ON–131: Layer 1s

Coverage on Polygon, NEAR Protocol, and BNB Chain

Jul 29, 2022

ON–131: Layer 1s

About the editor: Spencer Noon is Co-founder & General Partner at Variant Fund.

Network Coverage
Coverage on Polygon, NEAR, BNB Smart Chain, Solana, plus L1 cohort analysis.

① Polygon

📈 90k developers launch on Polygon in Q2, 2022

  • Polygon is a scaling platform for Ethereum with a multitude of solutions (zk rollups, data availability, POS). This analysis focuses on the Proof of Stake chain. In Q2, 90k new developers launched contracts on Polygon POS. This is 3x Q1, and total contact creators will soon pass 200k. Developers have launched ~789k contracts. Polygon Academy, Polygon DAO, Polygon Village, and Polygon Partnerships are some initiatives spurring developer adoption.
Source: Polygon Analytics
  • NFT activity will cross 500k active wallets this month. Standout collections by transactions include DraftKings Reignmaker (2.2m), PlanetIX (2m), TheOne.art (1.8m), and EDNS (1.6m). 11 collections have monthly volumes over $1m. The image below shows last 30 days.
Source: Polygon Analytics
  • Last week, POS chain saw 843k unique users and 20m transactions. Gaming continues to drive engagement, with four of the top six dApps by users. Currently the most popular dApps by users are Sunflower Land (58k), QuickSwap (37k), 1Inch (30k), Arc8 (26k), Pegaxy (22k), PlanetIX (20k).
Source: Polygon Analytics


📈 Near and Aurora TVL tracking ~$600m

  • NEAR is one of the most hyped alt L1s in the ecosystem, having raised $500M+ from numerous prominent investors. A proof-of-stake chain, NEAR uses sharding (segmenting of blockchain data across nodes) to help drive high throughput, fast settlement, and low fees. Though it has been touted as a venerable alternative to Ethereum, on-chain activity has been limited in comparison to other L1s in terms of addresses, transactions, and TVL.
Source: Artemis.xyz, Gokustats.xyz
  • TVL across NEAR and Aurora (its major EVM compatible L2) sits at ~$600m USD, down 72% from intra-year highs. This drawdown has been driven by massive USD-denominated declines in ecosystem token prices (Aurora, Bastion, and Ref Finance tokens all down >90% from all-time highs).
Source: Artemis.xyz, DeFi Llama
  • Analysis of Github data suggests NEAR’s developer community has been shrinking over time. This trend is in line with the broader crypto market, though NEAR's dev community is much smaller than that of ETH, SOL, and DOT. On the flip side, developers are becoming more active in terms of commits.
Source: Artemis.xyz, Gokustats.xyz, GitHub

③ BNB Chain

📈 ​​BNB Chain daily wallets stabilize around 800-950k

  • BNB Chain is an EVM-compatible L1 built by the Binance team, intended to offer cheaper fees than Ethereum. Over the past year, daily addresses have fallen from ~60% from peak, plateauing at 800-950k wallets/day. In absolute numbers, BNB Chain remains near the top of its L1 cohort - in line with active Solana addresses and typically >80% higher than Ethereum wallets. In percent drawdown, however, BNB Chain underperforms: Ethereum has only fallen ~33% from peak while Solana addresses are down ~40%.
Source: BscScan, GokuStats
  • Looking at historical fee revenue for BNB Chain, it outperforms similar "Ethereum-alternatives" (Ethereum generates >5x more revenue than this cohort, combined, so it was excluded from the chart). This may be a result of avg. tx fees: $0.20-0.25 for BNB Chain, <$0.01 for Solana, and ~$0.02-0.05 for Polygon.
Source: Token Terminal
  • People often look at Binance the exchange as a proxy for BNB Chain, so Binance's health is worth a brief mention. Binance has remained resilient throughout the bear market - their share of Bitcoin on exchanges has increased steadily, suggesting people continue to trust the Binance brand.
Source: Glassnode