It is no secret that cryptocurrency is rapidly becoming mainstream, as millions across the globe enter the crypto space. Although media attention tends to focus on fiat value and the ever-growing market caps, of equal importance is the fact that thousands of institutions are implementing distributed ledger technology into their logistics, infrastructure, and management systems. Although Bitcoin may be the flagship cryptocurrency, it is the platforms that can run decentralized applications (dApps) that are becoming the standard bearers of the blockchain revolution. This is the first of a three part series that examines these unique blockchain platforms.
Ethereum is, by far, the dominant dApp platform. Its hegemony in this space is without question, as hundreds of institutions across the globe have already begun the process of adopting its technology. The Ethereum Enterprise Alliance, which promotes the platform’s development and use, includes a number of large banks as well as major corporations such as Samsung, Pfizer, and BP. Similarly, hundreds of ERC20 tokens are presently active, and many more will likely be introduced this year. Some of the more popular include Omisego, Augur, Golem, and Bancor.
Ethereum, however, is not without its challenges. A number of competing platforms claim to be faster, easier to use, and more versatile. NEO, for example, has seen tremendous growth over the last 6 months, and is now widely considered to be Ethereum’s top competitor. There are some key distinctions between the two that many experts claim give NEO an advantage. One is it the fact that NEO is much faster. It is capable of processing ten thousand transactions per second compared to Ethereum’s thirty. NEO applications can also be programmed in multiple languages, whereas Ethereum’s must be programmed in a proprietary language known as Solidity.
NEM is another major dApps platform that is a clear, viable alternative to Ethereum. Experts consider NEM to be easier to program and more secure. NEM also has a unique mining system called “proof of importance” that incentivizes small-scale users to maintain the network.
These three represent the largest dApp platforms by usage and adoption. Although NEO and NEM both boast arguably better technology than Ethereum, it is worth noting that Ethereum’s upcoming upgrades promise to rectify its shortcomings and make it as advanced, if not more so, than any available platform. Thus, the true competition between the three systems is not based on their tech or their potential as blockchain systems. Rather, their ability to go mainstream rests with their adoption rates, which will involve aggressive work by their teams.
There is no doubt that all three platforms have teams that understand the importance of marketing and promotion. Ethereum’s is certainly not taking their top position for granted. In addition to the work done by the Enterprise Alliance, the non-profit Ethereum Foundation sponsors a wide-range of projects, such as the Ethereum Developers Conference. There are also a number of governments working with Ethereum, such as Estonia, which is developing its own Ethereum-based applications.
NEO’s team is also working aggressively toward greater adoption. The developers community, known as City of Zion, hosts a wide range of products, and the first NEO-based token, Red Pulse, has recently been listed on Binance. More are certain to follow. As a Chinese-based platform, NEO is known to be building partnerships with a wide range of Chinese institutions, but also has partnered with international companies, notably Microsoft.
For its part, NEM also has a foundation that actively promotes its implementation. It has recently opened a facility in Malaysia to serve as an incubator and workspace. NEM’s greatest success has been in Japan, where it is being tested by a number of major banks for internal usage. The platform has also formed strategic alliances with other financial institutions such as Gibraltar’s Uqid, which is developing a NEM-based debit card.
All three of these major platforms are excellent examples of blockchain’s revolutionary potential. There is little doubt that each will see significant growth over the next several months, and that developers will continue to create applications that make the most of their capabilities. As the largest players among the dApp systems, their future in the space seems secure. However, newer platforms have recently been introduced that are quickly gaining popularity due to newer, more advanced features. It is these that we will examine in Part 2.
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