$100B of DeFi Locked Value Comes From Less Than 1,000 Developers: Electric Capital Report

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In Brief
  • Less than 1,000 full-time developers account for over $100 billion in locked-in value in smart contracts.

  • 2021 was the strongest year for Web3 yet, with 65% of active developers joining.

  • Many altcoin projects are growing in developer count, with Polkadot, Cosmos, Solana, Cardano, BSC, and Polygon all having over 250 monthly active developers.

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The 2021 Electric Capital Developer Report shows that the resources poured into Web3 are increasing rapidly. Among the most interesting insights from the report is the fact that over $100 billion of smart contract value comes from less than 1,000 full-time developers.

The 2021 Electric Capital Developer Report, released on Jan 5, covered over 500,000 code repositories and 160 million code commits to draw its conclusions.

The focus was specifically on Web3, one of the fastest-growing niches in the decentralized technology space. The report notes this rapid growth, saying that Web3 developers are at an all-time high. It lists some notable conclusions about the space that point to this.

One of the key highlights is that over 18,000 monthly active developers committed code in open-source crypto and Web3 projects and that over 34,000 new developers did so in 2021. The latter was the highest in the history of the niche.

Perhaps the most interesting insight was that less than 1,000 full-time developers were responsible for over $100 billion in locked-in value in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space. DeFi does tend to see a comparatively small portion of projects be the most successful, so this is not too surprising.

2021 was a great year for Web3, with a 65% increase in active developers joining the sector in 2021. While Bitcoin and Ethereum are the still most popular ecosystems for development, several others are quickly growing too. Polkadot, Cosmos, Solana, BSC, Polygon, and Cardano all have over 250 monthly active developers.

Web3 a prime focus of projects now

Web3 is an idea that has been brewing in the minds of developers and teams for many years. Projects have been working on said solutions, but it is only until perhaps last year that these solutions have really been taking off. Polkadot is one such project pioneering Web3, though many more exist.

The idea of a decentralized internet is appealing and hints at a web that is much fairer. However, not everybody is entirely keen on the idea. Elon Musk, for instance, called Web3 “bs” in a tweet, which was roundly criticized by the crypto community.

Jack Dorsey, one of the tech industry’s top figures, sees Web3 being controlled by VCs. In a tweet that sparked much discussion, the entrepreneur said that VCs would receive much of the benefits of Web3 and not end-users. Unsurprisingly, some investors pushed back.


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Rahul's cryptocurrency journey first began in 2014. With a postgraduate degree in finance, he was among the few that first recognized the sheer untapped potential of decentralized technologies. Since then, he has guided a number of startups to navigate the complex digital marketing and media outreach landscapes. His work has even influenced distinguished cryptocurrency exchanges and DeFi platforms worth millions of dollars.

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