Crypto Developers Grew in Numbers Amid Bear Market, VC Firm Electric Capital Says

Blockchain, crypto, and Web3 developers continued to build out their ecosystems in 2022, even in the face of a brutal crypto winter, Electric Capital, a crypto venture capital firm, said in a new report.

Amid a significant drop in crypto prices in 2022, there was an 8% increase in year-to-year growth in full-time developers that worked on different blockchain ecosystems, according to the VC firm’s 2022 Electric Capital Developer Report. Last year also saw an all-time high of roughly 61,000 developers that contributed code for the first time, across all ecosystems.

Maria Shen, a partner at Electric Capital and the author of the study, told CoinDesk that the growth of developers in 2022 fell in line with similar patterns from previous bear market cycles, for example in 2018, full-time developers joined the industry to commit code to new ecosystems, despite all-time low cryptocurrency prices.

“Every single time we have one of these [bear market] cycles, we actually have a step function increase in the number of developers,” Shen said. “They come in, and then they stick around, despite prices dropping, which is amazing,” she added.

Shen said alternative ecosystems to Bitcoin and Ethereum are growing fast, and will be worth keeping an eye on in 2023.

In fact, only 28% of developers in 2022 contributed code to the Bitcoin and Ethereum ecosystems. Most developers worked on the other top 200 ecosystems. This means that most developers in the blockchain industry are working on building new emerging ecosystems that are not Ethereum and Bitcoin, even though the report shows that those two are the most mature ecosystems in the industry.

Some of these ecosystems that seem to be drawing more attention are communities on the Solana, Polygon, Cosmos, and Polkadot blockchains. Each community grew their total developers respectively by 83%, 40%, 25%, and 2%, in 2022, according to the report.

The emergence of new ecosystems is a sign that developers are experimenting with new technologies and building environments that are becoming more important in the crypto industry. “I think it's really, really remarkable that seven years ago, we had 1,000 monthly active developers and then over the past two years, 100,000 new developers just decided to take their head in and write some code,” Shen shared. “This is becoming a very significant open source community.”

Read more: Ethereum Far Outpaces Bitcoin in Developer Activity in 2020: Electric Capital Report