Many developers of decentralized applications are choosing Ethereum as their blockchain of choice. But what about the other booming cryptocurrencies as well? Here we will compare Ethereum vs. Cardano vs. Polkadot vs. Solana, look at some startups, and try to receive what cryptocurrency is more successful.
By 2027, the global blockchain market will be worth $69.04B. Today blockchain is legitimized in many industries. Over 70 million blockchain wallets have been registered. Technology can revolutionize government, finance, insurance, and personal identity security, among hundreds of other fields. No less than IBM has invested more than $200 million in research into the technology. In addition, more than 90% of European and US banks are researching the technology. We've rounded up four successful blockchains popular among soaring startups powered by Ethereum, Cardano, Polkadot, and Solana.
Ethereum vs Cardano vs Polkadot vs Solana
Blockchain, though new, has already seen three generations. However, that does not mean that each succeeding generation has been less successful than the previous one. The three blockchain generations are:
- First-generation – Bitcoin
- Second generation – Ethereum
- Third generation – Cardano, Polkadot, Solana
The crypto community has generally called cryptocurrencies with a native third-generation blockchain “Ethereum Killers.” These cryptocurrencies are decentralized, secure, enabling smart contracts, offering a digital application platform (dApp), scalability for fast, low-cost transactions, and integrating with other blockchains.
Solana, Cardano, and Polkadot are the top ten cryptocurrencies in market capitalization. And all three of them are seen as challengers or “Ethereum Killers.”
Finding the best blockchain can be difficult, considering they all have differences. Ethereum, Solana, Cardano, and Polkadot are the most well-known blockchains, so let’s differ them from one another.
Ethereum (since 2015)
Market Cap: $226.922 billion
Ethereum was launched in 2015 by computer programmer Vitalik Buterin. More than 250 members of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, including Intel, JPMorgan, and Microsoft, are part of the Ethereum developer community. Ether has increased in price from $0.311 at its 2015 launch to around $4,800 at its highest price last year. Despite the challenge of predicting a volatile cryptocurrency, the experts agree ETH could break $4,000 in 2022.
Ethereum is the first decentralized blockchain platform that establishes a peer-to-peer network that securely executes and verifies application code, called smart contracts. Smart contracts allow participants to transact with each other without needing a trusted central authority. Developers can build decentralized applications using the native Solidity scripting language and Ethereum Virtual Machine. This maturity also extends into the quality of user experience for the average user of Ethereum applications.
Ethereum's key strength, assuming it supports smart contracts, is its ability to enable true decentralization. As a result, its main weaknesses are slow processing times and higher transaction processing costs than other platforms. As well as being a blockchain platform that supports enterprise-level applications, it also has its cryptocurrency, called Ether.
Ether (ETH) is the second-largest cryptocurrency globally and the most widely used platform for NFTs, DeFi, and other use cases. According to data collated by CryptoRank, Ethereum accounted for more than half of the total locked value of DeFi in October, which reached $245.5 billion.
Comparison of the number of projects on Ethereum, Solana, Cardano, and Polkadot. (Source: Respective blockchain repositories, as of November 17, 2021).
Over the years, cryptocurrency's most prominent players have faced increasing criticism for their devastating environmental impact. Based on energy consumption through May 27, 2022, Ethereum is expected to consume 87.29 Terawatt-hours of electricity annually, similar to Finland's consumption. The average Ethereum transaction required 210.16 kilowatt-hours of electricity, the same amount of power that an average U.S. household consumes in about a week. Since NFTs have been booming in recent years, Ethereum has become a hot spot for buying and selling them. One Ethereum transaction consumes as much electricity as an average U.S. household uses in a week.
Compared to Ethereum, alternative blockchain networks are much faster at processing transactions. It is expected that implementing Proof-of-Stake (PoS) security mechanism will change Ethereum more efficient and less harmful to the environment. PoS is a method of validating transactions and minting new coins that don’t require extensive computing power, unlike cryptocurrency mining.
- Firs complete decentralized platform;
- Open-source configurations;
- Using smart contracts powered by ETH;
- Global transactions are allowed;
- Quick mining;
- Servers are not hosted by one party;
- There is a limit for transactions;
- The transactions are not free;
- There is volatility associated with Ethereum's price.
