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Top 10 Crypto Smart Contract Platforms

If you are going to be involved in crypto, you must know that the crypto industry is composed of many niches/sectors; potentially, one of the most important segments of this burgeoning digital economy is the smart contract platforms.

Smart contract platforms are the digital nation-state-level ecosystems that provide the security, computation, and infrastructure to support the development of applications and house the economic assets that underpin global transactional activities.

Here is a reference to the Top 10 Smart contract platforms, in my personal opinion (not market capitalization). I will provide a playful summary, including a brief description, background, and some technical specs. At the end of each asset, I will provide a grade for the project and whether or not I would consider investing in it. For the love of god, please don't take anything as investment advice; this is just for information.

* These are in no specific order.
*These are the platforms I am personally familiar with or have used.
* Nothing here is investment advice.
* Personal Rating is based on assumptions of longevity, industry importance, and potential for healthy return.

1. Ethereum (ETH)

The leading smart contract platform. Colloquially referred to as the “world computer” Ethereum is considered to be the OG that gave birth to tuning complete computing into the decentralized digital economy and brought the concept of smart contracts to the masses. 

Conceptualized in 2013 and launched in April of 2015, Ethereum started out as a Proof-of-Work blockchain and recently transitioned to Proof-of-Stake. Its transition was marked as a technological marvel and held in high regard by the entire industry. However, it also caused a rift among certain portions of the community, those supporting it and those against. I think this is horrible. I will always consider POS more centralized than POW. 

Ethereum suffers tremendously from two issues, first and foremost, scalability limitations due to its throughput that is constrained at 12–15 tps. Second and possibly infinitely more aggravating than the first, MEV. Ethereum is already a horrid user experience by its operational nature; the shadow extortion that MEV imputes is just a bonus massive turnoff. Just a little FYI, you will never pay a fair value to use the chain; morally challenged nodes will squeeze you, and even dishonest applications (*cough* Metamask cough) will abuse and force you to overpay for everything.

It is also worth noting about the Ethereum community. While it is filled with brilliant minds building cool technology such as Vitalik Buterin, and deep-pocketed capitalists fueling the chain, the general community of holders are snobby and painfully arrogant. 

Consensus politics and social chicanery aside, not all is lost! These “shortcoming” (which I ardently believe are purposefully implemented functions, not bugs), has invited tremendous competition from other startups building their own networks.

Moreover, while the technical inefficiencies would have you think that it would hinder its adoption, its quite the contrary! They have actually invited a new grade of technologies (layer 2’s) to build on it, using ETH as the Data Availability layer and providing scale elsewhere.

As it relates to Ethereum’s economic policy, there is no max supply and the network has a minuscule inflation rate that has been offset by the burning mechanism (effectively making it deflationary).

Opinion: Ethereum is here to stay forever. It will continue to be the most important computational platform in the digital economy. I do not trust Ethereum. I feel that is something sly going on behind the scenes (perhaps some kind of agreements with governments that retail might not understand the full implications of).

🤔 Would I Invest: Yes.
🧮 Personal Rating: 7/10

🌐 Website:

2. Binance Smart Chain (BNB/BSC)

Binance is possibly the most famous brand in the entire crypto industry. Starting from humble beginnings as a crypto-to-crypto exchange, Binance grew into the single most active exchange (by volume) in the world, with offices in every nation. 

At some point in its growth, circa September 2020, Binance decided to enter other verticles in the industry full-on by deploying its own smart contract network that would be able to host DEFI infrastructure. Thus the Binance Smart Chain was born.

An EVM-compatible chain with the capacity to handle 2,200 TPS and average fees floating around 200x cheaper than Ethereum, it comes as no surprise that there are more users (when counted by unique addresses) interacting with BSC than with ETH.

Whenever it first came out a lot of ETH maxis threw shade at it, talking it down, saying that it is just a lazy fork of ETH with some adjustments in consensus parameters. Fast forward to today, and that conversation is dead, while the network is up some odd >50x. 

