Devs Flock to Ethereum But Fulltimers Still Sorely Needed as DeFi Expands

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It may not be a surprise, but now we have the proof: Devs love Ethereum more than ever.

The lion’s share of developers  — 700 — are joining the Ethereum ecosystem every month, according to a report published by Electric Capital, a crypto research firm. Ethereum’s developer ecosystem is the largest in crypto by a significant margin, with 4,000 active devs clocking in every month.

And 500 new devs are also contributing code to a DeFi protocol for the first time each month. However, the report emphasizes that just 1,000 full-time devs are maintaining the entire DeFi sector, which currently represents a combined total value locked of more than $200B.

Web3 Protocols

Researchers analyzed almost 500,000 open-source code repositories and 160M individual code commits from across web3. With the study looking at unique open-source repositories only, Electric Capital notes its estimates are undercounted. The report estimates there are currently more than 18,400 developers contributing to web3 protocols every month. 

The 2021 Electric Capital Developer Report finds that the number of developers entering crypto has surged in the past two years, increasing by roughly 80% since the start of 2021.

Source: Electric Capital

A record 34,000 new developers committed code to crypto protocols during the year, with 65% of active devs having joined the space last year, including 45% of those who work full time. 

Understaffed

Ethereum’s dev count increased by 42%, to 4,000, for the year, while Bitcoin’s grew by 9% to 680. One in five new crypto developers join the Ethereum ecosystem, with 30% of the ecosystem’s devs working full-time.

Following Ethereum, Polkadot, Solana, Cosmos, and Bitcoin boast the largest developer ecosystems. Solana enjoyed the largest growth in 2021 with its monthly dev count growing by 4.9 times last year, followed by Near, Harmony, Fantom, Terra, and ICP with roughly 4x each.

The decentralized finance sector appears understaffed for its size, with 2,500 developers maintaining smart contracts that control a combined total value locked of more than $230B. Roughly 1,000 DeFi developers are believed to be working full-time. 

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