Price isn’t the whole story. In the wake of renewed scrutiny of the blockchain industry, a closer look at the hard facts behind the Ethereum network.
In June of this year, we published The State of the Ethereum Network, highlighting some key data and statistics from across the network. Six months later, near the close of 2018, we are at the tail end of a long “crypto-winter”, where the market fluctuations between late 2017 and now have consumed popular attention of the blockchain industry. A closer look at the numbers, however, reveals a robust technology, inundated with projects and developers and with a determined upward trajectory of development into the new year.
The Ethereum network has processed a total of over 353 million transactions to date. That’s an increase of over 100 million transactions since June 1 (up from 240 million total transactions). On January 4th, the network processed 1.3 million transactions in 24 hours, the most in a single day ever. Since June 1, the average number of daily transactions has been roughly 610,000 [source].
Diving a bit more into value transactions on Ethereum, we see relative stability on the network following the “boom” of late 2017 and early 2018. Starting in March 2018, the network stabilized at ~50 million ETH transacted per month, and has fluctuated nominally month-to-month since. The number of transactions per month has decreased slightly since Q3, from ~20 million per month in July to ~16 million per month in November. The average ETH per transaction has increased in that same time frame, however, more than doubling from ~2 ETH/transaction to just under 5 ETH/transaction in November [Figure 1].Figure 1. Ethereum transaction data Dec. 2017 — Nov. 2018. Alethio Data Science.
There are nearly 49 million unique addresses on the Ethereum blockchain. In one year, that is an increase of nearly 4x, up from ~13,000,000 addresses on December 3, 2017. In six months, that is a 1.5x increase, up from ~35 million addresses in June 2018 [Figure 2]. The average ETH holding per address is ~2.17 ETH. Without the top 10 addresses, the average ETH holding per address is ~1.87 ETH. Without the top 50 addresses, the average holding is ~1.59 ETH [source].Figure 2. Ethereum unique address growth. Etherscan.
In 2018, a newly created addresses was used, on average, for 35.45 days before going “inactive.” The length of use this year is up over 3x, from an average of 11.25 days in 2017.
In addition to value transactions, deployments of smart contracts onto the Ethereum blockchain have steadily increased. Since June, in which ~200,000 smart contracts were created, the rate has grown, surpassing 1 million in October and reaching nearly 1.5 million deployed smart contracts in November [Figure 3]. Since late 2017, the number of successful calls to smart contracts has remained consistent at 1.2 million per day .Figure 3. Smart contract creation 2018. Alethio Data Science.
Without fail, the Ethereum blockchain remains the most robust smart contract platform in existence. Of the top 100 tokens by market cap, 96% are built off Ethereum. Of the top 1000 tokens, 89% are built off Ethereum [source].
User & Developer Activity
One of the unique utilities of Ethereum is the ability to program and build decentralized applications on top of the technology. State of the Dapps lists 2,286 live dApps across the blockchain ecosystem, having just surpassed 2,000 in October. 2,175 of those live dApps have been built on Ethereum. For many users, accessing dApps is most easily done through mobile wallets such as MetaMask, the most widely used Web3 browser extension. MetaMask hit 1 million lifetime downloads in April and has picked up an additional ~200,000 since then.
Developers are the ones behind the continued growth of the Ethereum ecosystem. Through market fluctuations, they remain committed to the technology and its applications as they continue building out solutions.
The Truffle Framework is a suite of tools created to get developers from idea to dapp as comfortably as possible. There are 26,000 Truffle products listed on Github alone. Truffle Framework’s first product, aptly named Truffle, is a development environment and testing framework that has become instrumental in developers’ ability to create dapps on the Ethereum blockchain. Truffle recently surpassed 1 million downloads, and now rests as 1,168,595 lifetime downloads since its release in May 2015. On average, Truffle is downloaded 100,000 a month. Ganache, Truffle Framework’s second product, is a personal blockchain for Ethereum development used to deploy contracts, develop your applications, and run tests. Ganache has been downloaded nearly 600,000 times since its release in October 2017. In November, it was downloaded 86,000 times, and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon [Figures 4–6].Figure 4. Truffle monthly downloads. Truffle Framework.Figure 5. Ganache monthly downloads. Truffle Framework.Figure 6. Truffle Suite developer adoption. Truffle Framework.
