Smart contract platforms have grown to become one of the most significant sectors of the crypto economy. Of the top 10 crypto assets by market capitalization (based on data from Messari), three are smart contract platforms, with one—Ethereum—second only to Bitcoin itself.

Between them, the 10 leading smart contract platforms have a combined market capitalization of over $176 billion as of this writing. They are:

  • Ethereum: Ethereum is designed to function as decentralized “world computer”, which can be used as a platform on which dapps can run.
  • Cardano: Cardano is an open-source public blockchain project. Its USP is that it claims to be the world’s first peer-reviewed blockchain, with a network of academics and scientists checking its protocols before they’re released.
  • Polkadot: Created by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood, Polkadot is a “multi-chain network” designed to join blockchain network together.
  • EOS: Targeting business users, EOS is designed to address common issues around blockchain such as speed and scalability.
  • TRON: A “decentralized virtual machine,” Tron was originally designed as a social media and entertainment platform, and now has the lofty goal of underpinning a decentralized Internet.
  • NEM: Short for New Economy Movement, the NEM platform is designed to give enterprises a more efficient way to verify and move blockchain assets.
  • Tezos: Ethereum competitor Tezos was designed from the ground up as a proof-of-stake blockchain, with on-chain governance; coin owners can vote on proposals to make changes to the way the Tezos blockchain works.
  • VeChain: VeChain is designed to improve and simplify supply chain management, helping businesses to eliminate fraud from the manufacturing and delivery process.
  • NEO: Often dubbed “the Chinese Ethereum”, NEO differs from Ethereum in that it doesn’t have transaction fees; it’s also faster, supporting around 10,000 transactions per second.
  • Cosmos: Cosmos is an “Internet of blockchains,” a network of blockchain networks designed to communicate seamlessly with each other using the Inter-Blockchain Communication protocol.

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