One of the strongest elements about Binance, the entire brand, including the exchange and the network, is its raving, borderline religious community. Every chain has strong core members that relentlessly and tribally support their own networks, but there is something fresh, fun, and engaging about Binance. There are constantly supportive collaborations between projects, gorgeous memes that bring smiles, and a history of accountability from the founder, CZ (Chengpeng Zhao).

As is the case with Ethereum, there is no max supply; there is minute inflation that has also been subdued by an auto-burn mechanism. Block times are pretty stable around ~3.01 seconds.

Important to note that now Binance and its Founder are going through quite a bit of legal issues, getting sued by every three-letter organization for violations of different grades. To me, this feels like a moment of intimidation by the governments and them recognizing the genuinely impressive presence of Binance.

Opinion: BSC will remain one of the most important and valuable networks perpetually. While it might be more centralized than other alternatives, I feel sound in keeping assets on the network and am willing to support them.

🤔 Would I Invest: Yes.
🧮 Personal Rating: 7.5/10

🌐 Website:

3. Cardano (ADA)

This one is fun. Founded by one of the technical elites that contributed to the creation of Ethereum, Charles Hoskinson, Cardano is a chain built on the premise of peer revisions and quality technology.

Founded in 2015 and officially launched in 2017, Cardano is a semi-OG (original generation) chain that has provided a lot of intellectual foundations for distributed technologies. Notorious for its prolonged coming to market, Cardano has built itself a strong position in the industry and garnered one of the most supportive communities in the crypto industry.

There is something to be said about the elegance and grace of the network, from its digital asset (ADA), its micro-units (Lovelace), its staking protocol (Ouroboros), its smart contract language (Plutus) and core upgrades such as the Vasil Hard Fork, there is homage paid to the historical figures that have contributed to society as well as an air of celestial good that tie it all together.

Cardano has a special place in my heart and the crypto industry, having strong splits in terms of supporting it. Many newcomers and strange characters seem to support the chain, while many OG’s avoid it like the plague. Honestly, it feels mostly like psyops of other chains trying to suppress Cardano coming to prominence. Nonetheless, I personally do not care about it (as a technology). I made some decent investment returns on it in the past based on an absolute whim, but do not have any commitments to it.

Considering that Cardano has a TPS of around 250 and fees that are easily 100x cheaper than Ethereum while signaling support for the EVM, there is a bright future ahead for it.

There is a hard-coded fixed max supply limit of 45,000,000,000 ADA that will ever exist. 

Opinion: Cardano gives off a strong “grassroots underdog” vibe that will likely embed it into the top tiers of the industry for eternity. While it might still be too early to make any overly ambitious claims about them, It seems that the institutional support Cardano receives has a well-formulated plan and decent moral alignments between the builders and the end users.

🤔 Would I Invest: Sure. 
🧮 Personal Rating: 7/10

🌐 Website:

4. Solana (SOL)

My personal favorite. I have high hopes for this project, so there will be bias in this review. 

Launched in 2020 by a team of giga-brains that have real-world experience building systems for Cisco and other tech megalodons, Solana is technically complex as AF, as one might tell by reading the whitepaper. Backed by tonnes of venture capital money, Solana has been the ugly duckling getting ravaged on social media.

Interestingly enough, even after the social battering and getting caught in the cross-fire of the FTX debacle, Solana still has proven to be resilient, so resilient in fact that many prior ETH snobs have actually begun to move over to SOL.

From the technological side of things, Solana stands out among the crowd. Already proven to handle 65,000 TPS at a 400-millisecond block time, the network boasts promises of scaling that to over 700,000 TPS. The network fees are phenomenal, floating around 1/5 of $0.01 (at a price of $20). Solana is one of the most affordable and transactional efficient smart contract platforms. 

Its technological achieves are found in two distinct design elements; 

  1. The code is written in the RUST programming language, making it highly effective in terms of code communication/execution between a node and the software client. 

  2. Proof-of-History module in consensus; essentially, transaction activity does not depend on instantly having to process everything all at once. Parallel processing and allowing for transactions to continue incoming even while not processed. 

