They look for the most valuable projects through 27,000 codebases: Bitcoin and Ethereum win

Too long to read version (TLDR):

  • According to a new report from Electric Capital, the open source cryptocurrency project has lost some developers, but fortunately there are still strong technical staff in the industry. Since the enthusiasm in late 2017, the overall activity has remained relatively stable.
  • Developers with low market capitalization of cryptocurrency have lost the most, and more and more developers are turning to promising areas such as DeFi and infrastructure projects.
  • This year, there are about 2,450 developers who have more than 10 days a month to produce the code. The number of these highly invested developers has increased by 13%.
  • Even with the decline in the market value of cryptocurrencies, the year-on-year growth rate of developers has never dropped to a negative number (ie, still growing).


Once the market value of the cryptocurrency falls, the least loyal contributors will leave first.

This is the main conclusion of the second Developer Report released by Electric Capital on Monday. The report analyzes the activities in all cryptocurrency open source code repositories.

While many people feel that code contributors to agreements and projects are losing, most developers (77%) who left the cryptocurrency world during the market correction in the first half of 2019 are from the least optimistic projects and are the least loyal. Contributors.

At the same time, the number of code contributions has not decreased.

Maria Shen, director of data science at Electric Capital, said:

"The mystery that we really want to solve is why the number of developers has decreased, but the amount of code submitted during the cryptocurrency winter is still stable."

In fact, Electric found that most of the lost developers were those with the least amount of work. At the same time, even if the number of developers is reduced, developers who regularly contribute code will still maintain this habit.


Electric Capital's research covers more than 27,000 code bases, while eliminating duplicate entries and low-level contributions, which often increase the actual developer activity. Researchers have also eliminated developers who have contributed to multiple projects at the same time, but in general, this is rare.

Electric Capital divides developers into three groups:

  1. Single (only one day per month to submit the code)
  2. Part-time (2-9 days a month to submit the code)
  3. Full time (more than 10 days per month to submit the code)

The top 100 projects lost only 4% of developers, while others lost 19%. In general, the fewer code developers submit, the more likely they are to stop submitting code.

Still, this year, the code submitted to the code base every month has never been lower than the 2017 cryptocurrency boom. This is largely due to a slight increase in the number of full-time developers, with 2,455 as of June this year.

Linda Xie of Scalar Capital said:

“This is a very meaningful classification, because the decline in the total number of developers does not tell the whole story.”

Electric co-founder Avichal Garg said:

"The decline in (the total number of developers), 50% of which is a single contributor. For me, this is a key message."

More importantly, the team pointed out that the market downturn in the mainstream blockchain in the past year will only slow down the entry of part-time and full-time developers. New developers will choose the top 100 currencies, but the growth rate will slow down as the currency prices fall.

This means that if the cryptocurrency market picks up, Garg said, "There should be more influx of developers in the next two or three years."

It's also important to note that there are many early projects that have not yet released their code into the open source code base, so there may be omissions. Still, Electric believes its data is "directional" information.

In addition, it's worth noting that this analysis includes all the projects that contribute to a particular blockchain, not just the code that is submitted directly to the underlying protocol (such as applications and infrastructure, which are not core code).

Key data

This report has 100 pages and contains a large number of charts that can extract a lot of information.

Here are some key information:

  • Ethereum ranked first: After analysis of developers, 18% of developers are working for Ethereum, and Ethereum still has the largest contributor base (the second is Bitcoin).
  • The most promising newcomers: The three largest developer communities behind Bitcoin are EOS, Cardano and Monroe.
  • Money is not omnipotent: The daily trading volume of Litecoin and Dogecoin exceeds $100 million, but on average less than six developers contribute each month. At the same time, the average transaction volume of stellar, wavefield, Maker, BAT, Aeternity, Waves, Tezos, and Status is less than $100 million, but more than 40 developers per month per project.
  • Developer churn trend: Most developers have left blockchains with market capitalizations after 100. They are more inclined to choose infrastructure construction and DeFi areas.
  • The long tail theory still exists: nevertheless, in the past six months, there are still 583 ecosystems with at least two developers operating; there are 748 ecosystems with at least one developer still in the insistence.
  • Attractive code: The smart contract blockchain is losing temporary contributors, but it has ushered in full-time contributors.
  • Winners and losers: In projects with an average of 40 developers, Maker gets the most code and EOS loses the most.
  • How to Attract Developers and Affect Cryptographic Currency: Starting a well-designed test network is a great way to market this technology to developers who want to contribute to the blockchain. Cosmos's "Game of Stakes" is one of the best examples.

Why is this information so important?

Shen said:

“Developers who really contribute to the ecosystem have continued. These ecosystems are very powerful.”

In general, Garg believes that the conclusions of this report are positive for the entire ecosystem. He said that such research helps them find more projects that are ignored by the investment community.

In addition, he said, the study supports some common views with real data. For example, DeFi has attracted a lot of interest, and the low-quality projects brought about by the ICO boom are stagnating or dying.

“These data are valuable for quantifying the intuition of all of us.”

Through data analysis, Garg also pointed out some surprising parts.

For example, although most people's interest in cryptocurrencies is waning, Grin's developer community is still sticking to it. In addition, EOS often attracts loyal developers, although the industry is generally skeptical.

Garg said that looking at the history of the technology industry, engineers are the leading indicators of the company's success and software advantages. That's why Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft are all fiercely competing to attract and retain talent. He believes that the same reason will also be proved in the field of cryptocurrency.

“The place where developers gather is the value.”