Loom Network developed and launched a layer 2 platform on top of Ethereum, allowing gaming and social dApps to scale while still relying on Ethereum’s core security and decentralization. The team released CryptoZombies, a live app enabling anyone to learn to code smart contracts on Ethereum. CryptoZombies has 330,000 users, an increase of over 1.5x from June 2018.
It looks like developers are here to stay, and more are on their way.
Miner & Network Activity
Ethernodes reports over 11,000 active nodes interacting with the Ethereum blockchain. These nodes are spread across six continents, demonstrating the geographic diversity of the network. In 2018, miner rewards have stayed fairly consistent, at an average of 620,000 ETH per month — with the largest outliers in January (640k) and February (572k) 2018 (Figure 7).Figure 7. Miner rewards 2018. Alethio Data Science.
Beyond developers and miners, interest in Ethereum in the general population is growing. Reddit’s r/ethereum community has grown more than double, from 176k in early December 2017 to 418k in early December 2018 [source].
In the wake of the crypto boom in late 2017 and early 2018, the decline in ICOs was heralded as the market softening, and regulators stepped in. A slowing ICO market, however, did nothing to impeded enterprise, research, and government adoption of blockchain technology and research into its possibilities. In particular, the decrease in ICO funds has opened the door to traditional VC investment from major players. In 2017, VC firms invested $1 billion in blockchain companies, with a median investment of $1.5 million. In 2018, VCs have invested just shy of $4 billion, with a median investment of $2.5 million [Figures 10–11]. Big-time VC firm Andreessen Horowitz has shown it is a big believer in blockchain and in Ethereum in particular. The firm raised $300 million this past summer for its first-ever fund focused on crypto [source] and recently invested $15 million in MakerDAO, which is built on Ethereum [source]. In a September interview with Breaker, Chris Dixon, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, speaks extensively about his enthusiasm for Ethereum, calling it “a rallying point for the technology community.”Figure 10. Capital investments in blockchain 2013–2018. Diar.co.Figure 11. Median capital investments in blockchain 2013–2018. Diar.co.
In September, fifteen of the world’s largest banking and commodity companies announced the formation of komgo to build a global, blockchain-based trade financing platform on Ethereum. Arizona and Ohio have both passed laws legally recognizing data stored and transacted on blockchain platforms. Signature Bank announced the launch of a payments platform built off a permissioned Ethereum blockchain, permitting people to send near-instant payments in the form of ERC-20 tokens. Christies recently recorded $317 million worth of sales from a single estate auction on a permissioned Ethereum blockchain. Sony has reviewed and approved an Ethereum-based game called Plague Hunters for PlayStation. The game, which will leverage non-fungible tokens on the Ethereum blockchain, is planned for release in Q1 2019.
Ethereum adoption is ramping up. Enterprises, private investment firms, governments, public institutions, art houses, and entertainment companies are just the beginning. Even in the face of volatile markets and media focus on price, companies recognize the utility of blockchain — and, specifically, the programmability of Ethereum — in their business models and seek to explore its applications.
What does all this information mean? The Ethereum network is strong. It is diverse, it is growing, and it is receiving attention from individuals and industry players across the world. Across the globe, Ethereum’s use cases are promising to improve many of today’s issues plaguing systems, structures, and organizations. We at ConsenSys, for one, are committed to a decentralized future and Ethereum’s ability to help take us there.
Disclaimer: The views expressed by the authors and contributors above do not necessarily represent the views of Consensys AG. ConsenSys is a decentralized community with ConsenSys Media being a platform for members to freely express their diverse ideas and perspectives. To learn more about ConsenSys and Ethereum, please visit our website.