6 Alternatives to Ethereum That Are Compatible with the EVM

6 Alternatives to Ethereum That Are Compatible with the EVM

Discover Ethereum's most promising competitors with EVM compatibility.

6 Alternatives to Ethereum That Are Compatible with the EVM

Ethereum 2.0 is about to launch with the release of the Beacon Chain in December 2020. This will be the first step toward a full migration to a Proof-of-Stake (“PoS”) blockchain that supports innovative features like sharding.

So, why would anyone look for alternatives? Well, Ethereum 2.0 will likely take years to be entirely implemented and carries inherent risks due to its experimental nature. Plus, other permissionless blockchains are already here, offering both a low-gas fee and faster transaction finality.

Don’t want to learn a new way to use blockchains? Good for you! Many blockchains are based on Ethereum, meaning you will get up to speed within a few minutes. This article introduces 6 alternative blockchains for you to use or consider before building your future decentralized application.

Binance Smart Chain (BNB)

Binance Smart Chain (“BSC”) is a blockchain running alongside the existing Binance Chain (that is built with Cosmos' SDK).

Launched in September 2020, Binance Smart Chain is based on a code fork of Ethereum but features a Delegated Proof-of-Stake (“DPoS”) consensus mechanism with 21 validators and a 3-second block time. BNB is the native asset of the network, working like ETH on Ethereum.

Fast, it is supported by … (plot twist)… Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange platform. BSC is a stand-alone network that can also be used to communicate with the original Binance Chain. Binance Smart Chain features distinct advantages like:

  • A familiar explorer ("BSCScan") built by Etherscan teams, making it easy to use for existing Ethereum users.
  • Various pegged assets (like BTC and LTC), allowing users to use popular cryptocurrencies onto the network.
  • Stablecoins (e.g., BUSD, USDT, USDC), providing different alternatives for users to use them onto DeFi applications.

Matic Network (MATIC)

Matic Network is a layer-2 scaling solution for Ethereum with sidechains for off-chain computation. Supporting smart contracts, Matic’s security relies on an implementation of Plasma (“Minimum Viable Plasma”) alongside its network of Proof-of-Stake (“PoS”) validators.

Launched in May 2020, it has a 3-second block time and features a trust-less solution for users to move ETH and other ERC-20 tokens from the Matic Network to Ethereum (and vice versa!).

MATIC is the network's native asset: it is used to pay gas and transaction fees on the Matic Network. Compared other EVM-compatible blockchains, Matic Network offers a set of unique differentiating features, such as:

  • Security provided by Ethereum’s mainnet. While Matic Network is a layer-2 sidechain for Ethereum, its security is assured by public checkpoints periodically pushed to Ethereum blocks, offering protection if the network validators act maliciously.
  • Access to all existing tokens on Ethereum. Ethereum has the largest number of tokens, both fungible and non-fungible. All of these assets can be transferred back and forth, thanks to Plasma and Matic’s own PoS cross-chain bridge.

TomoChain (TOMO)

TomoChain is a stand-alone programmable blockchain built as a code fork of Ethereum.

Launched in December 2018, TomoChain is built on a consensus algorithm called Proof of Stake Voting (“PoSV”) that relies on a network of 150 elected validators (“masternodes”).

Its network has a 2-second block time, and transactions must be done in TOMO, the protocol's native asset. TomoChain offers competitive advantages such as:

  • A private transaction mechanism offering anonymity by hiding both receiver & sender addresses and the amount transacted.
  • Innovations at the product level, including a fee-delegation mechanism for token transfers and a decentralized exchange protocol.
  • A one-stop shop built by TomoChain teams, with end-user products like a block explorer and a mobile wallet.

RSK Network (RSK/RBTC)

RSK Network is a programmable sidechain built on the Bitcoin blockchain and secured by merged mining. As of November 2020, around half of the Bitcoin miners are mining RSK tokens.

Launched in January 2018, the network features a 30-second block time and its own virtual machine (“RSK Virtual Machine”). Fortunately, it is compatible with all EVM opcodes, making it possible for developers to write decentralized applications in Solidity and other high-level languages.

RSK Network requires a native asset identified by the ticker RBTC and is commonly called Smart Bitcoin. It is pegged 1:1 to BTC, such as 1 RBTC = 1 BTC. Similar to ethers in Ethereum, RBTC is used to pay for transaction fees and smart-contract execution. RBTC is created by sending BTC to a multi-signature address (in the Bitcoin mainnet blockchain) whose keys are held by the RSK Federation. RSK Network offers distinct advantages such as:

  • Security provided by Bitcoin’s miners. Bitcoins’s blockchain has, by far, the largest number of proof of work committed to securing its network, making RSK relatively secure (instead of competing for the same miners).
  • Bitcoin (BTC) as the native asset. Since bitcoin’s market cap represents more than half the total industry’s capitalization, RSK offers new possibilities for building a complete decentralized economy with an asset whose market cap is worth more than $300 billion.

xDAI Chain (xDAI/STAKE)

Founded by a partnership between POA Network and MakerDAO, xDAI Chain is a Proof-of-Autonomy blockchain (often called the first stable chain) and is EVM-compatible (supporting smart contract!s). It relies on a two-token model with (1) xDAI being used for transactions, payments & fees while (2) STAKE tokens being used to support the network’s consensus.

xDAIs are MakerDAO’s DAI stablecoins that work as the native asset of the network for users. DAI stablecoins can be transferred back and forth from Ethereum to xDAI Chain with TokenBridge. Proof of Autonomy is a Proof-of-Authority (“PoA”) consensus where validators are managed by a DAO and elected by STAKE token-holders.

xDAI Chain features a 5-second block time and meager transaction fee, with 500 transactions average a total cost of ~$ 0.01. It features competitive advantages, such as:

  • No price volatility from the perspective of users. Users do not need to accept the price fluctuation of the asset used to transact in the network.
  • High-quality protocols with platforms like Perpetual Protocol (a 20x leverage trading service) and Circles (a basic income experiment), which have decided to launch on xDAI Chain.

TRON (TRX)

TRON is a programmable blockchain launched in July 2018 by Justin Sun, following a $70-million Initial Coin Offering (“ICO”). While having its share of controversies and criticisms over the years, TRON has grown to become one of the most used distributed networks, per number of users.

TRON is a Proof-of-Stake (“PoS”) blockchain, featuring its own native asset called TRX. The network’s consensus is maintained by a set of 27 Super Representatives, who both generate and validate blocks within a 3-second block time.

Despite TRON sharing most of its source code from Ethereum, it features its own virtual machine called the Tron Virtual Machine (“TVM”) that is fully compatible with high-level languages like Solidity. TRON features a unique value proposition with elements, such as:

  • Over 1000 dApps, focusing on gambling applications (e.g., WINk, 888Tron) and DEXs (e.g., PoloniDEX).
  • More than $2 billion worth of stablecoins, primarily in USD Tether (“USDT”).
  • A dedicated sidechain called the SUN Network.

Final words

Ethereum may be seen as a mammoth, yet it is stable, decentralized, and has, by far, the largest number of third-party applications, developers & unique users.

These blockchains all offer greater speed and lower transaction speed, but there is much more to that. Most of these Ethereum competitors have also provided competitive features such as:

  • Design innovation (e.g., TomoChain, xDAI Chain)
  • Security enforced by the safest networks (e.g., Matic, RSK)
  • Support by major companies in the space (e.g., BSC & Binance, TRON & Tether).

In short, programmable blockchains are much more than just Ethereum, and as adoption continues, a larger set of networks is bound to co-exist in the future.

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