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Crypto ecosystems lose 28% of their developers; Starknet and zkSync break the trend.

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Amidst a 28% year-on-year decline in monthly active developers across the crypto ecosystem in October, a few outliers defy this downward trend.

Starknet and zkSync, Ethereum’s layer-2 scaling solutions, stand out by witnessing an increase in their total monthly active developer counts over the past 12 months, albeit modestly at 3% and 6%, respectively. In contrast, Ethereum, Polygon, and Solana experienced declines of 23%, 43%, and 57%, respectively, according to the latest developer report from Electric Capital, covering data up to Oct. 1.

The overall count of monthly active developers dwindled by 27.7%, plummeting from 26,701 to 19,279, mirroring a broader decline in developer engagement over the last year.

Notably, Chainlink, Stellar, Aztec Protocol, and Ripple managed to boost their developer counts as of Oct. 1, although their total monthly active developers remained lower than those of zkSync and Starknet.

StarkWare’s Starknet and Matter Labs’ zkSync, both layer 2 solutions targeting Ethereum’s scaling through zero-knowledge rollups, have taken center stage in 2023. Starknet’s recent focus, the “Quantum Leap,” launched in July, holds the promise of significantly enhancing Ethereum’s transactions per second (TPS), potentially reaching 37 TPS consistently and even scaling up to 90 TPS in certain scenarios.

In tandem, Starknet and zkSync are actively developing zero-knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine (zkEVM) solutions to further amplify Ethereum’s scalability throughout 2023.

zkSync’s developers have been diligently constructing a network of “hyperchains” to establish an ecosystem of interoperable protocols and sovereign chains, integral components of its zero-knowledge tech stack. The solution was unveiled in June, with plans to have a functional version by the end of 2023.

Discussing the departure of active monthly developers on Oct. 18 in a thread on X (formerly Twitter), Electric Capital software engineer Enrique Herreros highlighted that a significant portion of departing developers were “newcomers” (less than one year). In contrast, “established” developers (more than two years) and “emerging” developers (one to two years) have remained relatively stable over the past 12 months:

“We can observe a decline of -58% in Newcomers, a moderate increase of +11% in Emerging Developers, and a slight increase of +5% in Established Developers,” noted Enrique. He added that this cyclical trend sees newcomers dominating the developer market during bullish periods but dwindling in numbers when prices take a downturn. It’s worth noting that Electric Capital typically sources its data from code repositories and code commits on the open-source developer platform GitHub.

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