Blockchain Developer? Here Are 3 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Platform

Blockchain developers are spoiled for choice given the surfeit of networks, protocols and projects vying for their skills. Between September 2015 and September 2019, the number of blockchain-linked jobs per million surged by a whopping 1,400%, and while not all of those positions were for devs, it’s clear that applicants – architects, engineers, designers, coders – find themselves in an enviable position.

To a large extent, talented developers can pick and choose which platform they want to work on, based on the allure of its infrastructure, its potential to bring about real-world change and, inevitably, the spoils on offer in terms of salary and bonuses.

The hectic nature of the crypto space, coupled with many networks’ braggadocious boasts about being the best, most scalable blockchain in existence, means that developers are under pressure to commit to one particular project. Should you build on an established platform or take a risk on an exciting new protocol? Beyond salary, which criteria should you consider before signing on the dotted line?

How scalable is your next blockchain project?

Scalability is a word that is kicked around often – and for good reason. Whether bringing scalable private smart contracts to Bitcoin or enabling the verification of transactions outside of the main chain, scalability is critical for the viability of networks and necessary for widespread cryptocurrency adoption. Without proper scalability in the form of increased transactional throughput coupled with robust security, networks will be incapable of meeting rising demand. Before settling on a blockchain platform, it’s therefore wise for developers to give the question of scalability serious thought. Similarly, you might want to think about the project’s adoption rate, both in terms of users and developers, and its long-term viability.

Costs and community

Cost should be another major consideration. The development costs associated with building out a blockchain project – a new cryptocurrency, a crypto wallet, a decentralized application, smart contracts – can start from a couple of thousand dollars, rising upward into seven figures. In the case of EOS, for instance, deploying dApps can entail covering the costs of vRAM for users while also retaining a minimum threshold of EOS tokens staked. If the dApp takes off, it can get very expensive, very quickly.

Developers pondering their next project should also think about whether there is a ready-made community which they can join and collaborate with. Obtaining assistance from experienced devs working on the same platform and problems, programming in the same language and who share a similar ethos can be invaluable. It’s easy to gauge the scale of communities from a cursory web search, with developers frequently conversing on Discord, Reddit and Twitter and trading knowledge at international blockchain summits.

Funding assistance; bug bounties

Since there are few greater incentives than money, the prevalence of bug bounties is likely to be another consideration. In 2018, close to $1 million in bug bounties was paid to people who had exposed blockchain vulnerabilities. Many projects offer rewards to developers and other community members who can expose bugs and vulnerabilities in their platform, and there are also dedicated bug-bounty platforms geared towards specific networks.

Others, still, provide developer grants or incentivized competitions, paid out of a fund earmarked for fueling ecosystem growth. Major blockchain companies such as Consensys and Jelurida have capital and expertise to lend in equal measure, providing developers with the support they need to make great things.

Three blockchain projects that are worthy of consideration

With the aforementioned criteria in mind, here are three projects for which a strong case can be made for getting involved as a developer.

Ethereum

Ethereum is usually the number one choice for smart contract developers, although fierce competition has begun to rise. The open-source protocol boasts a loyal community of missionaries and mercenaries, and there are many genuinely exciting applications being built atop it, particularly in the financial sphere: stablecoins, synthetic securities, crypto lending, and other forms of decentralized finance. Ethereum’s network effects – it boasts the largest blockchain developer community – make it a serious contender.

Ardor

As well as providing a suite of tools to build impactful applications, Ardor is a public blockchain network that allows for developers to build customized ‘child chains’ – individual blockchains dedicated to specific businesses or purposes. The responsibility of processing and securing the network, meanwhile, falls on the Ardor parent chain and its nodes. As for developer support, it comes from respected software company Jelurida, who have been building blockchain solutions since 2013. Ardor’s modular design enables developers to get applications up and running quickly and dependably.

TRON

TRON is a low-fee protocol that is challenging Ethereum as the de facto home of dApp development. Given that its user base and trading volume have been steadily growing, there’s weight to these claims. Its network performance, speed, and scalability, aided by the marketing nous of flamboyant CEO Justin Sun, make TRON worth a closer look.

Distributed ledger technology has moved beyond the hype phase, and there’s never been a better time to work in this exciting sector. Pick your platform, find your niche, and then get to work on creating the next wave of decentralized solutions.

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