Moreover, Solana is among the very few networks that has a monolithic architecture, which is diametrically opposed to the current market trend of modularity. I am a proponent of monolithic architecture because I believe it creates a much strong relationship between a network and its token.

The Solana economic policy mirrors that of most other smart contract layer one platforms in that there is no fixed max supply. Currently, there is ~6% annual inflation rate that will decrease by 15% year-on-year, until ultimately stabilizing at 1.5% per year.

Opinion: Solana is the sleeping giant of the next bull cycle. The atmosphere around it feels eerily similar to that of Ethereum during the last market cycle.

🤔 Would I Invest: Hell yeah.
🧮 Personal Rating: 8.5/10

🌐 Website:

5. Tron (TRX)

Tron is another highly controversial EVM-compatible smart contract platform with a die-hard community of supporters. Created by the infamous Justin Sun, who has a unique reputation (ties with governments and politically powerful people, yet not liked much by other Entrepreuers) and spawned in the boom of the 2017/2018 era, Tron is a modified fork of Ethereum with adjustments in consensus that make it a DPOS (delegated proof-of-stake) chain. 

Technologically, Tron fairs well; TPS around 2,000 and transaction costs somewhere around the ~$0.25 mark, and block times of ~3 seconds, making it a superior choice compared to ETH. Given the project qualifies as somewhat of an OG, those markers are impressive. 

Moreover, there are a few other notable technical elements, including the use of a UTXO model (versus Ethereum’s account-based model), a dynamic energy model, and a resource module that creates an interesting gamification for user interactions.

Even though Tron does boast a lively, supporting community, the ecosystem of applications is severely lacking. Hosting only 10 DEFI protocols, 3 of which contain >90% of all TVL. This could be in part due to its basically unchanging level of active full-time developers that has remained stable over the years at around a modest 16.

In spite of its techno-political status, Tron has been adopted by governments (Domincana), and for some odd reason, it seems to be the chain of choice of the largest stablecoin in the Industry, Tether (USDT).

Opinion: Mixed feelings about this one. Its consistency in delivering operations cannot be disputed, but the shady character running it gives me a slightly uneasy sensation. Potentially enormous upside over the very long term, especially if it begins to garner interest from other leading EVM-compatible protocols. Id smash with some protection.

🤔 Would I Invest: A little.
🧮 Personal Rating: 6.5/10

🌐 Website:

6. Polygon (MATIC)

What some might call “India’s Ethereum”.

Polygon has one of the strangest positions as a project. Somewhere between a layer one and a side-chain with scaling solutions attached with a stapler and duct taped to Ethereum; Polygon has been at the forefront of innovation in terms of technology and business development while seemingly never penetrating the inner circles of the crypto industry. 

Let's first address the technology. Holy Sh*t, Polygon really shines here. They seem to have developed everything from privacy via its ZKEVM to a scaling solution to a main chain to a side chain and everything in between. The network has a swift block time of 2 seconds, with a supposed capacity of 7,000 TPS (I have never heard of/seen it hitting this though), and relatively low average network fees of around $0.07; it is a friendly solution for retail users looking to operate on-chain.

From the standpoint of the social stuff, to the best of my knowledge, Polygon primarily caters to an audience of non-first-world users. Despite this, the project has attracted some gigantic partnerships with legacy companies the likes of Starbucks, Reddit, MasterCard, Disney (yes that Disney), and even some Web3 brands, including YOOTS.

Polygon's economic policy is a carbon copy of Ethereum, they even name their improvement proposals similarly; however, MATIC does have a fixed maximum supply of 10,000,000,000 tokens, creating an interesting ultra-deflationary dynamic. Also, MATIC happens to be the only crypto asset ranking this high by market cap that has already completed the entire emission for its token.

Opinion: Purely from the standpoint of technology, Polygon deserves a solid 8/10. From the social side, I’d gives it a 4/10. From the Economic side, a 6 is fair, and maybe sprinkle in an extra 0.5 just for good faith. Joke aside, I’ve used polygon a few times over the years, but for some reason never stuck around. Maybe I will wish I had, but something just doesn't attract me to it.

