Multi-chain: The money on the table

Multi-chain value locked

If you check the top 10 chains for the total value locked (TVL) at Defi Llama, you will see that seven of them are EVM-based, one is EVM-compatible, and two are non-EVM architecture.

A snapshot of the top 10 at the time of this post:

ProtocolTVLArchitecture
Ethereum$145.74BEVM-based
Terra (LUNA)$17.14Bnon-EVM
Binance Smart Chain (BNB)$14.91BEVM-based
Avalanche (AVAX)$11.08BEVM-based
Solana (SOL)$9.57Bnon-EVM
Fantom (FTM)$5.76BEVM-based
Polygon (MATIC)$5.33BEVM-based
Tron (TRON)$4.71BEVM-based
Cronos (CRO)$1.84BEVM-based
Aribitrum$1.83BEVM-compatible

The Ethereum innovation—both the technology and everything on the smart contract level running on the network—is responsible for roughly 87% of the top 10 value locked.

Everything about the top 10 is impressive.

The sheer amount of the value locked is impressive.

The Ethereum dominance at 66% is impressive.

The two non-EVM networks earning their spot is impressive.

Each of the EVM networks making it to the top 10 and securely locking as much value as they do (billions) is impressive.

Multi-chain user experience

The Ethereum network effect is the largest in the blockchain space, and the EVM space is inevitably the most crowded one.

You can’t hook up your MetaMask instance to Terra, Solana, or Tron, but you can hook it up to each of the other seven protocols in the list. If you check Chainlist, you’ll get an impressive view of 296 EVM networks that you can connect to in a couple of clicks.

Each of the top 10 networks has at least one DEX, and most of them have the word “swap” in their names. And the interface is always instantly recognizable.

If you put your Ethereum address in the Blockscan search field, you will see your digital assets across all the EVM chains supported by the team behind Etherscan.

And you can also easily traverse all the 10 networks with your digital asset through cross-chain bridges—mostly through Ethereum.

The point is, your blockchain and Web3 experience is getting more unified by the day. That’s the user experience.

Multi-chain developer data and experience

backed by Chainstack numbers

Quick highlights:

  • 10% of all registered customers run more than one node.
  • Half of those running more than one node are multi-chain—running two and more different protocols.
  • If you are originally an Ethereum developer or entrepreneur, you are more open to the idea of multi-chain than if you come from a different protocol originally.

As a developer (and entrepreneur), building a Web3 DApp and launching it on just one network may often be the case of leaving the money on the table. The user base is there for you, spilling over to other protocols due to the original Ethereum network effect and the overall experience unification.

Simplistically speaking, all you have to do is swap the node endpoint in your DApp, and you are on a different network exposed to a new base of users and digital assets. The multi-chain world has more points to converge than to move in different directions—it’s more uni than multi, really.

With the relatively rich data on the nodes deployed that we have here at Chainstack, let’s have a quick glance at what the developers and entrepreneurs are doing.

A quick note on Avalanche — at the time of preparing this article, Avalanche is a recent addition on Chainstack, hence the relatively low numbers.

10% of all users need more than one node — Roughly 10% of all registered customers currently active on Chainstack are running more than one node.

52% of the registered customers running more than one node are multi-chain — Of those 10% running more than one node, a bit more than half (52%+) run multi-chain—they run nodes from at least two protocols (all the way to running all 6 public smart contract protocols supported by Chainstack).

Binance Smart Chain dominates the overall EVM need — Of all EVM users running more than one node, Binance Smart Chain is responsible for the top 35%.

Full distribution (overall):
Percentage of protocol nodes for the registered customers running more than one node

ProtocolPercentage
Binance Smart Chain35%
Ethereum30.2%
Polygon27.2%
Fantom5%
Avalanche2.6%

Ethereum dominates the EVM multi-chain — Of all EVM users running more than one node, Ethereum is responsible for the top 35%. If you are originally an Ethereum developer, you are more likely to go multi-chain than with any other protocol.

Full distribution (multi-chain):
Percentage of protocol nodes for the registered customers running more than one protocol

ProtocolPercentage
Ethereum35.2%
Binance Smart Chain31%
Polygon26.6%
Fantom5%
Avalanche2.2%

Binance Smart Chain dominates the single protocol EVM need — Of all EVM users running more than one node, Binance Smart Chain is responsible for the top 41%. As a developer or entrepreneur running a Binance Smart Chain node, you are more likely to get more Binance Smart Chain nodes than nodes of other protocols. When compared to those running Polygon and Ethereum nodes.

Full distribution (single protocol):
Percentage of protocol nodes for the registered customers running more than one node but single protocol

ProtocolPercentage
Binance Smart Chain41%
Polygon28%
Ethereum22.8%
Fantom5.1%
Avalanche3.1%

Things to conclude

The overall blockchain user experience is getting more and more similar by the day both for EVM and non-EVM protocols.

The developer blockchain experience is getting more unified as well. When using more than two nodes with Chainstack, over half of all the developers choose to make DApps and blockchains services multi-chain.

The true multi-chain experience is, when you put any amount of effort to launch your product, is to support more than one protocol with Chainstack’s reliable nodes. When oversimplified, it’s as easy as swapping the node endpoint in your product to get exposure to a new protocol.

Chainstack goes to great lengths to offer the best unified multi-chain experience that the industry is moving to. The protocols aren’t leaving the money on the table. Development teams like Etherscan aren’t leaving the money on the table. The majority of developers using Chainstack aren’t leaving the money on the table.

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Recap from the Hyperledger Global Forum 2020

ConsenSys, Microsoft, and EY launch the Baseline protocol. ScanTrust and Unilever provide end-to-end traceability for millions of units. NTT Data, Hitachi, and Accenture move their use cases to production.

Ashlie Chin
Mar 20
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