Placeholder partner If Ethereum is Android, then Solana is iOS.

If Ethereum is Android, Solana is iOS.

Original Author: Joel Monegro, Partner at Placeholder

Translation: Luffy, Foresight News

Ethereum, compared to Solana, is like Android compared to iOS.

Android values modularity: it can run on various types of devices produced by hundreds of manufacturers worldwide; devices produced by Google only account for 1-2% of them. This makes Android the most popular mobile operating system in the world, occupying approximately 60-75% of the market share. The flexibility of Android is a blessing for hardware companies producing smartphones, televisions, and other products, as they can bring new products to the market without investing billions of dollars to build an operating system. However, this diversity also makes it more difficult for developers to create applications that seamlessly run on devices with different specifications, screen sizes, and various versions of Android.

In contrast, all iOS devices are produced by Apple, so it can provide users and developers with a more integrated and consistent experience. Without the need to optimize across different devices, the time saved can be used to provide better applications that users are willing to pay extra for, which is why it is not uncommon for companies to release their applications on iOS first. Although Apple only occupies about a third of the market share, it performs better in terms of capturing ecosystem value, accounting for about 60% of all mobile spending (including all hardware revenue).

This is not an original analogy, but it is a useful one. Ethereum is similar to Android in that it is rapidly becoming a platform for third-party networks, rather than the destination for most end users and developers. The Ethereum mainnet is being used to ensure security and leverage the EVM as an operating system for rapidly growing L2 network ecosystems, which handle about 5-6 times more transaction volume than the Ethereum mainnet, and this number is expected to quickly expand to 100 times or more. These third-party networks are like different Android OEMs: many offer directly competitive services with little differentiation, while others focus on specific markets or use cases. As more and more tools make launching L2 easier, we can foresee Ethereum’s “scope of influence” expanding, covering hundreds of networks and processing transactions far exceeding the Ethereum mainnet.

The EVM is expected to continue to be the most popular blockchain operating system, running on thousands of different networks and Rollups across markets, fields, and use cases. Even if the mainnet only accounts for a fraction of its total value, Ethereum will benefit greatly from this expanding ecosystem. However, this diversity brings many challenges similar to Google Android. For example, different EVM networks can run slightly different versions of the operating system, so Ethereum smart contracts cannot guarantee seamless operation on all these networks by default, and developers must spend extra time adjusting, testing, and maintaining for different environments. For ordinary users, the user experience of Ethereum may also become fragmented: an application on one network may not be usable on another network, and wallets may not support all networks simultaneously. For ordinary users, switching between them may cause confusion or even danger. Over time, these user experience issues will gradually improve, just as Android becomes smoother and more secure as it develops. Nevertheless, developers still face the burden of spending more time resolving these issues.

On the other hand, Solana, like iOS, tightly integrates components in the name of throughput and performance. Additionally, Solana adopts different consensus mechanisms and design principles. Ultimately, it is faster and cheaper than Ethereum and many other EVM networks as a single, unified network. Developers can focus on providing better applications for a single high-performance platform without worrying about transaction speed, gas cost optimization, cross-chain deployment, and users don’t have to worry too much about slow transactions, switching between networks, or inconsistent wallet support.

Of course, this is a surface-level analogy, and many details are not covered. However, it is important to understand that this is a game of choices, not winners and losers. It doesn’t matter who is absolutely and objectively “better”; what matters is that this debate will never end. Some people value the flexibility of modular design principles, while others value the speed and simplicity of more integrated platforms. What’s important is that options exist, and you can choose the one that suits you best. The success of the industry requires competitive platforms with different trade-offs to maximize developers’ and users’ choices. Today, Ethereum and Solana embody this spirit and become the two most promising smart contract networks in the market.

Understanding where we are in the financial and technological cycle is crucial for investors. Bear markets are the best time to investigate the market and become new winners during major consolidations. Maximalism will make you only support Ethereum, Bitcoin, or any network they like, while giving up everything else, but this is more emotional than logical. In fact, there was a time when Bitcoin was the only legitimate digital asset; there was also a time when, despite the emergence of alternatives, Ethereum (like IBM in its heyday) was the only real game.

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