibility.
Polkadot: Most Dependable ‘Killer’
Fact Check: Polkadot was initially conceptualized as a part of the Web 3.0 hierarchy.
If you are unaware as to which Ethereum problem Polkadot plans on solving, do take a closer look at its cross-chain brilliance. In simple terms, Polkadot brings together multiple chains to improve scalability and security significantly.
Important: Polkadot crypto lets developers create their own blockchains, termed Parachains. These blockchains use Polkadot’s relay to speed and scale up transactions.
Touted as the next-gen Blockchain, Polkadot takes pride in pushing a multi-chain, heterogeneous architecture. This concept eventually leads to different blockchains existing on the same relay chain. This approach helps strengthen the security safeguards and facilitates unmatched interoperability.
Also, DOT, which is Polkadot’s native currency, currently holds on to the 8th position on the list of global crypto players.
While Polkadot certainly requires a standalone topic for us to decipher the concepts for you, for now, you can simply consider it a blockchain of parachains. As the main idea is to enable multi-parallelized processes, the theoretical network speeds can easily scale 1 million transactions per second.
What is it termed an Ethereum Killer?
Well, Polkadot takes care of governance and scalability issues pertaining to the ETH platform. Also, it introduces a new meaning for interoperability, courtesy of the parachain relaying concept. And finally, with Polkadot, you need not worry about hard forks as the blockchain is forkless and cannot be splintered.
Can Ethereum avoid Getting Killed?
Despite the mentioned crypto players breathing down Etheruem’s neck, it is still a long way ahead, both in terms of market cap and global adoption. And in the process of housing over 80% of dApps on its ecosystem, ETH still needs a lot of firepower to be put down. Check the current price of Ethereum, ETH to INR.
However, once the ETH 2.0 becomes a reality, with features like Proof-of-Stake, Sharding, and eWASM incorporated into the mix, these purported assailants might have their tasks cut out. But then, till the time we update eludes us, it would be up to these crypto players to work around ETH’s Achilles Heel. You can buy Ethereum at the best rate with CoinSwitch.
Regardless of the tussle for market supremacy, I believe that each of these crypto giants will coexist in the metaverse going into the future. And if you are concerned about the DeFi space getting saturated with a handful of crypto players making all the big moves, let me tell you that Decentralized Finance is evolving at insane speeds each year. And this makes it an open space for each of the mentioned players to come in and make an impression.
Q1. Are these ETH challengers technologically equipped?
A1. Yes, every ETH challenger mentioned on the list, including Cardano, Solana, EOS, BSC, and Polkadot, has intuitive technological improvements in place, which aim at remediating a specific issue relevant to the ETH blockchain.
Q2. Can I invest in these ETH challengers just like Ethereum?
A2. Yes, you can grab these ETH challengers by heading over to CoinSwitch Kuber and creating an account. Each blockchain-specific coin is listed at CoinSwitch Kuber, including DOT, SOL, ADA, BNB, and EOS, for you to analyze and take a plunge in. Still, we would ask you to do your own research before moving ahead.
Q3. Which seems the most promising ETH challenger to look at from a long-term perspective?
A3. It is almost impossible to zero in on one crypto player. For cross-chain fanatics, Polkadot seems like a great choice, whereas, for speed enthusiasts, nothing beats Solana. Similarly, every other crypto-player has its own set of capabilities, which need to be factored in before investing.
Did you find this a good read? Read and learn more with CoinSwitch and get ahead of the crypto space going into 2022.
Disclaimer : Crypto products and NFTs are unregulated and can be highly risky. There may be no regulatory recourse for any loss from such transactions. The information provided in this post is not to be considered as investment/financial advice from CoinSwitch. Any action taken upon the information shall be at user's own risk.
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