Whenever a new blockchain platform launched between 2017 and 2018, it was inevitably heralded as a future replacement for the largest, most successful cryptocurrency platform of all. In short, it came bearing the name of Ethereum Killer.
Those prophecies turned out to be premature, and by 2019 the hit that’s been put out on Ethereum is still waiting to be cashed.
A year is a long time in the crypto space, and many would argue that the lineup of possible contenders for Ethereum’s throne has changed already. New upstarts have come to the fore, while some who’ve been in the fight for too long are starting to weaken due to falling coin prices.
So let’s take a look at the so-called Ethereum Killers in 2019. Are we looking at a new crop of assassins – or just the usual suspects?
ZILLIQA (ZIL) DRAWS FIRST BLOOD
Zilliqa has perhaps already drawn first blood in the battle against Ethereum – last year the Ethereum-based game Etheremon was packed up by developers and emigrated to the Zilliqa blockchain. | Source: Shutterstock
Zilliqa has perhaps already drawn first blood in the battle against Ethereum – last year the Ethereum-based game Etheremon was packed up by developers and emigrated to the Zilliqa blockchain.
The move was in response to rising gas prices on Ethereum, and the assertion that Ethereum’s lack of scalability solutions was draining the game’s potential. The Zilliqa team announced at the time:
“We are glad to announce that we will work with the Zilliqa team to explore Zilliqa as a scalability solution for Etheremon. The higher throughput and low gas of Zilliqa’s sharding solution offer players better experience.”
More on Zilliqa can be read here, in CCN’s interview with Zilliqa CEO, Xinshu Dong where he goes into detail on Zilliqa’s sharding process:
“Imagine a sample network of 1,000 nodes. ZILLIQA will automatically divide the network into 10 shards each with 100 nodes. Each shard can now process transactions in parallel. If each shard is capable of processing 100 transactions per second, then all shards together can process 1000 transactions per second.”
If all of this sounds too good to be true, read my deep-dive on Zilliqa which covers some of the technical difficulties still facing this possible Ethereum slayer.
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HOLO (HOT) – THE NON-BLOCKCHAIN WILDCARD
In this sense Holo opts for a distributed network as opposed to a decentralized one (however, a distributed network is by nature decentralized). | Source: Apollo Capital/Medium
More of a wildcard compared to some in this list, Holo (HOT) sets itself apart from the rest of the crowd by not actually utilizing a blockchain. Instead, Holo uses distributed hash tables (DHT), which are more similar to a torrent network than a blockchain.
In this sense, Holo opts for a distributed network as opposed to a decentralized one (however, a distributed network is by nature decentralized).
Already, several projects have opted to build on the Holochain network, including a Holo-based Reddit competitor named Comet; an open-source legal system called Ulex; as well as several others in industries ranging from social media to supply-chain.
In early 2018, the CFO of Mozilla, Jim Cook, named Holo as one of the projects which was creating an agent-centric model that could wrestle control of the internet back from the hands of Google and friends. Holo’s association with Mozilla is extended by their common use of the Rust programming language.
When Binance’s CEO and founder, Changpeng Zhao, sent out job posts for Rust developers last year, the effect was such that the HOT coin price responded by jumping 26%.
WAVES (WAVES) – THE OLD GUARD
Waves launched in early 2016, and within two years over 100 projects had opted to launch ICO’s on the Waves platform. The most successful of those is the gaming-focused MobileGo (MGO), which briefly broke onto CoinMarketCap’s front page in November, and now has a market cap of $18 million.
That could soon change, however, as $120 million was just raised via the Waves platform for its Vostok ICO. With Waves holders set to be airdropped a portion of the Vostok tokens, it could be speculated that Vostok was the driving force behind Waves’ 300% ascent throughout December 2018.
Waves can boast of its own decentralized cryptocurrency exchange and a strong position around the top twenty by market cap. It was launched just one year after Ethereum.
TRON (TRX) – THE YOUNG PRETENDER
No other coin has leveraged the Ethereum Killer label as much as Tron. The trouble is, it’s usually being leveraged by Tron’s CEO and founder, Justin Sun. We only have to go back to the start of this month to find the last time Sun wielded the term – this time in reference to Tron’s domination of the dApp rankings compared to Ethereum.
That domination is genuine – Tron dApps account for six out of the ten most utilized in existence. The proliferation of dice games and gambling dApps on Tron may also account for its soaring transaction rate towards the end of 2018.
But statistics can make anything look good, and one should ask what value these gambling dApps have in comparison to the tried and tested blockchain platform that remains Ethereum’s main use-case.
The arrival of blockchain projects and ICO launches on the platform will have to wait until the completion of the Odyssey phase of Tron’s roadmap – scheduled to for completion in mid-2019.
NOTABLE MENTION – STELLAR (XLM)
Stellar (XLM) has been around for one year longer than Ethereum, and despite a recent increase in the number of projects being launched on its platform, Stellar isn’t really compared to Ethereum in that way.
Often regarded as one of the ‘finance coins,’ along with Ripple, Stellar’s priorities can be ascertained from the opening line which greets visitors to its website (emphasis theirs):
“Stellar is an open platform for building financial products that connect people everywhere.”
That’s not to say Stellar can’t fulfill some of Ethereum’s roles, as evidenced when one of its recent progeny, Repo Coin (REPO), hit 1,437% growth within the space of a month in early January.
ETHEREUM KILLERS NOT LIVING UP TO THEIR NAME?
One of last year’s Ethereum Killers looks to be in much worse shape this time around, as the EOS blockchain flirts with being a money-losing machine for its block producers. EOS is still the fifth highest capped cryptocurrency, but the enthusiasm surrounding its potential dislodging of Ethereum is much less than this time last year, at the height of its $4 billion ICO.
Meanwhile, a project which didn’t make last year’s list, but was at one point in contention with the coins listed above, is NEM (XEM). The NEM blockchain was tipped to play host to Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuelan Petro cryptocurrency, although much of the Petro’s existence was clouded in confusion, as was its launch.
By the end of January 2019, the ‘crypto winter’ was such that the NEM Foundation had begun to freeze over – with the team announcing a suspension of all projects and partnerships due to lack of funds.
Ultimately, Ethereum is still alive and well, and with upgrades to scalability and speed on the horizon, it may yet be a long time before it is displaced.