The Year in Ethereum 2019

Up and to the right
  • It’s on Ethereum where decentralized exchanges are solving the problem of trusted third parties, by letting users trade without ever giving up their private keys
  • It’s on Ethereum where smart wallets are solving intractable UX challenges, without requiring users give up control over their funds
  • It’s on Ethereum where stablecoins like Dai are solving the volatility problems that have made other cryptocurrencies poor payments technology. On Ethereum, peer to peer digital cash isn’t a dream, it’s real — go use it!
  1. The Ethereum Economy continued to grow. DeFi remains the largest sector within Ethereum, and we saw early signs of growth in gaming & decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs).
  2. Ethereum nudged into the mainstream. Major corporations, financial institutions, consumer brands, and even celebrities began actually using Ethereum.
  3. Ethereum 1.0 improved. A number of projects led to major performance improvements, and a direction was chosen for long-term sustainability.
  4. Eth2 made progress as an engineering project, and laid the foundation for launching in early 2020.
  5. Layer 2 made steady progress, with new tech capturing the community’s attention. Rollups and Zero Knowledge technology made the largest strides this year, while other technologies like state channels made steady progress.

1. The Ethereum Economy Grows

Source: Coinmetrics

💰 The Year of Decentralized Finance (Again)

📈 How much did DeFi grow in 2019?

source: Concourse Open, DeFi Pulse
Source: Alethio (01–01–2019 data)
Source: Alethio (12–15–2019 data)

🌐 Decentralized Exchanges grow in variety and volume

Source: DeFi Pulse
  • Beyond Uniswap, DEXs on Ethereum had an impressive year. Total trading on DEX’s built on Ethereum passed $2.3 billion.
  • Kyber, one of the largest decentralized exchanges, grew its volume 443% from $70 million to $380 million.
  • 0x ended the year with $254 million in volume, and the number of trades increased 27% — a year of focusing on liquidity and R&D.
  • We saw the rise of DEX aggregators like Totle, dex.ag and 1inch.exchange. These are services which allow users to find the best price across DEXs.

🏦 Lending Services

💵 Stablecoins

Tether on Omni (Dark green) and Tether on Ethereum (Light green) — Source: Coinmetrics

💥 A Cambrian explosion of Ethereum-based assets

  • Efforts to make Bitcoin useable on Ethereum gained momentum. Kyber, Bitgo, and Republic launched wBTC, an ERC-20 backed by real Bitcoin, stored with trusted custodians. In August, Keep & Summa announced their plans for “trustless BTC” (tBTC), which required no central counterparty to custody the BTC. Launched is planned for 2020.
  • RealT tokenized the legal ownership of several houses in Detroit — starting with 9932 Marlowe. Owners of these tokens have access to liquidity through Uniswap, where they can always find a counterparty to buy out their stake in the home.
  • Compound — already mentioned above in the lending section — launched cDai, a token that accrues interest. Products like cDai are collapsing the distinction between a “lending service you use” and “an asset you buy”.
  • Many synthetic assets depend on some kind of Oracle to report information. “Trustless” oracles are unsolved, and remain one of the hard problems in the cryptocurrency space.

👾 Ethereum’s gaming sector grows

Source: Coinmetrics

👹 Decentralized Autonomous Organizations

2. Ethereum nudges into the mainstream

3. Ethereum 1.0 performance & sustainability

🏆 Geth

⚙️ ETH 1.X

Source: Etherscan
Source: Eric Conner

4. Eth2 is (almost) here.

5. Layer 2 and off-chain tech

What did it all mean?

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Josh Stark

Josh Stark

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