GitHub Blockchain Development Report: 2022

Coinfeeds Staff
Last Updated:
January 20, 2023
Published:
January 20, 2023

Open-source blockchain development is an important piece for adoption of blockchain, and to find what the major protocol developers have been up to, we went to GitHub. By gathering data from the official GitHub accounts featuring top 400+ crypto projects, we share with you the most active blockchain projects, their repositories, contributors, and more.

At Coinfeeds, we work with social data from all major platforms to provide insights on crypto projects, NFT collections, DAOs, and more. You can learn more about us by exploring the website.

The gathered data surrounding individual contributors is as important as project popularity or the number of lines added to files. Open source enthusiasts are people who make code-sharing worth it – many bug fixes, new features are added because of them.

Methodology

We have used the GitHub API, including a series of other tools to scrape data from the biggest version control platform, and gathered commit, file and line, account data, and more. This gives us intuitive insights on developer behavior, where they come from, and their productivity.

The charts you'll see below may include outliers, which can be activity that comes from scripts instead of developers - this can be a burden to differentiate. Moreover, new commits, lines, files, and other aforementioned data items may differ in weight and importance because of organizational or habitual development practices. The data we've gathered comes directly from open-source projects, which means that this report does not cover the proprietary side of blockchain software.

The more we want to increase the transparency of this data, the more caveats and complexity we find ourselves looking at. Please explore this data with a grain of salt, as it may misrepresent parts of the industry due to a multitude of reasons. This report does not constitute advice of any sort.

Highlights

All-time cumulative number of blockchain developers since 2008: 42,458

Number of new developers who joined blockchain projects in 2022: 11,433

Top 85 repositories by commits come from projects related to the Ethereum Foundation

Most starred repository: ethereum/go-ethereum

Total commits in open-source Web 3.0: 447,005

Total lines changed: 775,924,575

Total files changed: 3,326,317

An Overview of Blockchain Development

The following charts and data points showcase the general adoption of blockchain technologies regarding contribution and development. Find here the most starred repos, new contributors joining, and projects by key GitHub metrics.

New Developers Joining Blockchain Since Bitcoin’s Birth

The cumulative number of all-time blockchain developers turned out to be around 42,500. As per the below chart, we can observe how the interest from the developer community grew throughout the years. Looking at 2014-2016, we can see more of a linear function, which is then followed by a more accelerated increase in developer numbers.

In 2022, we saw 11,433 developers entering blockchain, which is still a very large portion in comparison with the cumulative number. Looking back at this data, one should also consider that there is certainly a number of developers who had left the space to focus on something else, therefore valid conclusions could hardly be made with this data. The active developer metric featured below will offer a more indicative view into this.

⭐  Most Starred Repositories  ⭐

The GitHub Star data we've gathered was trickier to use, as the parameters in scraping we set picked up a bulk of repositories irrelevant specifically to blockchain technology, so we decided not to include them.

The Go implementation of Ethereum is the most starred repository, which is followed by OpenZeppelin Smart Contracts, and then Bitcoin itself. It is curious to see Solana and IPFS so low on the 50 most starred repositories list.

Although projects like Meta's React, Rust language, or Awesome Lists are not related to crypto, this phenomenon still showcases which Web 2.0 tech is most loved by the people in blockchain.

Top Projects by Total Commits

This chart, as well as the two charts after that, feature projects by commits. The top 3 projects with the most commits are Ethereum, Solana, and Cardano, whose commit numbers are quite similar.

Solana and Ethereum projects have a similar number of commits - 23,706 and 25,439.

While Ethereum is leading Web 3.0 in commits, lines, and files, the 2nd place for these metrics is taken by different projects. After Ethereum, Solana leads in commits, Mina Protocol in lines changed, and Cardano - files changed.

Top Repositories by Total Commits

As a result of some interesting insights, we have two very similar charts in this single section. The following is a chart that includes items like Solana's token listing files, Ethereum.org website, Aavegotchi Wiki, and other repositories.

What they have in common is commit numbers that do not fully represent developer activity. For example, the token-list repository welcomes every new token on Solana and adds commits that don't often feature unique data. The Ethereum website is a community project in itself, and its front-end certainly does not include feature development of new features.

40% of Ethereum developers only contributed to the Ethereum.org website repository ethereum-org-website.

92% of Solana developers only contributed to the token-list repository.

ethereum/ethereum-org-website

9,880 commits

15,231,284 lines

93,972 files

solana/token-list

15,140 commits

291,979 lines

33,360 files

The chart below has the majority of bots, text/design-based, and similar projects removed, thus offering better insights into commit-based top repositories. Once we removed the noise, several, relatively new projects like Internet Computer, Mina Protocol, Arbitrum, and Sui moved to the top.

Nearly all of these top projects are focusing on blockchain scaling technology, which says a lot about where developers' attention, resources, and energy are at.

