Becoming Like Ethereum - The Daily Gwei #505
Same same, but different.
There have been a lot of layer 1 blockchains come onto the scene over the years with some being very hyped up and some not getting any attention at all. Some of the most popular ones have been the “EVM compatible” chains (BSC, Avalanche C-Chain, Fantom etc) because they simply fork Ethereum’s codebase (usually Geth) and then it becomes very easy for Ethereum-native apps to copy themselves onto the new chain (the new chain is also instantly compatible with popular wallets like MetaMask).
The funny thing about these copycats is that they inherit all of Ethereum’s issues and the only way they get around them is by centralizing. These chains do this by opting to increase the gas limit (Ethereum’s block size), decreasing block times, increasing validator requirements which reduces the number of people who can validate the chain and they may also opt to prune old state/history aggressively - sometimes they even do all of this. Clearly this is not innovative and it’s also not sustainable - but it is profitable!
Now, the layer 1’s that don’t just copy/paste Ethereum’s codebase are worthy of some praise, but I think that almost all of them will just end up looking like Ethereum eventually anyway. Let’s take Solana as an example here - they have not had a proper congestion control mechanism in place since genesis and so have suffered the consequences of that (instability of the chain and the chain sometimes falling over completely). To rectify this, it has been proposed that Solana adds a fee market and they’re also slowly coming around to rollups. Other non-EVM chains such as Tezos have opted to go down the rollup-centric roadmap as well (though with enshrined rollups instead of the rollups we’re used to on Ethereum) while Avalanche is looking into rollups too.
I don’t think any of the above is a “negative” thing - it’s only logical that eventually we’d find the optimal way to build a blockchain and most chains would choose to coalesce around this rather than be completely obsoleted. But it does beg the question - what’s the point of all of these layer 1 blockchains if they all just end up in the same spot? Well personally I think most of these chains are just value extracting entites - created solely with the intent to enrich their founders - so if you take this view then it’s easy to see why so many of these things exist.
All of this is to say nothing of the social layer of these networks which is arguably more important than the technical layer and is what actually gives layer 1 chains their longetivity. Though there really isn’t “one size fits all” when it comes to social layers - cultures can vary wildly in crypto just like real life - and this is a major reason why many layer 1 chains will completely fail even if their technology is “good”.
Have a great day everyone,
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All information presented above is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice.