Developers are still flocking to crypto amid its brutal winter

Despite Crypto Markets Falling in 2022, Electric Capital’s annual developer report found that full-time crypto developers hit an all-time high last year, with 23,000 individual developers per month contributing open source code.

The report measured the number of one-time, part-time, and full-time developers contributing 250 million code commits to open-source code repositories, including GitHub and Bitbucket.

“Especially in the bear market, it’s really important to track the health of full-time developers,” says Maria Shen, partner at Electric Capital and one of the authors of the annual developer report.

Monthly active developers were up 5% year over year, despite a 70% drop in prices, according to the report. Now in its fourth edition, Electric Capital has compared 2022 numbers to those of the last crypto winter cycle, starting in January 2018. Since then, monthly active developers have increased by 297% across multiple blockchain ecosystems.

The strongest developer growth has been seen outside of Bitcoin
and Ethereum
, home to the two largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. While both still saw a significant increase from January 2018 levels – ecosystem developers tripled and quintupled respectively – Electric Capital found that 72% of monthly active developers work outside of the two dominant chains.

and polygon
saw the second-largest increase, with their developers growing 40% year-over-year, while new ecosystems like Sui, Aptos
both created by ex-Meta employees, grew 50% year over year.

Significant growth in these ecosystems comes from full-time developers, who are measured in the report as those who contribute 10 or more engagements per month. That focus, Shen says, comes down to the fact that they contribute the vast majority of the code.

“They keep the lights on, they build the basic protocol, and they stay,” Shen explains.

New developers, on the other hand, tend to follow price cycles, Shen adds, saying one-time or part-time developers add code to repositories as a hobby or as part of hackathons. Indeed, 95% of developer churn came from these developers, with most of the code being provided by full-time developers.

Despite an increase in the number of developers, the main problem plaguing crypto and blockchain companies is its different coding languages ​​and an overall shortage of skilled software engineers. Coding smart contracts requires knowledge of specialized coding languages ​​like Solidity or Rust which can easily alienate experienced engineers working in traditional Web 2 companies.

“We have to consider quality”, John Wu, president of Ava Labs, the New York creator of the Avalanche
block chain told Forbes in August. “What developers are doing today may not be what we need them to be doing six months from now.”

But lower prices and a slowdown in the crypto hype might be just what developers needed. “Developers stopped having to brute force themselves from [crypto winters] position themselves for the next market cycle,” says Gokal.

Solana, the fastest growing ecosystem this year, grew by 83%. Gokal points to Solana’s use of Rust as a primary coding language as one of the potential reasons for its growth. Despite an 83% drop in prices year-on-year, Gokal shares that there has been no difficulty finding experienced developers for Solana-based apps.

“Quality ends up being much more focused with Solana because it attracts developers who are more familiar with low-level programming languages, like C and C++,” he says, adding that in his experience it usually takes two proficient developers. these languages. weeks to learn Rust.

Full-time developers are also increasingly working across multiple channels, according to the report. While most developer accounts are still only deploying contracts on a single chain, the average number of chains has increased to almost 1.4 in 2022, especially in chains compatible with Ethereum virtual machines (EVMs).

“A lot of ecosystems have more of these cross-chain developers than native developers,” Shen says. Avalanche, for example, lost 28% of core developers, while system-based multi-channel developers increased by 8%.

The report also touched on some of the most talked about events of the year, including the Ethereum merger and the collapse of Terra.

Ethereum’s monthly developers have increased fivefold since the last crypto winter cycle to 5,819, becoming the ecosystem with the highest number of developers and accounting for 16% of all new crypto developers. Full-time developers, which were up 9% from December 2021, were largely in charge of the merger, which moved Ethereum from a proof-of-work mechanism to a proof-of-stake chain.

“These types of foundational events mean that slow, steady developers grow a bit slower because they put a lot of work into them,” Shen explains.

The next Ethereum update, called the Shanghai Update, is expected to go live in March this year, enabling Ethereum withdrawals staked on the chain’s Beacon update.

As for Terra, which exceeded last year’s listAs the fastest growing ecosystem in terms of full-time developers, the report found that 56% of developers who worked in Terra stopped contributing to open source code after its collapse.

The ecosystem grew by 313% from December 2020 to December 2021, which represents a total of 33 full-time developers, but on May 7, terraUSD detached from the dollar fell to 35 cents and the companion token LUNA
fell to 80 cents on May 12. What followed was not just the collapse of the ecosystem, but a massive contagion in the crypto industry that precipitated a $1 trillion decline in the overall value of the cryptocurrency market. cryptography.

Shen defended the company’s methodology, saying “it wasn’t a bug in the code” that led to the collapse. “It’s because the financial mechanism of how the stablecoin works was broken, so it was exploited,” she added.

Following the crash, 42% migrated to other ecosystems, while 9% stayed to work on Luna 2.0 The largest share (13%) went to Cosmos
the self-proclaimed “Internet of Blockchains”.


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