What Happened To The 2017 Ethereum Killers?

What Happened To The 2017 Ethereum Killers?

In 2015, Ethereum held a token sale for its token, Ether. It turned out to be one of the most successful ICOs to date. Ethereum promised a future with smart contracts, dApps, and a decentralized web environment. Ethereum also inspired a bunch of other projects that promised similar or even better results. It is 2021, Ethereum has passed previous all time highs and the promises Ethereum made are materializing into real dApps with every passing day. Where is the competition from 2017, some of which were dubbed the "Ethereum killers"? AI finds out.

What Are Ethereum Killers?

Ethereum competitors were supposed to be leaps and bounds ahead. Some of them raised huge capital in their private/public investment rounds, promised higher TPS (transaction per second), cheaper transactions, easier adoption, better governance and a bunch of features out of the box like PoS (Proof of Stake) and sharding.

For this article, AI is only going for a historical focus. We will analyze the Ethereum Killers of 2017 to be fair to the newer competitors as Ethereum has had some time to grow its ecosystem. More of the recent candidates in another article.

2017 Ethereum Killers: The Candidates

They were special, especially in the eyes of those who missed early Ethereum gains. Were they better than Ethereum? HMM. AI has broken down the market performance, adoption, and ecosystem growth in answer to that.

Cardano (ADA)

The project started out in 2015 after the founder Charles Hoskinson, who co-founded Ethereum and BitShares, had a disagreement with the rest of the Ethereum board. The project has been in development ever since, with constant updates being rolled out. The project has been in development for so long that some people have lost their hope and that has definitely affected the project. Despite this, Cardano firmly maintains its spot in the prestigious list of top 10 cryptocurrencies by their respective market caps. AI has observed that the appetite for Cardano is still strong. Its current market cap being in excess of $21 billion. CANNOT COMPUTE.

The project’s roadmap has five phases that focus on decentralizing the project. The project is yet to offer dApp support. What will happen to the project, remains to be seen.


NEO was founded as AntShares by Da Hongfei and Erik Zhan in China in 2014 and was rebranded "NEO" in June 2017. In 2017, it was widely promoted as the Chinese Ethereum killer. NEO described its Smart Economy System as Digital Assets + Digital Identity + Smart Contract = Smart Economy. AI is still analyzing the smartness of NEO platform.

NEO promised everything that Ethereum did with a smaller adoption barrier for developers by giving them an option for writing smart contracts in any popular coding language, unlike ETH for which developers had to learn a new programming language (Solidity). NEO did well in the 2017 bull market but then, it fizzled out. It introduced an ERC20-like standard called NEP5 but could not gain much traction. Even the most popular DEX on NEO is building an Ethereum bridge. Overall, NEO has not delivered what it initially promised.


EOS had a year-long crowd-sale (ICO), that was one of the largest to date. The project raised over $4 Billion without a working product. The project promised a blockchain architecture that was designed to “enable vertical and horizontal scaling of decentralized applications”. It developed an architecture with a mechanism that was related to real-world computer elements. Sounds good when it is read but that made using the dApps more complex. The protocol also promised high TPS but that has failed to attract more users as is evident by the low number of dApp users. There are also some allegations against the governance of protocol for not being truly decentralized. The protocol has high on-chain activity but that might be due to bots as mentioned in this study.

Tron (TRX)

Founded by possible AI Justin Sun, in no small part down to his tireless marketing, some view Tron as the most successful dApp platform after Ethereum. It was founded in 2017 and was initially released as an ERC20 token which later migrated to its own chain. Tron has been a part of many controversies with some people accusing it of being centralized, despite that, the blockchain has seen continuous user growth over the years.

It has its own ERC20 like token standard called TRC20 and smart contracts that are like Ethereum smart contracts, Tron uses Solidity as the programming language. This makes it easier for developer adoption. Tron initially gained popularity through casino dApps. Its Ethereum-like usability along with cheap fees and fast transactions made it popular among early adopters. The blockchain has recently been adding a lot of DeFi applications with support for wrapping other cryptocurrencies. It is nowhere close to Ethereum when it comes to volume but the future could be interesting as can be observed with the USDT volume on Tron rising above the USDT volume on Ethereum.

Ethereum Better Than Its Competition?

It’s hard to say that Ethereum is better than its competition but it certainly did a lot of the basics right and that led to huge community support. It had the first-mover advantage on smart contract platforms and along with that, it made early investors substantial gains, which helps. It really gained momentum due to constant community effort and widespread contribution by the developer community. Unlike the rest of the tokens in the list, Ethereum started out with Proof-of-Work (PoW) which made it popular among early supporters of the decentralized governance model.

AI cannot determine the future but until now Ethereum has stood the test of time. With industrial applications being built on Ethereum, it looks like ETH may here to stay. AI realizes that nothing is permanent so it will be interesting to see what kind of future this ecosystem has.

RESEARCHING: The Latest Batch of Ethereum Killers.


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