A Simple Guide on Smart Contracts: Top Smart Contract Blockchains in 2023
Smart contracts continue to prove to be disruptive emerging technology in the blockchain and crypto space and have the capacity to alter how transactions are conducted across various Industries and business sectors. Smart contracts are self-exciting contracts between parties that include the terms of transaction through lines of computer codes rather than the use of central authority or third parties.
This is the third part of this series, so if you skipped the last two, just click the links below.
- A Simple Guide on Smart Contracts: Definition, How They Work, Pros and Cons
- A Simple Guide on Smart Contracts: Various Applications in Different Industries
In this part of the smart contract series, we are going to take a deep dive into the top-performing smart contract platforms that you can leverage as you navigate the blockchain and crypto market in 2023.
Top 5 Smart Contract Blockchains in 2023
A smart contract blockchain is a technological structure for developing protocols and dApps that can support the deployment, integration, and execution of smart contracts for individuals, businesses, and entities. Most individuals and businesses leverage already existing blockchain networks that support smart contracts. However, some entities opt to develop their own smart contract-supported platforms from scratch that are tailored to fit their specific needs and projects.
Deciding to build your own blockchain or use already existing blockchains, as well as which blockchain to choose depends on various factors such as:
1. Scalability: the first consideration for choosing a suitable smart contract blockchain is the capacity to process transactions. The point of smart contracts is to automatically execute contracts and complete transactions.
Thus, blockchains that have limited scalability – the ability to process large transactions in the shortest time possible, will ultimately have slower smart contracts.
2. Gas fees: typically, blockchains charge their users a fee which is used to compensate nodes who help to validate transactions and secure the network. These gas fees largely vary from blockchain to blockchain in cost and predictability, which can significantly affect the efficiency of smart contracts.
For instance, the Ethereum network has considerably higher gas fees compared to other blockchains like Solana, Stellar, and Polkadot.
Also, other tools that make building more convenient such as dev support, libraries and oracles, crypto wallets, blockchain explorers, as well as development and testing frameworks differ from blockchain to blockchain.
4. Security measures: certain blockchains such as Solana have had security issues in the past which resulted in additional costs, asset losses, and faulty contracts. It is important to look out for platforms that provide added security to ensure that attacks or hacks are withstood or avoided altogether.
It is safer to go for blockchains that have measures for smart contract audits in place to conduct in-depth examine smart contracts for coding flaws, security attacks, and continuous security assessments
Many blockchains have emerged over the years, building and developing their smart contracts to further provide the required immutability, security, and transparency to transactions within their various ecosystems. Here are our top picks for the top smart contract blockchains for 2023:
First on the list is the pioneer of smart contracts on the blockchain, Ethereum. Launched in 2015, the Ethereum network remains a leading smart contract platform where almost 70% of the total smart contracts on the crypto market are hosted. Many individuals and businesses continue to build on Ethereum because it is decentralized, open-sourced, and has its own native cryptocurrency – Ether. The network is a robust ecosystem consisting of applications ranging from smart-contract-based insurance to initial coin offerings (ICOs), as well as the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).
The Ethereum Virtual Machine is a Turing-complete system – a computational system that can compute every Turing-computable function – that exists on the Ethereum blockchain and makes it possible for developers to develop EVM apps using the Solidity programming language, which is used to create smart contracts. Many blockchains have sprung up with the claim to be an “Ethereum killer,” and there have been continued attempts to usurp Ethereum as the number one spot for deFi projects and applications, but none has been able to completely achieve that so far.
This is not to say that Ethereum is the perfect smart contract platform; the network has faced its fair share of challenges, including low transaction capacity and high gas fees, and an overloaded network as a result of massive amounts of users. Despite the recent transition to PoS, Ethereum maintains the costliest fees, and a low 20-40 tps (with a potential to scale up to 100,000 tps.
Hyperledger Fabric is a permissioned blockchain that was introduced in 2015 by the Linux Foundation in conjunction with major global banks and technology companies. The permissioned nature of this platform’s blockchain, which makes transaction records only accessible to authenticated users, makes it a top pick for supply chain firms like Amazon and Walmart as well as health care companies such as Medicalchain. It also means that the network is controlled by the central entities and entry into the network is decided by the same.
The major limitations of the blockchain that restricts smart contract development are the complicated infrastructure, which requires high programming skills to build and navigate, as well as the absence of a token system. Others have also argued that Hyperledger Fabric lacks the level of decentralization required to build top-notch smart contracts.
Algorand is an open-source, decentralized network that uses a variation of the PoS consensus mode called the Pure Proof of Stake (PPos) where every user has an equal chance of being selected as a validator and protector of the network. The PPoS consensus makes Algorand one of the most secure blockchains to develop smart contracts on because the subsequent block nodes are totally unpredictable.
The platform has its own execution environment called the Algorand Virtual Machine (AVM) which executes smart contracts and makes use of Transaction Execution Approval Languages (TEAL), Reach, and Python programming languages to write smart contract codes.
Algorand is ideal for asset management platforms and asset issuers because it provides fast smart contracts at the same speed as other Layer 1 transactions, with a transaction speed of 6,000 tps and a very low gas fee of $0.0003 per transaction.
Avalanche is a three-chain subnet blockchain with one subnet, C-Chain, dedicated solely to smart contracts. One of the major reasons Avalanche is growing to be a standout blockchain for smart contracts is its ability to withstand a “more than 51% attack.” An attacker would need to possess about 80% of validation authority to control the network, which is almost impossible.
Avalanche also performs well in its capacity to scale and can process up to 4,500 tps for an average fee of $0.000006 per transaction.
In addition to the flexibility and control over dApps that the three-chain architecture provides, Avalanche is also EVM compatible, allowing developers to write smart contracts on Avalanche with Ethereum’s programming language, as well as leverage the network’s tool at lower costs to migrate their dApps from Ethereum to Avalanche.
These cutting-edge technologies provide a new level of efficiency and security in a wide range of businesses. With so many top smart contract blockchains competing for dominance, deciding which one is best for you might be challenging. However, by examining the factors as well as the educational content of this article, you can be confident in picking the blockchain that best meets your demands.