No More Hustleporn: Electric Capital's Annual Web3 Developer Report

Tweet by Avichal - Electric⚡️Capital ┻┳ (¤,¤) 🍣🦙 🐇🕳

Entrepreneur; Founder @ElectricCapital; Investor: @anchorage@bitwise@boomaero@cruise@deel@dydx@nearprotocol@newfronthq@notionhq@opensea@pulley

1/ Time for @ElectricCapital's Annual Developer Report:…

We analyzed 150m+ repos & xM code commits to produce these 100+ charts.

This was a community effort: 150 people contributed via email and Github! Thank you everyone who helped.

Let's dig in👇

Electric Capital Developer Report (2021)

2/ Our methodology:
We focus on open source code, so we undercount total developers in web3.

We focus on unique code and do not count purely copy/paste code.

These are all imperfect measures but directionally useful to understand web3 growth. Feedback is appreciated!

3/ tl;dr - Web3 is at All-Time Highs:
* 18k+ monthly devs
* 2.5k monthly devs in DeFi
* 3k NEW devs touch web3 code each month
* Several emerging ecosystems are growing faster than @Ethereum at the same stage in its history
* 20-25% of new devs each month start on @Ethereum

4/ Starting at the top, we have 18,400+ developers, +75% from the start of 2021.

This is big growth after almost two years of trending sideways.

Remember, this is only open source devs. There are many developers writing closed source or working at companies not counted here.

5/ Unsurprisingly, developer growth goes up with price.

More surprising: monthly active developers peak AFTER peak prices. Last time devs peaked one year after price!

Most surprising: overall devs stay flat when prices collapse. Incoming devs balance churn in bear markets.

6/ Over 3,000 *new* developers try Web3 every month - an all-time high. While many of these developers are hobbyists and will leave, some make it a career.

As @cdixon says, "What the smartest people do on the weekend is what everyone else will do during the week in ten years"

7/ The rapid growth in new developers means that 60% of the developers in web3 started in 2021!

Looking at developers checking in code >10 days/month, 45% of full time devs joined in 2021.

Any way you slice it, almost half of the devs in web3 are fairly new.

8/ How many of these devs might stick around?

If the past is any guide, 10% of ALL devs will retain through the end of year 2.

30% of FULL TIME devs will retain for a full 4-year tour of duty.

9/ It appears there is a correlation between when a dev entered the market and retention.

Devs who experience a bull run tend to survive the bear. Those who joined near the top of a bull market are more likely to leave.

10/ Let's zoom in to the top 200 by marketcap based on @coinmarketcap and @coingecko.

Ecosystem = everything tied to a base layer, e.g. @Maker, @yfi, @sushi, @uniswap, etc. + @truffle, @metamask, and all tooling + all clients of Ethereum.

11/ The Top 200 ecosystem grew over 66% in the past year and projects outside the Top 200 grew even faster, at +86%.

These are both faster than the @Ethereum and #Bitcoin ecosystem growth - a reflection of where devs see the most personal or financial upside?

12/ Historically the top 200 ecosystems have not been able to maintain this growth once a bear market hits. While #Bitcoin and @Ethereum have shown consistent growth in their ecosystems for several years.

How are Bitcoin and Ethereum doing?

13/ #Bitcoin grew +8% in full time devs. 100 new developers contribute to the #Bitcoin ecosystem every month!

@Ethereum grew +42% in total devs, +24% in full time devs. ~700 new devs contribute to the Ethereum ecosystem every month.

14/ @ethereum continues to draw developers: 20-25% of new devs entering Web3 go to the @ethereum ecosystem. For the developers who become Full-Time, they seem to stay in the ecosystem.

15/ Looking beyond #Bitcoin and @Ethereum, how have ecosystems grown?

We can compare Dec 2020 (x-axis) vs. Dec 2021 (y-axis). The steeper the slope of the line connecting (0,0) to the ecosystem dot, the faster the growth rate.

16/ @Ethereum continues to have the largest ecosystem of tools, apps, and protocols. Ethereum is 2.8x larger than the 2nd largest ecosystem.

17/ @Ethereum, @Polkadot, @Cosmos, @Solana, and #Bitcoin are the 5 largest ecosystems.

Given what BTC is trying to do though, perhaps this doesn't matter? It's reasonable to expect smart contracting platforms to have bigger ecosystems.

