Web3 Development Remains Strong Despite Crypto Downturn: Report

Venture capital firm Telstra Ventures measured developer activity across the Ethereum, Solana and Bitcoin blockchains.

AccessTimeIconAug 2, 2022 at 5:23 p.m. UTC
Updated Aug 2, 2022 at 5:58 p.m. UTC

Brandy covers crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.

Telstra Ventures, a data-focused venture capital firm, released a new report showing that Web3-developer interest has remained strong despite the crypto bear market driven by the implosion of the terraUSD (UST) stablecoin, the bankruptcy filing of crypto-lender Celsius and the liquidation of hedge fund Three Arrows Capital.

Titled “Blockchain Open-Source Developers Signal Strength of Web3 Community,” the report examined developer activity on the Ethereum, Bitcoin and Solana blockchains. The data analysts looked at 1,000 active organizations contributing to more than 30,000 open source projects across the chains, collating data from a number of sources, including code repository GitHub.

“When we looked at the number of monthly active contributors to their GitHub repositories, we saw that despite pretty significant downturns in price over the last few months, [contributions] generally stayed pretty strong,” Telstra Ventures general partner Saad Siddiqui told CoinDesk in an interview. “Ethereum and Bitcoin held onto the most active contributors. Solana declined a little bit more but not nearly as much as would be indicated by the decline in price.”

Web3 contributor growth

The firm outlined growth in the contributor communities of each chain in terms of a four-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR), then examined the change in monthly active contributors since last year’s price peaks for the native tokens.

Ethereum’s contributor community grew at a nearly 25% CAGR, Solana’s at 173% and Bitcoin at 17%. Monthly active contributors were down 9% for Ethereum and 21% for Solana since the November 2021 price peaks for ether and SOL, respectively. Bitcoin monthly contributors increased more than 8% since bitcoin's trading high in October.

Why did Solana have the largest monthly active contributor decline?

“My sense is that, purely anecdotally, the communities for bitcoin and Ethereum have been around for a long time and they’ve seen downturns like this before,” said Jonathan Serfaty, who heads Telstra's data science group. “They’ve got the core set of developers and contributors that have stuck with it through hard times and continue to build out."

Developer trends

The report didn’t break out the most popular verticals among Web3 developers, but Siddiqui noted the strength in tooling projects, which help developers build applications.

“I think, generally, we’re seeing three kinds of applications that are being built in the blockchain universe,” concurred Serfaty. “The first is reinventing the existing systems. The second one is incumbent and traditional companies utilizing blockchain for their internal use case and finding new revenue streams. And the third is blockchain applications for crypto-native folks.”

The Telstra Ventures report noted that venture and corporate investors have backed seven of the 10 most active projects across the three blockchains. Last month, Crunchbase data showed that while VC investments in crypto companies dropped 26% year over year, the number of smaller deals increased.

Along similar lines as the Telstra study, Andreessen Horowitz – which launched a record-setting $4.5 billion crypto fund in May – has a price-innovation cycle thesis that declining digital asset prices tend to usher in periods of developer innovation.

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Brandy covers crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.

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Brandy covers crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.

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