🤔 Would I Invest: Meh, yeah, but not really.
🧮 Personal Rating: 6.5/10

🌐 Website:

7. Avalanche (AVAX)

Juicy. Avalanche is one of those projects that can either impact the industry and leave a permanent positive mark or just totally be disbanded and forgotten about.

I'd like to start by mentioning that Avalanche has a pretty strong technical team that is well-versed in business. The very core of the project can be found in its attempts to solve for the blockchain trilemma and provide an interoperability solution. 

Avalanche has one of the most interesting stacks of technologies, including its triple-layer architecture of X-Chain, C-chain, and P-chain, where every chain handles its own distinct functions, and the three of them together constitute Avalanche. Then we have the Subnets, which is the system of deploying independent blockchain networks that are tithed to the Avalanche ecosystem (this is what the interoperability comes from). Moving on, there is the almost too-good-to-be-true security guarantee that claims the network is resilient to a 51% attack… Honestly, who TF knows? Well, let time tell, but again, if this is something that proves to be true, then this will give Avalanche a permanent honorary tag.

With block times of sub 3 seconds, TPS potential of 6,500, and fees that at sub $0.01, from the functional side of things, Avalance is very user-friendly. 

We must be addressing the AVAX tokenomics. They are Meh. Given how technologically brilliant the project itself is, it is a bit disheartening that their economic design is weak at best. Basically, the ultra-low fees don’t contribute to driving strong token demands; aside from this, the current setup does not require that Subnets even pay their fees in AVAX. Meaning that projects building on top of Avalance can opt to pay in their own tokens, which defeats the purpose of having an interchain system. That said, there is an inverse opportunity here that if AVAX fixes them, then the slingshot effect will be all the greater.

Opinion: Trust and believe. I have faith in the project and feel that the shortcomings of Avalanche today are the very elements that will catapult them to great success. While it is theoretically possible that they have solved the industry's greatest dilemma, it is probable that they didn’t; regardless, the ecosystem they are building will attract many use cases. 

🤔 Would I Invest: Yes.
🧮 Personal Rating: 7.25/10

🌐 Website:

8. Arbitrum (ARB)

The newest kid on the block from this list.

Arbitrum is a Layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum that was launched in August of 2021 and became the leading Layer 2 in terms of market cap following its token airdrop in March of 2023 (as of this writing, it's still holding this place).

From the technical side of things, Arbitrum utilizes an “optimistic” rollup model, which means that it can pump out a lot of transactions without having to validate them; the security of an optimistic mechanism comes through only in the event that something goes wrong and a challenge is submitted. By being a rollup on ETH it has inherited its security guarantees.

This is what has given it the operational parameters of 40,000 TPS (still not utilized), a similar 15 seconds block time as in Ethereum, and fees floating around the $0.25 area(approximately) for a simple send TX. 

When considering that you are getting basically the same level of guarantee in terms of security for ~10x less transaction costs, its pretty good. 

In terms of the social aspect of Arbitrum, it's ok. Perhaps the interest from VCs might be a notable portion, and maybe the fact that there was a decent base group of more technical/crypto native users that have been active on the network before a token was even hinted at, giving it some form of genuine grassroots strength. But on the top level of social media, nothing really stands out about this specific community.

I will say that there is quite a healthy amount of the technology's adoption from many leading applications (basically all of them have integrated Arbitrum).

On the tokenomics side of things here, I am painfully biased. Maybe the tech really will transform usability and usher in a new grade of applications and users… But the token is just hot air to me. 10,000,000,000 max supply and roughly 12% is circulating today, so lots of strong price discovery is ahead. Perhaps it's my skewed misunderstanding, but Rollups don't need tokens. The end. 

Opinion: Rollups don't need tokens; there are no validators. I do not use it, have not used it, and honestly have no intention of using it. 

🤔 Would I Invest: No.
🧮 Personal Rating: 5.5/10

🌐 Website:

9. Ethereum Classic (ETC)

A highly contentious project within the crypto communities, Ethereum Classic is a fork of Ethereum that took place back in 2016 due to a technical lapse in the first attempt at instantiating a DAO and nearly brought about catastrophic side effects to the main Ethereum Chain.