18/ Zooming in beyond @Ethereum and @Polkadot growth in 2021:

@Solana grew 4.9x+ in 2021.@NEARProtocol with 4x+ growth has grown into 6th largest ecosystem in 2021.

As mentioned, growth in ecosystems may be undercounted as we only consider open source repos.

19/ @0xPolygon more than 2x’d monthly Devs while @Cardano was +90%, @BinanceChain +80%, @cosmos +70%, #Bitcoin +10%. As we will see later, @cosmos and @Cardano's growth is unique in that it's ramping up later in life than new protocols.

20/ Zooming to ecosystems with 50-300 devs, we see:

4x'ers: Terra, ICP (@dfinity), @FantomFDN, and @harmonyprotocol
3x'ers: @avalancheavax, @Algorand

21/ Ecosystems with 50+ devs growing FULL TIME devs most quickly:
@terra_money +312.50%
@Solana +307.14%
@NEARFoundation +291.43%
@FantomFDN +271.43%
@Avalancheavax +179.17%
@0xPolygon +175.00%
@kusamanetwork +161.90%
@Dfinity +146.15%
@MoonriverNW +125.00%
@Algorand +116.67%

22/ All of these projects launched at different times. Is there some apples-to-apples way to understand their traction and growth?

We can normalize by the date of the first commit in that ecosystem.

23/ @Ethereum, @Polkadot, @cosmos_hq, @Solana, #Bitcoin have taken different paths to growing their ecosystems.

New ecosystems are able to bootstrap off of earlier ones + the developer ecosystem is much larger than 5-10 years ago so the absolute numbers are larger more quickly.

24/ We also consider the top 10 layer 1s based on network value baselined to days from 1st (publicly available) code commit

@Polkadot, @Solana, @BinanceChain, @NearFoundation, @Avalancheavax, @terra_money are growing faster than @Ethereum when indexed to the date from 1st commit

25/ While the Web3 ecosystem continues to grow and is larger than ever, building real community takes time.

Most communities take 2 years to get to more than 100 developers.

26/ One way teams are accelerating growth is through Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatibility.

These EVM-compatible layer 1's are growing faster than @Ethereum (+120% vs. +42% for Ethereum)

27/ The strategy of using EVM compatability to bootstrap an ecosystem can work. @avalancheavax and @CeloOrg seem to been able to start with EVM compatability and have bootstraped their own ecosystem of devs that are primarily focused on their own chain.

28/ DeFi has grown +76%, in line with overall web3 growth.

500 new developers commit code to a DeFi project each month

29/ New DeFi ecosystems can bootstrap faster than ever

@OlympusDAO went from 0 to 60 developers in its ecosystem

@traderjoe_xyz and @osmosiszone went from 0 to 30 devs

@ComposableFin went from 0 to 23 devs

30/ Many DeFi projects showed 100%+ growth: @mangomarkets, @BalancerLabs, @uniswap, @synthetix_io, @AcalaNetwork, @InjectiveLabs, @beefyfinance, and @SetProtocol

Many smaller protocols 3x-ed such as @anoma, @RariCapital, @JetProtocol, @Instadapp, @CurveFinance, @pangolindex

31/ What about NFTs, DAOs, and Gaming?

We decided not to deep dive because the data was noisy. Developers are not the best lens to look at these ecosystems -- likely community is.

The @ElectricCapital eng team is working on new ways to measure community to share later in 2022

32/ Developer growth in Web3 these last few years has been very strong.

At the same time, considering how many software engineers existing in the world, we are very early and have a LONG way to go.

Web3 is just getting started.


33/ This is a community effort. Thank you to the 100+ people who helped find repos, map ecosystems, scrub data, and give feedback:
@aliaksandrh @vgrichina @ilblackdragon @kcpike @agraebe @diwakergupta @exk200 @raphaelsignal @lindalu1111 @dawnsongtweets @ryanthegentry @starkness

33/ Thank yous continued: @moneyball @jpop_32 @leartulaj @josephbender @mcuevasm @lijiang2087 @givp @khamzah22 @sourcex44 @_patrickogrady @knimkar @stablekwon @cryptomhchn @rohamg @muttonia @jitenoswal @philipliujr @hosseeb

34/ Want to include your repo or project in the next report?…"

35/ Want more awesome data driven updates? Follow @ElectricCapital, @jubos, @puntium, @eherrerosj, and @mariashen

And we are hiring!

Electric Capital is a small group of engineers and entrepreneurs keen on making real contributions in Web3:

Sorry, typo: 500k repos and 150M code commits!