Cardano (since 2017)
Market Cap: $27 billion
TVL: $214.75 million
Cardano (ADA) is a public blockchain platform and the eighth-most valuable cryptocurrency launched in September 2017 by Charles Hoskinson, the inventor of Ethereum. It is known as the ‘academic blockchain’ that is still testing. But it is the first large blockchain platform based on the proof-of-stake model as an alternative to proof-of-work (PoW). Today’s market capitalization of nearly $27 billion. Blockchain is designed to serve as a flexible, sustainable, scalable platform for running smart contracts, allowing the development of decentralized finance apps and more.
To be the most environmentally sustainable blockchain platform is Cardano’s goal. It uses a unique PoS consensus mechanism called Ouroboros. With an improvement called Hydra, Ouroboros will enable near-instant finality. Implementing Ouroboros Hydra will boost scalability and will allow multiple side chains. In theory, it could increase throughput to 1 million TPS.
Cardano is the first to be founded on a peer-reviewed research PoS blockchain platform. Also, it was developed through evidence-based methods. The platform provides unparalleled security and sustainability to decentralized applications, systems, and societies.
So users can do cross-network transactions through sidechains. Sidechains are different Blockchains connected to the main blockchain. Creating a link between blockchain networks allows digital tokens to be transferred between them.
There are two layers to the Cardano blockchain: the Cardano Settlement Layer (CSL) and the Cardano Computing Layer (CCL). The CSL contains the ledger of accounts and balances. The CCL layer is where all the computations for apps running on the blockchain are executed via the operations of smart contracts. Splitting the blockchain into two layers helps the Cardano network process as many as a million transactions a second.
The platform also introduced smart contract support in September 2021. The ecosystem is still in development, but many projects, including dApps and DeFi services, are in development.
The fact that Cardano cannot be mined makes it an 'environmentally friendly' cryptocurrency because it does not involve the energy-intensive aspects of mining. According to this model, all Cardano holders can vote on its direction. As well it makes Cardano transactions faster than Ethereum.
The Cardano platform was implemented into real-world projects such as tracking fresh agricultural produce, identifying counterfeit goods, and tamper-proofing educational credentials.
- The first blockchain network was developed via evidence-based methods and founded on the pillars of peer-reviewed research;
- Uses a novel proof-of-stake consensus mechanism Ouroboros;
- Smart contracts platform powered by the ADA coin;
- Environmentally friendly cryptocurrency.
Polkadot (since 2017)
Market Cap: $14.3 billion
TVL: $3.6 million
Polkadot’s developers include Ethereum co-creator Gavin Wood. It was founded in 2016 and launched on May 26, 2020, by Web3 Foundation. The nonprofit Web3 Foundation is the primary research organization maintaining Polkadot’s open-source code. The primary goal of the Web3 Foundation is to facilitate the creation of a fully functional decentralized web that will be controlled entirely by users so the privacy of users' data can be maintained.
Polkadot is a decentralized blockchain web that links multiple blockchain ecosystems or networks so that they can communicate with each other. Also, the protocol allows value or data flow between blockchains without any intermediary. It makes Polkadot faster and more scalable due to many parallel blockchains (parachains). Parachains take much of the processing load off the main blockchain.
The Polkadot token is DOT, and it serves two primary functions within the Polkadot network: (1) the governance token allows holders to have a say in the protocol’s future, and (2) the staking token is used to verify transactions and create additional tokens.
Because its tokens are parachainable, Polkadot currency has the advantage of scalability and interoperability. For the main relay chain, parachains do a lot of the heavy lifting. Thus, the Polkadot network can process more than 1,000 TPS, compared to about 7 for Bitcoin and 30 for Ethereum. Polkadot should become faster as more parachains are added, with speeds approaching a million transactions per second.
With an estimated $140 million raised during its creation, Polkadot is one of the most funded blockchain projects. According to investors, Polkadot is a better investment than the other newly released cryptocurrencies. A lot of people are buying this particular cryptocurrency with the idea of getting high returns in the future.
- Parallel blockchains;
- Open-source code;
- One of the most funded blockchain projects;
- Staking tokens are used to verify transactions and create additional tokens;
- Governance token allows holders to have a say in the future of the protocol.
