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This article is part of the ongoing “Origin” series that tracks the emergence and evolution of projects in the cryptocurrency-based smart contract ecosystem. Today we’ll look at Polkadot and the challenge it poses to today’s dominant platform, Ethereum.

Polkadot, by itself, is not a smart contract platform; it is a network that connects heterogeneous blockchains. However, Polkadot’s flexible and adaptive architecture facilitates building technology, including smart contract platforms, that can pose a credible threat to Ethereum’s dominance. That technology will be covered in this article as we compare Polkadot’s first smart contract platform implementation to Ethereum’s. In the near future Polkadot will likely support and interconnect a variety of different smart contract platforms, so this analysis presents just an early glimpse of what is to come. …


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This article is part of the ongoing “Origin” series that tracks the emergence and evolution of projects in the cryptocurrency-based smart contract ecosystem. Today we’ll look at Stellar and the challenge it could pose to today’s dominant platform, Ethereum.

In a crypto winter that has seen Ripple take over Ethereum’s long held number 2 market cap ranking, Ripple’s offspring, Stellar, has quietly risen into the top 10. Though it began as a Ripple-like consortium chain, Stellar has since evolved into an open, decentralized platform that supports smart contracts.

Stellar’s co-founder Jeb McCaleb has a long history of creating globally dominant systems in the decentralized space. In 2000, long before Bitcoin was a glimmer in Satoshi’s eye, McCaleb and Sam Yagan created the eDonkey peer-to-peer file sharing network, which in 2004 became the most widely used file sharing network on the Internet until it was overtaken by Bittorrent in 2007. …


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This article is part of the ongoing “Origin” series that tracks the emergence and evolution of projects in the cryptocurrency-based smart contract ecosystem. Today we’ll look at Zilliqa and the challenge it poses to today’s dominant platform, Ethereum.

Zilliqa is a smart contract platform built on a sharded blockchain that has clocked in at thousands of transactions per second (TPS). It includes a new functional language for developing smart contracts that facilitates automated formal verification of security properties. It is intended to function as an open, public blockchain for running smart contracts and thus is a direct competitor to Ethereum.

The project’s name is apparently a play on “silica” that means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.” The company was founded by a group of researchers from the National University of Singapore including Xinshu Dong (CEO), Yaoqi Jia (Head of Technology), Amrit Kumar (Head of Research), and Prateek Saxena (Chief Scientific Advisor), and others. Saxena had worked with Loi Luu (founder and CEO of Kyber Network and advisor to Zilliqa) and other researchers at NUS on the ELASTICO protocol for sharding permissionless blockchains. …


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This article is part of the ongoing “Origin” series that tracks the emergence and evolution of projects in the cryptocurrency-based smart contract ecosystem. Today we’ll look at æternity and the ways it could supplant today’s dominant platform, Ethereum.

æternity is a decentralized, trustless smart contracts platform that is designed to provide better scalability, governance, smart contract security, privacy, and access to real world data than Ethereum. The project shares many similarities with Ethereum, including a Proof of Work (PoW) blockchain and support for Solidity contracts running on an EVM-compatible virtual machine. …


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This article is part of the ongoing “Origin” series that tracks the emergence and evolution of projects in the cryptocurrency-based smart contract ecosystem. Today we’ll look at how Waves could challenge today’s dominant platform, Ethereum.

The Waves Platform aims to address some key limitations of existing blockchains in the areas of scalability and user experience. It implements a Proof of Stake (PoS) flavor of Bitcoin-NG’s scaling solution and provides some novel mechanisms, such as integrated fiat gateways, token launcher, and decentralized exchange, that greatly simplify the process of issuing and trading custom tokens. …


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This article is part of the ongoing “Origin” series that tracks the emergence and evolution of projects in the cryptocurrency-based smart contract ecosystem. Today we’ll look at how Qtum could challenge today’s dominant platform, Ethereum.

Qtum (pronounced Quantum) is a smart contracts platform designed to be Ethereum-compatible while addressing some perceived deficiencies of Ethereum such as scalability, lack of formal verification tooling, and lack of lite mobile solutions using simple payment verification (SPV). Qtum addresses these issues with a different underlying blockchain and consensus algorithm that Qtum believes will enable the platform to provide better support for lightweight mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The project aspires to become the “public blockchain for business” by bringing its technology to financial services, supply chain management, social media, gaming, and other industries in the future. …


This article is part of the ongoing “Origin” series that tracks the emergence and evolution of projects in the cryptocurrency-based smart contract ecosystem. Today we’ll look at how Lisk could challenge the dominant platform, Ethereum.

Lisk evolved out of the now defunct Crypti blockchain project. On January 30, 2016 community manager Max Kordek and developer Oliver Beddows announced that they were leaving the project to create Lisk from a fork of the Crypti code. The new, fully open source, project would feature several improvements to the network, applications, ecosystem, and project management that would make Lisk more viable and sustainable. A few weeks after the initial announcement, Lisk conducted a four week long ICO that raised over 14,000 Bitcoin plus about 1000 Crypti. …


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This article is part of the ongoing “Origin” series that tracks the emergence and evolution of smart contract projects in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Today we’ll look at Cardano and the ways it could supplant today’s dominant platform, Ethereum.

Cardano is a project that aims to create a next generation smart contract platform and ecosystem by learning from and improving on lessons learned in the Bitcoin and Ethereum communities. The project claims to be “the first blockchain platform to evolve out of a scientific philosophy and a research-first driven approach.” The project’s goals include improved scalability, security, governance, and interoperability with traditional financial systems and regulations. …


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This article is part of the ongoing “Origin” series that tracks the emergence and evolution of projects in the cryptocurrency-based smart contract ecosystem. Today we’ll look at EOS and how it could threaten to supplant Ethereum as the dominant smart contracts platform.

EOS is a blockchain-based smart contract platform that promises great advances in addressing some of the key challenges in current blockchain technology: performance, user experience, and governance. Currently EOS is still undergoing development; there is no public blockchain on which to build and deploy applications. …


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This article is part of the ongoing “Origin” series that tracks the emergence and evolution of projects in the cryptocurrency-based smart contract ecosystem. Today we’ll look at NEO and the ways it could supplant today’s dominant platform, Ethereum.

NEO’s goal is to enable the digitization of all real world assets by tying them to real world identities through blockchain and smart contract technology. Note the emphasis on real world; NEO’s tight integration with existing legal and governmental frameworks and support for familiar software development environments are distinguishing features of this platform. …

Ed Posnak

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