The Alternatives To Ethereum – “ETH Killers”
I get asked all the time about cryptocurrencies that could be “ETH killers” like they are going to replace Ethereum or offer some solution that is way better. My usual two cents is that if all they are offering is better gas fees then we already have a million chains that offer this, so it’s not enough. Still there are so many chains trying to be this and in my opinion, they will all fail. Let’s talk about why.
TLDR; Coins that offer alternatives to Ethereum tend to either sacrifice decentralization or development for profit or convenience. A coin may have low costs to use them, but offer no unique solutions or is extremely centralized. Most of the “Ethereum Killers” are nothing more than an Ethereum clones trying to catch the next wave of hype and trying to cash in on NFTs. There are some great protocols out there like Hive and Cosmos. However, Cosmos still doesn’t have enough development and Hive is a bit too complex to achieve the mass adoption it seeks in its current forms.
First off, Bitcoin and Ethereum lead the market and if they are going down, so are your coins. The point here is that using price and indication is extremely flawed. Plus, there have been many sh*tcoins, scams, pump and dumps, etc. that had great prices until they didn’t.
Coins like TRX and HIVE are great Ethereum alternatives in that you can create tokens on them, dapps, NFTs, and the majority of the same functions using smart contract except for much cheaper at a much higher volume. Tron failed to take on Ethereum due to Justin Sun’s poor leadership like when they tried to acquire DLive and Steemit as well as now with the creation of USDD, but also because it’s highly centralized. Many of Hive’s shortcomings can actually be blamed more so on the opposite, that it is too decentralized and complex which made it challenging to get more users. Both are still operating and growing today, but if there was going to be an ETH killer, it would have already happened based on dapps, tokens, NFTs, and smart contracts.
All of this is to say that when you then start bringing all these new coins that are aiming to do something similar or take over the industry aren’t doing any innovative and thus will end up in the same boat in my opinion. I’ve been asked to review so many coins that fall into this category like: HIVE, TRX, SOL, ICP, THETA, BSC, SYS, ADA, DOT, ATOM, NEO, AVAX, XTZ, OMI, and EOS. Keep in mind, I haven’t thoroughly reviewed these all in depth.
Out of all of these, I use BSC for utility and because it’s so widely adopted though I dislike how centralized it is. I also use ATOM because while it’s done terribly price wise, I still think their protocol is fairly sound and they do offer a few unique solutions that most of these chains do not like Althea for internet in places where you normally cannot get it or Thorchain for cross chain swaps. The reality is though that Cosmos nor any of these protocols can compete with Ethereum due to mass adoption, developers, and the amount of development on these platforms. I’ve never seen a Solana or Cardano dapp that wasn’t just some copy of an Ethereum dapp. The rare new use cases are uninteresting and hardly working. I always test out social platform on every chain and lately all the new attempts have gone terribly. I personally believe that by the time a chain has proper social dapps working, it has matured enough to provide the necessary solutions we need. One could argue that they just need more time to develop more but then I look to EOS & TRON who have failed time and time again to produce social dapps and offer more. EOS also failed at this with one of the largest budgets and achieving the world record for the most expensive domain acquisition spending 30 million on Voice.com for their launch. So clearly, resources weren’t the issue. The biggest mistake I see most chains making is abandoning their fundamentals to cash in on NFT hype which is exactly why Voice failed so badly.
BSC, SOL, AVAX, EOS, THETA, OMI and TRX are great examples of why a highly centralized protocol cannot compete with Ethereum even while offer many of the some features with low gas fees. Even a coin like MATIC that runs on Polygon that isn’t meant to compete, but to add to Ethereum still operates fairly poorly. I previously held MATIC and the network went through so many issues that I couldn’t even transfer or sell it for a time. Coins like ADA aren’t as centralized as those above, but it didn’t really deliver much. It has very few dapps, very few coins, and doesn’t really have that much usage compared to even the more centralized chains. 90% of the dapps I see are just wallet, swap exchanges, and things of this nature which are useful, but most importantly, they’re not novel or innovative.
Since every new chain tries to offer low gas fees, that’s not really innovative anymore either. It’s also worth noting that even old protocols like Tron still have extremely low fees and with a small stake you can pay nothing. I’m spending upwards of $1-2 sometimes on BSC. AVAX and SOL have also had massive spikes when usage was way up. With significantly more usage, it appears these chains could still have the same issues as Ethereum for cost. While again, you might get extremely low fees on SOL, they are so centralized, they may give emergency powers to entities on their chain to take user funds forcefully as they are currently dealing with now regarding Solend Labs and the whale liquidation of 170 million SOL. So while you can get significantly cheaper gas fees on some of these chains, part of it is because they have a tiny fraction of the volume and usage, and part of it is because they tend to compromise elsewhere.