Solana (since 2020)
Market Cap: $28.5 billion
TVL: $6.25 billion
Solana is a smart contracts platform powered by the SOL coin. Solana is specifically designed to host decentralized applications. It is similar to other leading dApp blockchains like Ethereum and Cardano.
Solana run by former Qualcomm software engineer Anatoly Yakovenko in 2020. Solana has gained traction by offering faster operation and lower transaction fees; Solana can support up to 50,000 TPS, significantly higher than Ethereum 1.0's 30 TPS. Nowadays, it is the largest of the three cryptocurrencies in the market cap. The average transaction on Solana costs a fraction of a cent, much less than the $0.44 now charged on Cardano and orders of magnitude below the $20 you might expect to pay on Ethereum.
Solana enables blockchain consensus by combining Proof-of-Stake and Proof-of-History algorithms. Solana creates a verifiable order of events by timestamping incoming transactions, which speeds up network transmission. Solana's blockchain is fast and cheap, which has led to significant adoption. Also, Solana Coin is an eco-friendly cryptocurrency since it relies on no energy to verify transactions’ security. Despite its low energy consumption, the Solana Foundation is still working to make this network carbon neutral.
Solana naïve coin is SOL, and its price has grown astronomically this year from $3 per coin at the begging of the year to a peak of over $250 per coin in September. Additionally, hundreds of smart contract projects have been built on Solana, with some seeing impressive adoption.
Solana's blockchain is intended for use in DeFi solutions. Three hundred four dApps are built on Solana, which can integrate with tokens from other networks. A total of 1,300 blockchain projects are available on the platform, including dApps like Magic Eden and Solanart, the fifth- and sixth-most popular NFT marketplaces.
Solana also ranks as the sixth-largest DeFi ecosystem, with $8.7 billion invested in the blockchain. Using stablecoins like USD Coin, a cryptocurrency tied to the dollar, consumers can send digital payments to merchants with Solana Pay.
The most prominent investors in the cryptocurrency space, such as Alameda Research, Andreessen Horowitz, and Polychain, also support the Solana project. Analysts believe Solana is just starting its growth cycle and will surpass Ethereum in market value and price within a few years.
- High-performance decentralized blockchain;
- Proof-of-Stake and Proof-of-History consensus;
- Fast transactions and low fees;
- User-friendly applications;
- NFTs and smart contracts;
- Positive impact on the environment;
- Can process over 50,000 Transactions Per Second.
Is Solana Better Than Cardano?
If we are talking about Cardano vs. Solana, we should mention that they are two smart contract blockchains that offer many beneficial alternatives to Ethereum. They are innovative blockchain projects incorporating cutting-edge technologies and have achieved considerable returns in the past year.
Cardano is pioneering decentralization with a slower development process but with remarkable Proof-of-Stake validation mechanism. Solana is a better technological product and is one of the fastest and cheapest blockchains but with a quasi-decentralized network.
Solana and Cardano are not without faults, despite the most optimistic assessment. Since its launch, Solana has experienced six outages, leaving users with transaction backlogs. Despite the reputation of Cardano as the 'academic blockchain' that has undergone extensive review and testing, the truth is that it is still a work in progress.
Investing in Solana or Cardano might be the best option based on what investors want. With Cardano, it is possible to track agricultural products, verify credentials, store credentials, and assess counterfeit products. On the other hand, Solana's ecosystem of dApps and DeFi products easily eclipses that of Cardano, and it's better positioned to gain ground on Ethereum in the near term.
Which Is Best Polkadot or Solana?
Scalability and developer flexibility are critical features of Solana. Polkadot aims to facilitate interoperability between blockchains by letting developers send data seamlessly between networks securely.
These two projects are so different that it is impossible to say which is better. Polkadot tries to solve the scalability and interoperability problems in blockchain technology. Solana is a blockchain that aims to provide low fees and high speed. Improving the way crypto is used is the main aim for Polkadot and Solana. They may become the backbones of the blockchain ecosystem if they achieve these goals and provide unique usability.
It is impossible to predict how well these projects will do or how much their respective tokens will rise in value. However, both Solana and Polkadot offer developers a more flexible and open development environment. As a result, both projects can look forward to bright futures.
