Ethereum ushered in the blockchain 2.0 era when it went live in July 2015. It was the first blockchain network that went beyond digital currencies to enable smart contract development and the creation of decentralized applications (DApps).
Ethereum’s first-mover advantage as the pioneer in smart contract computing has enabled it to become the second most valuable blockchain network in the market. Today, however, several competitors, dubbed “the Ethereum Killers,” are challenging Ethereum for the top spot as the leading smart contract blockchain platform.
In this guide, you will discover the top five Ethereum competitors.
Launched in 2018 after a highly successful $4 billion ICO, EOS has managed to quickly establish itself as Ethereum’s hottest new competitor.
EOS refers to itself as “the most powerful infrastructure for decentralized applications.” Like Ethereum, it supports smart contracts and DApp development but differentiates itself in several ways.
The Ethereum network can currently process only 15 transactions per second while EOS is said to be able to handle 6,000 transactions per second. Additionally, EOS uses a delegated Proof-of-Stake (dPoS) protocol as a consensus mechanism as opposed to Proof-of-Work, which involves 21 block producers being tasked with maintaining the network. While this means faster transactions, it does create a risk of centralization.
Moreover, EOS transactions do not occur transaction fees while Ethereum’s gas fees can become quite substantial during busy times on the Ethereum blockchain. Instead, node holders are rewarded with new tokens that come from the cryptocurrency’s one percent inflation rate.
Launched in 2014, the Stellar Network “is a platform that connects banks, payments systems, and people. Integrate to move money quickly, reliably, and at almost no cost.” While high-speed, low-cost international payments are what Stellar is known for, its blockchain network also comes with smart contract capabilities, which positions it as a competitor to Ethereum.
Smart contracts on the Stellar blockchain are not Turing-complete, which means they cannot be used to develop complex DApps, they remain popular among developers as they are relatively easy to deploy, even for individuals and companies that have little programming experience.
As a result, the Stellar network has also been used to launch token sales and many of these tokens ended up trading on the network’s decentralized exchange.
Founded in 2015, Cardano refers to its “the first blockchain platform to evolve out of a scientific philosophy and a research-first driven approach.” Similarly to Ethereum, Cardano supports smart contracts and decentralized applications.
Cardano stands out among other blockchain projects for exclusively using academically peer-reviewed open-source code to provide a smooth running network that programmers and developers can build applications on.
Additionally, Cardano has higher transaction speeds (257 TPS) than Ethereum and utilizes a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, called Ouroboros, which boasts of being the only consensus protocol with mathematically proven security.
Launched in 2017, the Tron Network aims to create the infrastructure for a truly decentralized Internet.
While the platform is similar to Ethereum from a technical and features point of view, Tron can process transactions faster than its predecessor. Additionally, transactions on the Tron network do not incur fees, which is an advantage for users and developers who want to build on Tron.
Moreover, Tron uses Java as a coding language, which makes it easier for developers to build applications as they are not required to learn an entirely new coding language as is the case with Ethereum’s Solidity.
Initially founded in 2014 as AntShares, the project rebranded to NEO in 2017. NEO “utilizes blockchain technology and digital identity to digitize assets and automate the management of digital assets using smart contracts. Using a distributed network, it aims to create a “Smart Economy.”
Dubbed “the Chinese Ethereum Killer,” NEO has managed to establish itself as one of the go-to blockchain networks in China.
Like Ethereum, NEO supports smart contract creation and decentralized applications but it goes further to also enable the digitization of physical assets. Through the use of digital identities, assets can be digitized and linked to their real-world owners in an immutable manner on the blockchain.
Will Ethereum be Dethroned?
While all the above-mentioned Ethereum competitors offer different advantages over their predecessor, it is important to note that the Ethreum blockchain is not a finished product. Ethereum developers are continuously working on new updates to improve the platform’s usability and scalability.
For example, Ethereum plans to change its consensus protocol from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake to reduce the chance for miner centralization and to minimize the risk of a 51 percent attack.
Moreover, Ethereum has the largest developer community in the cryptocurrency market and boasts the largest number of DApps and enterprise users.
It is, therefore, unlikely for Ethereum to be dethroned anytime soon, especially if its developers continue to successfully implement upgrades to improve the network.