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What Cryptocurrencies Are Drawing the Most Attention From Developers?

A cryptocurrency is only as strong as its community. This rule of thumb may not quite tell the whole truth, but it goes a long way to explaining why some blockchains end up enjoying more usage and success than others. And while some people think mostly of investors and holders whenever the word ‘community’ is used in crypto, it’s arguably a coin’s development community that’s the most important.

Indeed, if a cryptocurrency and/or blockchain doesn’t witness regular development and evolution, it will arguably struggle to retain users as newer, more efficient rivals emerge to take its place, or as bugs and technical issues are discovered. Correspondingly, coins with regular updates and upgrades will generally offer more functionality and a more convenient user experience, implying that a project’s level of development activity is usually a good indicator of how usable it is as a platform.

Accordingly, this article collects the cryptocurrencies with the most development activity. It collates GitHub data to show which enjoy the most regular updates, while it also looks at wider ecosystems (wherever available) in order to highlight the building and development that takes place around a given blockchain’s core protocol.

What cryptocurrencies are most attractive to developers and builders?

Cryptocurrencies According to GitHub Commits in the Past Year

GitHub commits are a good general indicator of development activity on any given blockchain platform. For the uninitiated, such commits are a record of changes to a protocol’s source code, meaning that an update has effectively been made (even if such ‘updates’ may be minor or subtle).

With this in mind, here are the top ten cryptocurrencies in terms of GitHub commits in the past year. This data comes from GitHub by way of aggregator platform CryptoMiso.

  1. Internet Computer (ICP): 4,860 commits. The Internet Computer is a decentralized platform that aims to provide the infrastructure for a fully distributed version of the Web. At 4,860 commits in the past year, it’s currently undergoing considerable development, with a steady stream of platforms building on its network.

  2. Mina (MINA): 4,575 commits. Mina is a layer-one blockchain network that aims to provide the ‘lightest’ blockchain in the ecosystem, using proof-of-stake, small block sizes and a zero-knowledge system that allows for more users to run nodes. It raised $92 million in March, giving it the resources to support its high level of development activity.

  3. Solana (SOL): 3,983 commits. Solana is a proof-of-stake layer-one blockchain, with its SOL token currently the tenth-biggest in the market by cap. While it has witnessed considerable growth in the past couple of years, it has been affected by bugs and outages in the past year or so, although these have become less common in recent months.

  4. Chia Network (XCH): 2,888 commits. The Chia Network is a smart-contract platform written in a custom-designed programming language called Chialisp, with mining based on storage space rather than processing power. It has a modest yet steadily growing ecosystem of dapps and platforms.

  5. SushiSwap (SUSHI): 2,576 commits. SushiSwap is a decentralized platform operating on the Ethereum blockchain. It currently has a daily trading volume of $22.1 million, according to CoinGecko.

  6. Bitcoin BEP2 (BTCB): 2,499 commits. A Binance Chain-based version of Bitcoin, pegged 1:1 to the price of BTC and backed 1:1 by BTC reserves held by Binance.

  7. Bitcoin (BTC): 2,491 commits. The original cryptocurrency, with a market cap of around $400 billion.

  8. Groestelcoin (GRS): 2,448 commits. A relatively small peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that focuses on providing an efficient payments network. GRS currently has a market cap of $31.5 million.

  9. Mask Network (MASK): 2,353 commits. Gaining more notoriety since Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, Mask Network enables users to swap cryptocurrencies via various Web3 and social media apps. Has recently gained listings on big exchanges like FTX, and has a market cap of $308.8 million.

  10. Particl (PART): 2,210 commits. Particl describes itself as “a decentralized all-in-one financial platform” with various privacy and data protection features. Its native token PART has a market cap of only $11.3 million.

The first comment to make about this list is that, while some big networks make the cut (e.g. Bitcoin and Solana), most are relatively small and/or new platforms. As such, it could be argued that a list based on GitHub commits is less an indicator of current network size, but relative growth.

Indeed, there’s no way Groestelcoin and Particl can be considered big blockchain platforms, given the value of their respective native tokens. However, the example of Mask Network — which has become more prominent following the Musk takeover of Twitter — shows that commits and development activity may be an indicator of which platforms may become big in the near future.

Of course, things need to be taken with a pinch of salt. As the example of Solana shows, GitHub commits may not simply be an indicator of health, but also an indicator of problems that need to be fixed. Indeed, we excluded one platform — Fei Protocol — from this list because it had actually been dissolved in August, following hacks and other problems.

Other Indicators of Cryptocurrency Development Activity: Ecosystems, Contributor Numbers

To complement a focus on GitHub commits, it’s also worth looking at other metrics, wherever available. One other strong and simple indicator is the number of contributors, something which shows the size of a platform’s development ecosystem and, by extension, the talent it can draw upon.

Looking at contributor numbers would reveal that Bitcoin has possibly the healthiest development ecosystem in the space, with 881 contributors in total. Ethereum is also very close, with a total of 841 contributors (it has also ranked highly on lists of highest numbers of contributors in single months). Other big protocols fall short of such figures, with Cardano, Solana, Dogecoin and Avalanche boasting 98, 398, 272 and 69 contributors, respectively.

Admittedly, contributors to a platform’s core protocol doesn’t provide the whole picture as to a network’s overall developmental health. It’s also worth looking at the apps and platforms building on a network, something which shows that development activity also relates to third parties.

In this respect, it’s interesting to note that Cardano has over 1,100 projects building on its network, whereas the Internet Computer — which ranks 1st in terms of commits — lists only 81 projects on its official website.

Cardano Tweets

Source: Twitter

Again, such figures need to be read carefully, since the Internet Computer’s site is likely under-counting the total number of projects on its network, while many of the projects Cardano counts may end up not bringing a minimum viable product to market.

Still, such data provides a fascinating insight into the state of development in the cryptocurrency market, offering clues as to which platforms may end up being big in the not-too distant future.

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CryptoVantage Author Simon Chandler

About the Author

Simon Chandler

Simon Chandler is a journalist based in London. He writes about technology, markets and politics, and has bylines for Forbes, Digital Trends, CCN, Wired, TechCrunch, the Verge, the Sun, the New Internationalist, and TruthOut, among many others. His Twitter handle is @_simonchandler_

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