Is Polkadot Better Than Cardano?
As mentioned above, Cardano is a blockchain platform of the third generation that focuses on Dapp development. It has been 100% decentralized, unlike other cryptocurrencies, making it safer and more reliable. ADA is one of the most popular tokens in the market. The Cardano system is based on a PoS model, which cannot be mined.
Polkadot is a decentralized ecosystem of blockchains. With the intention of facilitating cross-chain interoperability and powering next-generation Dapp development, the network was built. Polkadot currency provides scalability and interoperability due to its ability to parachain its tokens. Polkadot is one of the most funded blockchain projects of all time.
Both projects originated from Ethereum team members, and both aim to eliminate some of the limitations of that platform. A closer look reveals that Cardano is designed to provide an upgraded network for Dapp development. To achieve greater functionality, Polkadot allows developers to integrate other networks. You should hold a little of each of these projects in your portfolio due to these reasons.
Is Cardano, Polkadot, and Solana better than Ethereum?
Not necessarily. Polkadot is focused on multi-chain security, so different blockchains can communicate with each other. Cardano's goal is to be the most environmentally sustainable blockchain platform. The main goal of Cardano is to become a more environmentally sustainable blockchain platform than others. While keeping costs low, Solana aims to scale throughput.
Solana, Cardano, and Polkadot are only three of the hundreds of crypto coins that promise to do just what Ethereum does, only better. It means that these cryptocurrencies have a chance to learn from Ethereum's mistakes. In contrast, the Ethereum ecosystem is much more developed and stable.
Can be Ethereum Killed? According to the words of Solana co-founder Raj Gokal, “Ethereum cannot be killed; it’s impossible.” Certainly, Solana, Cardano, and Polkadot are the top three names in the ”Ethereum Killers” battle inside the crypto community. One of these count as a large slice of the crypto market and are already in the top ten. But the Ethereum ongoing makeover is promised to boost the speed of transactions by over 7,000-fold, hitting 100,000 TPS, according to the network’s founder Vitalik Buterin. The upgrade will likely be released in June 2022. So developers hope this will add additional security and scalability to the blockchain than the existing Ethereum chain.
Solana, Cardano, and Polkadot still haven’t put the second-biggest blockchain in the ground, but they’re certainly circling their target. After the Ethereum upgrade, this question will go discussed with renewed vigor.
Soaring Blockchain Companies & Startups
It appears from the above blockchains and cryptocurrencies are becoming legitimized and welcomed in myriad industries. In the United States alone, there are 726 blockchain companies, according to IPlytics research, and this number is still increasing. We've rounded up eight interesting examples of companies using blockchain.
Using the Solana blockchain, Raydium is an automated market maker (AMM) and liquidity provider. Raydium enables permissionless trading of digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies, through liquidity pools, which have emerged as an essential tool of Decentralized Finance. Pools of liquidity rely on individuals, known as liquidity providers, who lock their assets in a smart contract. As an additional source of liquidity for Solana, Raydium combines the flexibility of an AMM with the reliability of Serum's more traditional order book mechanism.
With a recent market capitalization of $700 million, the protocol has attracted plenty of interest for Total Value Locked (TVL). In addition, Raydium launched Fusion Pools, a project that offers dual-yield rewards to liquidity providers and stakeholders.
The Estonian startup Single.Earth will use the Solana blockchain to tokenize the world's environment. After a comprehensive investigation of the capabilities and energy usage of other blockchain technologies, Solana was chosen to protect transactions on the platform.
Single.Earth simulates nature's capacity for carbon and biodiversity. It has created a digital clone of planet Earth using satellite images, big data analysis, and machine learning. Tokens are issued to landowners for carbon dioxide gathered in biodiverse areas.
Founded in 2019, Single.Earth has grown from eight to around 60 members, including a climate science team of 15 from UC Berkeley, Harvard, UC Irvine, Imperial College London, and others. Single.Earth secured one of the biggest seed investments in Estonia to date: $7.9 million led by EQT Ventures and Icebreaker.vc founders.
