Ethereum’s popularity has congested the network like never before, and scalability is top of mind. Historically, and still today, many look beyond Ethereum for more scalable smart contract platforms. However, the most interesting scaling battles are being waged above Ethereum on Layer 2s (L2), not besides Ethereum on Layer 1s.
One specific flavor of Ethereum L2 scaling solutions, Zk-rollups, are live and flourishing today (rollups bundle transfers into single transactions). So much so that many leading community members support simplifying Ethereum’s Eth2 upgrade to focus on a rollup-scaled ecosystem. With this in mind, the new competitive arena is between Ethereum-enhancers, not Ethereum-killers.Matthew Finestone leads business operations at Loopring, an Ethereum Zk-rollup protocol for scalable trading and payments. CoinDesk's invest: ethereum economy event begins Oct. 14.
This is not to say Ethereum killers have all failed. Depending on how you define failure, some are wonderful successes: they raised funds at astronomical valuations, and in some cases, have grown into them.
In all cases, though, they have not succeeded in attracting meaningful economic activity, whether measured by (real) address and transaction counts, applications built, value stored or what – if anything – is going on inside their blocks. The most legible report-card are fees: Are people valuing and paying for blockspace in competing networks? No. In fact, some Ethereum applications earn more fees than the entire competing smart contract platforms.
Ethereum-killers should not be pigeonholed into one group, though. Some are innovating in meaningful ways and are ambitious. They do not wish to live their entire life as an Ethereum-killer, they actually aim to kill it, or be relevant beside it. Others are toothless. They do not want to kill anything, they merely want the Eth-killer moniker, hoping some perceived premium may attach itself.
While I certain...