This article will outline what we can expect to see from the leading smart contract platforms in 2020.
Ethereum’s planned upgrades
The Ethereum Foundation continues to upgrade the Ethereum blockchain to Ethereum 2.0.
In 2019, Ethereum implemented two major updates, Constantinople and Istanbul. The Istanbul network enhancement was added to the Ethereum blockchain in December 2019. Following these significant upgrades, community members were surprised when two days before Xmas, the Ethereum Foundation announced another update for January 1, 2020.
Developers said that the Muir Glacier Upgrade is designed to delay the difficulty bomb embedded in the network’s software. Separate from the difficulty algorithm, the difficulty bomb is designed to incrementally alter the mining difficulty within specified times until its effect is large enough to be felt by miners. The Muir Glacier upgrade will delay the difficulty bomb, which can negatively affect the implementation of future upgrades on the path to Ethereum 2.0.
The Ethereum Foundation responded to criticism of the sudden announcement of the Muir Glacier hard fork by stating: “An important feature of the semi-stateless approach is that these changes don’t necessarily imply big, hard-forking changes. Through small, testable, and incremental improvements, it’s possible to build out the stateless component of Ethereum into a complementary sub-protocol, or as a series of un-controversial EIPs instead of a large ‘leap-of-faith’ upgrade.”
Thus, in 2020, we are likely to see a number of upgrades as Ethereum continues to focus on achieving higher throughput, latency, and speed while prioritizing decentralization. Additionally, we are likely to see Ethereum solidify its leadership in the DeFi market, a position that emerged in 2019. Towards the end of 2019, it revealed that more than two percent of all ETH in circulation are tied up in applications related to DeFi, such as MakerDAO, Synthetix, and IDEX.
2019 was a challenging year for Block.One’s EOS. Block.One finalized the world’s longest ICO in June 2018, and was seen by many as an ‘Ethereum Killer’. However, 2019 came with significant challenges for EOS, ranging from legal issues to polarizing internal disputes.
In 2019, Block.One reached a settlement with the SEC regarding accusations of holding an unregistered security sale. Additionally, EOS’s governance system was heavily criticized, with reports emerging that its Delegated Proof of Stake (DPOS) was ineffective and instead favored fraud and democratic inequality. For instance, in 2019, a block producer called games.eos, failed to apply a blacklist correctly, facilitating the withdrawal of 2.09 million EOS, or about US$7.25 million.
In 2020 centralization issues are likely to continue. For now, a majority of the blockchain’s block producers are stationed in Asia with eight of the top 21 coming from China.
EOS has plans to launch a beta version of its much anticipated decentralized social media platform, The Voice, on Valentine’s Day. This will improve the project’s standing if the launch is successful, however, taking on the existing social platforms is a tall order.
Tezos chases developers
2019 was a successful year for Tezos with regard to price activity and adoption. A number of leading digital asset platforms adopted Tezos’ native cryptocurrency as a staking currency. Coinbase, Ledger, and Kraken all support XTZ staking.
Following the announcements, the trading platforms witnessed an increase in new signups for their platforms. XTZ holders who stake their tokens are set to receive around seven percent ROI per annum (minus any fees the staking service provider may charge).
In 2020, Tezos is likely to turn its sights on increasing developer activity. The platform has some of the lowest developer numbers in comparison to other smart contract ecosystems. This will likely be a key focus for the blockchain as more Dapps equals more real-life usage, which in turn, affects the price of its token and the future success of the platform.
Binance Chain continues to grow
In February 2019, Binance announced plans for Binance Chain, a blockchain-based platform through which it would be possible to issue, use, and exchange digital assets in a decentralized manner. Through Binance Chain, the platform also launched Binance DEX, a decentralized exchange (DEX).
Binance Chain will likely see more crypto assets migrate to or launch on its platform, simultaneously porting its ERC-20 token BNB to its own platform. A number of projects followed suit, moving from Ethereum to Binance. Examples include Mithril and Harmony One.
In 2020, we are likely to see this trend continue given Binance’s focus on user-friendliness, both for developers and the general public.
Singapore based-Tron had a growth-filled 2019 with a number of acquisitions and collaborations that have strengthened its position in the market. Tron announced a partnership with Swarm, which allows users to successfully issue STOs on the platform. Additionally, it made strides in the blockchain gaming sector, inking key partnerships with notable names such as MixMarvel and Loom.
A number of projects also migrated to the Tron blockchain. Examples include the blockchain-based streaming platform DLive, which started its migration at the end of 2019.
Tron CEO and head cheerleader, Justin Sun, held a live stream on 1st of January 2020 where he answered key questions regarding the sale of TRX tokens owned by the developers. He said that developers would not offload these tokens and negatively affect the price activity of the cryptocurrency for 2020.
The Ethereum Foundation continues to upgrade the Ethereum […]