The recent Ethereum transaction backlog has been pinned on the high traffic caused by the mass rash of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs [hacked link]). Long-term solutions have yet to be looked at, but certain individual ICOs (such as iDice) have decided to tell users to increase the “gas” they use to propel their investments.
While this may work for the ICOs, ultimately the network is congested, and a long-term solution will have to be worked out by the DAO and Ethereum developers at large.
While the status quo exists, it’s worthwhile for developers and other parts of the community to look at alternative platforms for ICO launches, as there are several. As earlier reported here at CCN, Ethereum Classic is aware that ICOs will increase on their platform over time. At around $20 per token and otherwise equal level of development, Ethereum Classic is an obvious way to go – there is a lot of untapped, unused capital in that market, and eager start-ups might be wise to tap into it rather than compete in the horde of Ethereum-based ICOs.
Another Western alternative is the Waves platform, which works differently but would allow for much of the same functionality as a given smart contract on Ethereum or Ethereum Classic. Waves are in the sub-$10 range per token and have a market cap of around half a billion dollars – projects with smaller funding goals might consider using this option.
Network Effect Merely An Affectation?
At a currency and investment level, it’s obvious that the network effect proves true for monetary systems. Yet, when it comes to killer applications, does it actually matter what network the project is making use of? Sure, Ethereum-based ICOs have the potential attract the most funding as well as to operate on a stable (if increasingly overcrowded) network. But if a great application chose to go with Waves or Ethereum Classic, but still allowed to fund with Ethereum and Bitcoin as well, would its usage and adoption actually be held back by virtue of that?
The drumbeat of progress and innovation isn’t going to slow down any time soon. The crowdfunding model is now the premier way for crypto entrepreneurs to get going, and so it stands to reason that they will over time give more consideration to alternative platforms and that more such platforms will be born to serve the need. In all likelihood, more local plays like NEO (formerly Antshares) will crop in non-Anglophonic regions.
There are those who will decry this future development as problematic, discordant, and too complex. Instead, to this author, it seems that the more variety and choices there are, the more price points that people can enter the crypto economy at, and the more ways which developers can deploy new usages of cryptocurrencies, the more promising the future of the whole crypto economy looks.