A Different Look into Blockchain Ecosystem Development Activity

Counting Events Instead of Commits

Evgeni Enakiev
4 min readJun 6, 2024



The Santiment.net team has launched an Ecosystem Dev Activity Dashboard that shows how many software development events are created on various blockchains and their associated dApps. These events are carefully filtered and predefined to be representative of real programming progress, meaning no low-value actions are taken into consideration. This way, any crypto-curious person can easily see which are the most active crypto ecosystems out there.

What Is Dev Activity and Why It’s Important

When exploring the crypto space, whether as a user, trader, investor, or other role, it’s important to pay attention to the size of the community behind each project. It’s even more critical to know how many community members are developers and, more importantly, how many of those developers are active contributors. This can be assessed by observing their activity on GitHub.

The more development activity a project has, the greater the chances are that their product will grow and be adopted by the users. However, development activity can be monitored in different ways.

A Different Dev Activity Metric: Development Activity Events

A general understanding among market players is that the Dev Activity metric represents the number of commits that a project has in its GitHub repositories. But more than 6 years ago, we introduced a new approach to calculating dev activity that avoids the major flaws of dev activity values when calculations are based mainly on the number of commits.

But why events, and not commits?

In the crypto space, many projects base their work on other projects. The term “fork” means that you inherit the work of others, and iterate on that work yourself. For example, all Bitcoin forks inherit the hard parts from the original Bitcoin code base, and then make some tweaks on top of it. The fork also gets all the commits, so if pure commits counting is done, all these forks will report the same level of dev activity as the original repository. But if events are counted, the act of forking produces a single event, so we will essentially be counting only the extra work done on top of the original.

Chart: Dev Activity of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Gold [Jul 2017 — Dec 2018]

A comparison between the development activity level of Bitcoin (shown in red color) and Bitcoin Gold (shown in orange color). Time period is selected to show several months before and after the initial launch of Bitcoin Gold (12th November 2017). Excluding the forked commits gives a more realistic view of the development efforts of the BTG team, instead of adding the count of their events over the cumulative number of commits for the Bitcoin network up until the moment of forking.

Why pre-selected events and not all of them?

Because even though development activity events are an important indicator of value in a blockchain ecosystem, not all GitHub events accurately reflect valuable developers’ contributions. A filtering approach is used to calculate what we call the ‘pure’ development activity levels. We differentiate between two types of activity:

  • Development Activity — the pure dev activity taking into account only selected types of events in public GitHub repositories (excluding commits, forks, comments, project management events, etc.)
  • GitHub Activity — taking into account all types of events in public GitHub repositories (commits not included).

One key distinction between Dev Activity and GitHub Activity is that Dev Activity allows for a fairer comparison between different organizations. This is because some events excluded in Dev Activity are related to Issues and Issue Comments. As a result, this metric avoids giving an unjust advantage to projects that use GitHub for issue tracking and community engagements compared to projects that rely on external tools for such purposes.

Based on this approach, we also differentiate between:

  • Development Activity Contributors — the unique GitHub accounts that had contributed to the selected events.
  • GitHub Contributors — the unique GitHub accounts that had contributed to all events.

You can find more details about our approach on this Santiment Academy page.

Chart: Ecosystem Development Activity Events

Just a glance at the Ecosystem Development Activity Events chart can easily help you spot the dominance of the Ethereum dev ecosystem. Highlighted is the universal drop in dev activity that occurred during the Christmas and New Year holidays. But even then, the Ethereum ecosystem dev activity dropped to a level that is actually the normal active level of the second and third ecosystems in the ranking — BNB Chain and Polygon.

Make Your Project Count

You can shine a light on your project and connect it to the respective blockchain/ecosystem by using a simple form (found in the right sidebar of the dashboard page). You can also suggest any changes to the public repositories of your or a third-party project.

Whether you are a crypto enthusiast or someone looking to invest in a particular project or blockchain ecosystem, Santiment.net’s Ecosystem Dev Activity Dashboard and charts provide a holistic view of the crypto software development landscape. This enables you to compare and contrast development efforts, identify emerging trends, and make well-informed decisions.