Honestly, I don't think I have ever interacted with Ethereum Classic. But what I do see many large players champion about it is the strong commitment to upholding the original “pure” vision of what Ethereum initially set out to do with having a Proof-Of-Work consensus module. 

Being a hard fork of Ethereum, Ethereum Classic has inherited the original transactional capabilities of 15 TPS, 15 second block times, but somehow has surprisingly low transaction fees, more than 100x lower than Ethereum.

Ethereum Classic’s tokenomics actually have a fixed maximum supply set at the 210,700,000 mark, with roughly 2/3 of the supply already in circulation; there is some incoming sell pressure to be prepared for. 

Opinion: Considering the mission of Ethereum Classic, It's nice, from an investment side, this might be a sleeper that will catch everybody IF regular Ethereum fails or Proof-of-Work comes to life as the best possible consensus model. Based on the current state of the industry and how the trends seem to be evolving, Ethereum Classic feels like it's stuck between heaven and hell. 

🤔 Would I Invest: Maybe a little.
🧮 Personal Rating: 6.5/10

🌐 Website:

10. Tezos (XTZ)

This one has quite a thick history of legal controversy behind it.

Starting off as a concept first penned for consideration in 2014, it took over four years for the network to finally launch in the summer of 2018. As is the case with the vast majority of other smart contract platforms, Tezos is a Proof-Of-Stake chain with some novelty around the consensus participation process that it refers to as “baking”. Baking in Tezos means contributing to the production of blocks. In order to bake, users must stake 8,000 XTZ tokens.

What does stand out about the technology, and deserves some genuine praise, is the concept that it is self-amending. A solution that addresses both the tech and politics of the project, the self-amendment process is able to circumvent any network splits/forks which ultimately translates to a default state of strong alignment by the community.

This forced compliance (my own words) is possibly why Tezos has gotten support from legacy institutions such as “Society Generale”, The French Banking Giant that has considered Tezos to launch its CDBC.

Operational specs of Tezos include a 1-minute block time, roughly 40 TPS, and fees sub $0.01, making it a worthy contender for a great user experience.

But what was that juicy legal controversy?

The project was launched through an ICO, raising funds from the public. As a method to comply with regulatory bodies around the world the founders of the project started their foundation in Switzerland, a place known for its strong financial protections. 

Not understanding the full scope of nuances, whenever the founders set up the organizations, its associated funds became the property of the foundation to an equal extent as it was the founders; one of the foundation's leading members decided to start acting out of line and for some reason locked away an enormous portion of the XTZ away. 

Ironic how a project focused on optimizing governance ended up engaging in one of the most politicized, aggravating governance issues in the industry.

But this didn't stop there. The Tezos ICO raised a mind-melting $232 million USD. This, of course brought the attention from regulatory bodies in the US (SEC always hungry) and resulted in a $25 million USD settlement that (at least for now) kept regulators happy enough to leave them alone.

Opinion: Tezos is one of those projects that seems to be just right, but not quite. I have noticed a recent uptick in activity with its NFT communities and do have a degree of respect for the project being able to deal with so much turmoil and still launch in spite of it all. Worth a consideration. 

🤔 Would I Invest: A little.
🧮 Personal Rating: 7/10

🌐 Website:

This came out a tad longer than I had anticipated, and these just barely scratch the surface of the monstrous amount of other projects that would literally transform this article into a bible.

Notable smart contract platforms that deserve to be mentioned include: Cosmos, Aptos, Near, Hedera, Internet Computer, VeChain, Fantom, Kava, Klayton, Mina, SUI, Zilliqa, Waves, Harmony, Moonbeam, Lisk, Tomochain and on and on and on. 

Anyway, I hope that you find some valuable nuggets of information in here that will serve you on your journey through the Digital economy.

As always,

Thank you for reading.

Live long and Prosper 🥂

#crypto#cryptocurrency#blockchain#web3#smart contract#ethereum#avalanche#binance#solana#tezos#arbitrum#polygon#tron