Active developers – Weekly fundamentals #57

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A walkthrough of the most interesting charts and trends in crypto, with a focus on key business drivers and protocol fundamentals.

This week’s newsletter focuses on active developers, a metric that has a designated dashboard on Token Terminal. Let’s dig in!

Active developers = number of distinct GitHub users that made 1+ commits to the project's public GitHub repositories during the past 30 days.

Frequently asked questions about the active developer metric

Why track active developers?

For investors, it's crucial to understand & be able to calculate the operational efficiency of a protocol or DAO.

If a protocol generates $50M in revenue, it's really valuable to know if it's being developed by 20 or 200 people.

Why we only include the core Github organization's repos for this metric:

We include only main organization repos for fair comparison without preferential treatment. For example, if Jito's developers were considered Solana core developers, then Flashbots' developers should also be included in Ethereum L1s stats. However, since Flashbots is a separately funded, multichain entity, we display them separately. Despite their ideological connection, they aren't Ethereum core developers from an accounting standpoint. In theory, Flashbots could still be worth $1B by building MEV infrastructure for only other chains than Ethereum.

Our objective is to represent each protocol's or DAO's core engineering headcount accurately. Ideally, we'll be able to create income statements for each project, featuring core contributors' total compensation as a line item. However, we do also recognize the importance of tracking both core and ecosystem developers.


Below is visualized the top projects in all market sectors based on the latest number of daily active developers.

Key takeaways:

  • The top 25 projects are dominated by L1 blockchains.
  • Chainlink is the highest ranking dApp, followed by Lido Finance and Uniswap.
  • On average, L1 blockchains have more active developers compared to L2 blockchains.


Below is visualized the active developers for all projects, L1s, L2s, and dApps, based on the absolute number of active developers and growth rates.

Key takeaways:

  • Of the top 20 projects, 17 are blockchains. In general, we can see that developing blockchains requires more developers than developing dApps.
  • Kusama is built by the same teams as Polkadot, using nearly the same code and tools. This is why their active developer numbers are identical (we track the same GitHub repositories for both).

Key takeaways:

  • Many alt L1s have raised large amounts of VC funding to build out their teams. Most recently, SUI raised $300M and Aptos $150M.
  • Please note that the active developer number does not account for ecosystem devs – only the amount of developers working on the chain itself.

Key takeaways:

  • The L2 market sector has been gaining momentum for some time now thanks to new launches and airdrops. As the pace of innovation has increased, we have also seen developer activity increase.
  • Tune in to our 15-minute fundamentals podcast for more qualitative insights:

Key takeaways:

  • Chainlink leads the dApp category in terms of active developers. Their latest deployments include NFT Floor Price Feeds launched on Ethereum, and the launch of Chainlink Price Feeds to StarkNet and Base testnets.
  • Lido’s active developer count has been trending over the past year, most likely driven by the team working on developing Lido V2. This upgrade will allow withdrawals, and introduce the Staking Router that allows anyone to create a Lido staking module.

New listings on Token Terminal!

Aragon, Equalizer Exchange, Sonne Finance, Alongside, Paraswap, Instadapp, Conflux Core Space, and XPLA are now live on Token Terminal!

Video of the week

In this episode of 15-minute fundamentals, we dive into the current state of Synthetix with core contributors Matt Losquadro and Mike Griffith.

00:00 Introduction & what is Synthetix
02:52 What is Synthetix’s purpose?
Core products & their features
07:39 Innovations and smart contract infrastructure
10:15 The market & Synthetix’s position within it
12:50 Synthetix v3
15:08 Analyzing the market opportunity
17:22 Economic and business models
18:46 Growth drivers and challenges
Core contributors at Synthetix
The SNX token
24:12 What’s next for Synthetix?

Tweet of the week

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Product tip of the week

Tips for getting the most out of Token Terminal

Financial statements can now be sorted based on market sector and chain!

The authors of this content, or members, affiliates, or stakeholders of Token Terminal may be participating or are invested in protocols or tokens mentioned herein. The foregoing statement acts as a disclosure of potential conflicts of interest and is not a recommendation to purchase or invest in any token or participate in any protocol. Token Terminal does not recommend any particular course of action in relation to any token or protocol. The content herein is meant purely for educational and informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as financial, investment, legal, tax or any other professional or other advice. None of the content and information herein is presented to induce or to attempt to induce any reader or other person to buy, sell or hold any token or participate in any protocol or enter into, or offer to enter into, any agreement for or with a view to buying or selling any token or participating in any protocol. Statements made herein (including statements of opinion, if any) are wholly generic and not tailored to take into account the personal needs and unique circumstances of any reader or any other person. Readers are strongly urged to exercise caution and have regard to their own personal needs and circumstances before making any decision to buy or sell any token or participate in any protocol. Observations and views expressed herein may be changed by Token Terminal at any time without notice. Token Terminal accepts no liability whatsoever for any losses or liabilities arising from the use of or reliance on any of this content.

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