Being an Ethereum killer is a trendy thing in the blockchain world currently. What is an Ethereum killer? It’s a public blockchain that aims to be the primary platform for decentralized apps (DApps). While I’d like to say there’s room for more than one blockchain platform for decentralized apps, the reality is it probably is a zero sum game. Just as there is only one Web, there will likely emerge a big winner for public blockchains that run apps. Right now, Ethereum has the first mover advantage and a large, passionate developer community to boot. But many people think Ethereum is vulnerable on several fronts; such as scalability, governance and security.
We’ve already looked into two challengers for the DApps platform crown: NEO (“the Chinese Ethereum”) and Cardano (“the Japanese Ethereum”). Like those two pretenders to the throne, EOS currently sits within the CoinMarketCap top 10. Unlike the other two, EOS isn’t attached to a particular country. Its nickname so far has been “Ethereum on steroids,” due to the letters in its name and its performance claims. Whether EOS deserves that nickname yet is another question…
Cardano (ADA) is one of several Ethereum challengers currently occupying the top ten of CoinMarketCap. While all blockchain projects are ambitious, Cardano is especially so. It not only wants to displace Ethereum as the primary blockchain developer platform, it wants to do so via a very long, complicated product roadmap that will be rigorously peer reviewed by academics.
The problem is, Cardano will take years to build. Ethereum already has a functioning public and decentralized blockchain with full smart contract programmability. Cardano isn’t decentralized yet (current nodes are controlled centrally) and smart contract functionality is unlikely to be released this year. So how realistic is it that Cardano will eventually usurp Ethereum?
Ever since Ethereum took the blockchain concept that Bitcoin introduced and built an app platform for blockchain, several others have tried to do the same thing. One of the most prominent “Ethereum alternatives” is NEO, an open source Chinese project that hopes to build a “smart economy” using blockchain technology.
Like Ethereum, NEO has built its own blockchain and offers it to third party developers to build on. Here on Blocksplain, we’ve already written about one of those third parties: Narrative, an upcoming ICO that is developing a content network using NEO’s blockchain.
Also like Ethereum, NEO uses smart contracts as a programming layer on top of its distributed ledger. NEO promotes two other key aspects of its platform: Digital Assets and Digital identity. The basic idea is that you can create a digital version of any physical asset and, once you’ve verified your own digital identity, specify actions to be carried out on that asset using smart contracts.
But NEO isn’t simply an Ethereum copycat, as you’ll discover in this post.