Smart Contract Protocols — Part I

As crypto slowly evolves from investment phase to utility phase, we are on the brink of a paradigm shift within software development and distribution. We are seeing a massive talent spillover from web2 to a decentralized web or web3, and the materialization of a new and open financial system.

Three years after Ethereum’s 2015 mainnet launch, the utility phase is beginning to emerge, exampled by thousands of dapps, millions of blockchain wallets, and a global movement of entrepreneurs building towards web3. As of today, Ethereum is the clear market leader for “decentralized” app creation. However hurdles such as Ethereum scalability, transactions costs, and delayed upgrades mean shifting sands for application-focused developers.

To make the ‘utility phase’ a reality, we must understand the state of smart contract protocols, where the activity is happening, and how developers can choose where to build. The more I speak to web3 entrepreneurs, the more I realize the limited or incorrect information there is on smart contract protocols…so, I decided in early-August to embark on a research journey of alternative smart contract protocols —which meant reading dozens of smart contract whitepapers.

I will be open-sourcing my research in the coming weeks and months, and launching the initiative in this post.

Part I: All the Whitepapers

High-level Insights

I included a total of 60 smart contract protocols whitepapers, although read dozens more which did not fulfill defined criteria. Of these 60…

  • 30 (50%) are currently traded on exchanges.
  • 6 (10%) raised funds using ERC20 smart contract.
  • The top 3 keywords in Whitepaper Titles were “blockchain” (13), “decentralized” (7), and “distributed” (6).
  • For whitepaper releases, 2017 was the leader with 18, while 2018 was close behind with 13. To note, 17 were undated.

In my next post, I will cover protocol 1) description in layman form, 2) consensus algorithm, 3) scripting languages, 4) ICO stats.

If you have specific requests or feedback hit me up on Twitter (@ashaegan).