Theta as I’ve covered in depth many times, screws over their users through their only platform with multiple interfaces Theta.TV. Through this platform you cannot withdraw your money and they siphon your internet bandwidth to run their servers which is all plainly stated in their FAQ. They only just released the ability to withdraw, but you can only move your funds to their NFT platform maxed out at 400 TFUEL a day which is about $21.60 at the time of writing this. They also require full KYC verification in order to enable the ability to withdraw. I tested the transfer feature, but as you go to transfer a prompt pops up to warn you that you can’t withdraw from Thetadrop.com anyway meaning that your money is still stuck and unusable. It’s just another project cashing in on NFT hype while screwing over their users. OMI is another example of cashing in on NFT hype, but I will do a full video breakdown of why OMI and VeVe are so terrible in the near future. They are likely the most centralized NFT marketplace in existence.
Just having the ability to create tokens, NFTs, and smart contracts for less gas fees isn’t a use case, it’s a band-aid for people who are upset with Ethereum gas fees. Not only that, but from what I can see many of these chains have had little development aside from big celebrity one-offs here and there. I’m not doubting any of these blockchains could become something big, but they really don’t offer me anything new and reviewing almost any of them would be like reviewing all of them, hence this overview of them all.
When reviewing the list of coins, most were unpopular and those that were, were simply coins that were already popular on BSC or Ethereum that decided to also make a token on Solana or one of these other chains to reach a wider audience, but not because it’s so innovative.
You can view the token lists on Coinmarket cap for Polkadot, Binance Chain, Solana, and Avalanche to get an idea of what exists. These between 100-200 for most of them with Binance Chain being closer to 2000 tokens - https://coinmarketcap.com/view/bnb-chain/. NEO just has a handful of games, Tezos just has a handful of DeFi applications that are more or less copies from Ethereum, SYS has really stagnated over the last few years, ICP has a handful of dapps though most I had issues testing them and they are not at all user friendly with URLs such as https://az5sd-cqaaa-aaaae-aaarq-cai.ic0.app/. NEO & SYS have also been around for awhile so you would expect them to have achieved significantly more by now if they were ever going to. XTZ is also starting to get older too with not a lot to show for it. Lastly, Polkdadot also has the same issue of not really having many dapps or much to offer while also being part of the World Economic Forum and run by the Web3 Foundation.
I’m very skeptical of all these new chains popping up. They are either centralized, not very innovative, don’t have much development, or only offer lower gas fees as a use case. Ironically, many have gas fees that have gone up significantly while Ethereum’s has come back down. If Eth 2.0 finally ships soon, we’ll see a lot less speculation on these types of chains. I am all for new developing chains to come up and flourish, but many seem to offer very little and I’m not one to invest based on promises, I invest based on products. This is all mostly just my opinion, but always remember that if there were an ETH killer, it would have already been Hive or Tron, so it’s not gas fees or transactions per second that is the issue needing to be solved, though it will certainly help Ethereum. I mean just look at my last post talking about Solana aiming to grant emergency power to Solend Labs to take over a user’s account and control their account to execute a liquidation. This is about as centralized as it gets for a chain that pretends to be decentralized.
It's also worth noting that if Ethereum goes down in price, all of these “Eth killers” follow. You can’t replace Ethereum if you’re dependent on its success to grow. If these alternatives were really set to replace Ethereum, as money left Ethereum, it should have flowed into these alternatives. It didn’t because they aren’t really that much better.
Another great crypto content creator: Hashoshi once said something along the lines of “You have better gas fees than Ethereum, great. That is the baseline starting point to be better. You’ve got the benefit of everything that Ethereum has already achieved, you have to now offer more.” I think this is a great way to summarize the issue with Ethereum competitors. I’ve always held the notion that most cryptocurrencies are cash grabs trying to catch the next wave of people who “missed out on Ethereum” or whatever coin a cryptocurrency is trying to copy. Rarely do you see actual progress and I expect many to fail entirely.
Do you still use Ethereum? What chains do you use for smart contracts? What are your thoughts on the many Ethereum alternatives out there? Will ETH 2.0 ship soon? Let me know what you think about this in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe!
Disclaimer: This is not financial advice and is purely for entertainment purposes. What you see, hear, or read is my personal opinion, and any statements made are based on my views and should not be misconstrued as fact. My crypto portfolio may or may not be simulated
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