10 blockchains that could replace Ethereum

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Can Ethereum retain its crown as the number one smart contract blockchain in 2021?

Learn more about these Ethereum alternatives.

During 2020, Ethereum has reinforced its status as the most popular smart contract blockchain for dapps, but there are plenty of new technologies looking to take its crown in 2021. 

In this article and through video reviews, we take a look at ten of these so-called third-generation blockchain contenders: Algorand, Avalanche, Cardano, Cosmos, Flow, Hedera Hashgraph, Harmony, Near, Polkadot, and Solana.


Status: Live (June 2019)

Token: ALGO

Consensus: Pure Proof-of-Stake

Language: TEAL

Speed: +1,000 TPS

Block time: <5 seconds

Designed by MIT cryptography expert Silvio Micali, Algorand is designed to support dapps that can scale to billions of users and tens of millions of daily transactions with negligible transaction fees using atomic transfers. In particular, its smart contracts are integrated with layer 1 providing additional security.


Status: Live (September 2020)

Token: AVAX

Consensus: Proof-of-Stake

Language: Various, including Go and Solidity

Speed: +4,500 TPS

Block time: <3 seconds

Designed to be highly customizable, scalable and interoperable, Avalanche has two different consensus engines – one offering fast transactions and the other secure smart contracts. These run across separate metadata, asset and smart contract blockchains. Each dapp operates on its own custom blockchain running its own virtual machine. 


Status: Live (July 2020)

Token: ADA

Consensus: Proof-of-Stake

Language: Haskell, Plutus

Speed: 1,000 TPS per Hydra

Block time: 20 seconds 

Famously started when Charles Hoskinson left the Ethereum project in 2014, the Cardano blockchain recently went live although the ability to create smart contracts is not yet operational. The blockchain consists of three elements; the Ouroboros protocol, the Cardano ledger and the Hydra off-chain scaling solution.


Status: Live (March 2019)

Token: ATOM

Consensus: Proof-of-Stake

Language: Various including Agoric and Ethermint

Speed: “thousands of TPS”

Block time: 1 second

Cosmos is a network of independent parallel blockchains that can scale and interoperate with each other. Developers create dapp-specific blockchains, either public and private. Cosmos also allows dapps to connect to any other ‘fast-finality’ blockchain using its IBC protocol. 


Status: Live (September 2020)

Token: FLOW

Consensus: Proof-of-stake

Language: Cadence

Speed: TBA

Block time: TBA

Developed by the team behind CryptoKitties, Flow is an accessible, high performance blockchain designed for consumer dapps such as games and collectibles. It uses a multi-node architecture which splits validations into four separate stages, and also allows for upgradable smart contracts. 


Status: Live (June 2019)

Token: ONE

Consensus: Effective Proof-of-stake

Language: Various including Solidity and Vyper

Speed: +200,000 TPS

Block time: 5 second

Taking a different approach, the Harmony blockchain consists of four shards, each containing 250 nodes. It also uses a novel consensus model to reduce centralization and better distribute rewards to its validators. Currently it is focused on enabling compatibility with Ethereum via trustless bridges. 

Hedera Hashgraph

Status: Live (Feb 2020)

Token: HBAR

Consensus: Proof-of-Stake

Language: Various including Solidity

Speed: 10,000 TPS

Block time: <5 seconds

Currently focused mainly on enterprise use cases, Hedera Hashgraph consists of various network services such as cryptocurrency, consensus, smart contracts and file services running on top of the hashgraph ledger. It is currently operating in a permissioned mode with some key features still in development. 


Status: Live (May 2020)

Token: NEAR

Consensus: Thresholded Proof-of-Stake

Language: Various including Rust and AssemblyScript

Speed: +1,000 TPS

Block time: TBA

Like Harmony, Near is a sharded blockchain design which is designed for running high performance dapps and onboarding millions users in a familiar manner. It is currently operating in a permissionless manner using one shard, and is testing its bridge technology to Ethereum. Nevertheless, first dapps using Near are already live. 


Status: Live (May 2020)

Token: DOT

Consensus: Proof-of-Stake

Language: Ink!

Speed: TBA

Block time: 6 seconds

Similar in vision to Cosmos, Polkadot has an open concept in which multiple blockchains inter-operate in parallel within its network. Developers can create individual blockchains for their dapps. These chains run their own governance models but share their security with the entire Polkadot network. 


Status: Live (March 2020)

Token: SOL

Consensus: Proof of History

Language: Various including C, C++, Move and Rust

Speed: 50,000 TPS

Block time: <1 second

Using a novel time-based Proof of History consensus model, Solana offers a very fast blockchain that enables developers to create their smart contract with familiar tools such as C and Rust. It is also working on bi-directional cross-chain bridges to other blockchains starting with Ethereum. 

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