Uniswap is the largest decentralized exchange (DEX) operating on the Ethereum blockchain. Users can trade crypto without an intermediary from anywhere in the world. Launched in November 2018, Uniswap was one of the first DeFi applications to gain traction on Ethereum.
Since then, Uniswap is the most popular by a significant margin. Uniswap processed a weekly trading volume of over $10 billion as of April 2021.
Some of the potential advantages of decentralized exchanges like Uniswap include:
- Funds are never transferred to any third party or are generally subject to counterparty risk.
- Participation is open to anyone with a smartphone and an internet connection.
- Users don't have to register or provide personal information.
Aave is a decentralized lending protocol that was first launched in 2017, powered by Ethereum. Anyone with access to the internet can use Aave as high yield savings account for cryptocurrencies and stablecoins. You can take out loans without credit approval. Aave uses cryptocurrency as collateral instead of credit to guarantee loans will be repaid. Crypto will be sold if a user defaults on their loan. The uniqueness of Aave is that its interest rates are determined by the utilization rate of the liquidity pool.
Aave currently has over $10 billion of total value locked, making it the largest DeFi program with the most value locked.
Ardana is on Cardano running all-in-one DeFi project that is going to build products around its own stablecoin dUSD. AMM DEX and DUSD lending service are the two main products offered by the platform. Ardana's mission is to facilitate foreign exchange on the Cardano blockchain.
Ardana's DANA token allows its holders to receive a proportional share of the platform's fees. Additionally, they can participate in the Ardana governance to vote on parameter changes.
Remarkably, Ardana team is comprised of technical talent of reputable companies and blockchain projects such as Apple, Microsoft, Barclays, the Central Bank of Jordan, Jane Street, Mina Protocol, Cardano, the Plutus Pioneers Program, and Emurgo Academy.
MELD is a decentralized, trustless lending protocol based on the Cardano Blockchain and governed by smart contracts. With this project, anyone can get instant cash loans using their crypto assets, while investors can leverage their fiat investments for better returns. Further, MELD offers a range of products, such as MELD debit cards, which can be used to open a line of credit against crypto investments.
Meld is a DeFi protocol similar to Aave on Ethereum, which means it makes it possible to lend and borrow tokens on Cardano.
The Kusama network describes itself as scalable and multichain for radical innovation. In 2019, Kusama Network (KSM) was launched as a “canary network” or testing polygon for the Polkadot projects where new features for them were tested before they are released on Polkadot. It offers developers cost-efficiency, speedy iterations, and access to next-generation technology.
KSM is a PoS cryptocurrency. KSM tokens are distributed in exchange for validating transactions via the staking process. To stand a chance of being chosen to validate a new block, staking involves depositing a certain amount of KSM into a smart contract. KSM is an inflationary asset with an inflation rate of 10% per year.
Moonbeam was another project that the blockchain community looked forward to testing and exploring in 2021. This project offers compatibility between the Ethereum network and Polkadot, thus advancing scalability and cross-chain integration. With the Substrate-based API integration, the solution simplifies dApp deployments and offers various tools that Ethereum users are used to. In this way, Moonbeam is providing a bridge between two blockchain solutions and combining Polkadot's robust performance with Ethereum's user-friendliness.
Moonbeam became the first fully operational parachain on Polkadot, with more than 80 deployed projects in the Moonbeam ecosystem.
So here we compared the four largest cryptocurrencies in the market – Ethereum vs. Solana vs. Cardano vs. Polkadot. Where Ethereum is by far the second-largest cryptocurrency in the market, and the other three are "Ethereum killers." All of them have pros and cons that users and developers have been complaining about. But all of them are different from each other and respond to various investor inquiries.
Analysts generally believe that Ethereum will succeed after a new update, but it should be taken into account that its rivalries will slowly occupy its market shares. There are hundreds of blockchain projects out there that claim to outperform Ethereum, and Solana, Cardano, and Polkadot are only some of them.
If you are interested in this sphere, so don’t miss the opportunity. As you see in startups' examples – all ideas can be released. There might not be a better time to act than now if you have an idea for a software product. Because blockchain technology moves rapidly with emerging new platforms, new features, and new releases, ambitious enterprises strive to take advantage of its disruptive potential.
If you do want to develop your own blockchain startup, you can check our blockchain development services and contact us.