Developer Migrations

Commit numbers do help us see what projects are currently on top with regard to developer activity. But how can we better understand how developers see different ecosystems and behave in relation to them?

We've pulled data points that we call Developer Migrations, and plotted Sankey charts that describe where developers of the top projects come from, and where they "migrate" to from these projects later on.

Ethereum

Most developers come to Ethereum from Optimism, Consensys, and Trust Wallet.

Most developers from Ethereum migrate to Optimism, OpenZeppelin, and Polygon.

Solana

Most developers come to Solana from METAPLEX, Trust Wallet, and Velas.

Most developers from Solana migrate to METAPLEX, Near, and Sui.

OpenZeppelin

Most developers come to OpenZeppelin from Ethereum, Optimism, and Consensys.

Most developers from OpenZeppelin migrate to Ethereum, The Graph, and Optimism.

Consensys

Most developers come to Consensys from Ethereum, Optimism, and Sigma Prime.

Most developers from Consensys migrate to Ethereum, Polygon, and OpenZeppelin.

Polkadot

Most developers come to Polkadot from Optimism, Compound, and Ethereum.

Most developers from Polkadot migrate to Astar, Moonbeam, and Sui.

Top Projects by Active Developers

Solana has the most active developers by a large margin, even in relation to Ethereum.

The Trust Wallet Token project belongs in the 3rd place most likely because of the trustwallet/assets repository, which includes thousands of records of new ERC20, BEP2, BEP20, and TRON tokens.

Blockchain Developer Activity

This section will feature developer activity measured by the number of commits, lines, and files they add or change, starting with a focus on 2022.

2022 Commits by Date

This noisy chart shows us that the average number of commits per week ranges from 1000 to 2000. We can also observe how the number of new commits decreased as 2022 came to an end.

2022 Files Changed by Date

Looking at this, we can understand how many files, on average, had been changed on a weekly basis. We find bigger ranges week-to-week, as well as less developer activity towards the end of 2022.

2022 Lines Changed by Date

Here we can see even more noise in the chart, as well as outliers significantly larger in commit size than their average counterparts.

The spikes we see can represent newly launched projects pushing their code on GitHub for the first time, big migrations or deletions, or final commits after a lot of time spent on individual files.

Looking back at commits and files changed by date, we can see that there is no correlation between them and the line-adding outliers, thus the phenomenon must be about the addition of a few very large individual files.

Top Repositories by Average Commit Size Based on Lines Changed

To better see how many commits blockchain projects submit on average, we're using the charts below. The one below features commit numbers by lines changed, with Bancor Network at the very top.

Ethereum, a leader in most metrics, however, is only 8th in this sample, and although its other repositories are present going down the list, it appears that other projects win in consistency.

Top Repositories by Average Commit Size Based on Files Changed

Developers of the Mina Protocol appear to be the most persistent with file changes in their commits, and are followed by those of Tezos and Ethereum.

Top 100 Repositories by Total Commits

While this chart does include repositories like the non-conclusive solana/token-list, project websites, and documentation, it still provides an overall insight into just how much metadata the biggest repositories contain.

We can find that Nitro, Hydra, Lotus, and similar projects that aren't as well-known as the industry veterans, have quite a lot of commits to their name.

Top 50 Projects by Files Changed

One of the projects that made it to the top 3 here is IOTA. At the bottom of the list, we can even see some of the strongest established projects like Aave, PancakeSwap, Algorand, and METAPLEX, which can tell us about the differences in size and complexity between their codebases and the projects' at the top.

Correlation Between Projects’ Commits & Files Changed

The approach that led us to this chart was similar to that where commit size averages are featured - attempts to understand how much weight outliers put on the rest of the data items.

Top Projects by Lines Changed

Although projects like Solana and Internet Computer are among the Top 10 items by commits, their numbers of lines and files changed are much lower than others.

This can be an indicator of more refactoring and maintenance work having been taking place, which would translate into “quality over the number of features”.

A Look at the Most Active Contributors

This section is dedicated to developers themselves - their GitHub accounts, and individual contributions by commits. We observe that the top developers, on average, have made 500-1000 commits to the biggest projects.

The following 5 charts showcase devs of some of the most important projects in blockchain today.

Top Developers of 5 Biggest Projects by Commits

The following 5 charts showcase devs of some of the most important projects in blockchain today. Make sure to explore their contributions by searching for them on GitHub by username!

Developer commit Frequency

49% of developers last year have only made 1 commit. Only 7% made over 100 commits.

Top 100 Developers Across Blockchain Projects

The top 10 projects by commits each have their most influential developers, each of which we're eager to share via the chart below.

Disclaimer

This report is for informational purposes and does not constitute investment, legal, or tax advice. You should not put undue reliance on any statements of historical trends or interpret them as guarantees of future performance or results.

In addition to providing information based on our internal sources, this report contains statistical data and estimates that are based on public information. You should not give undue weight to such data or estimates as we have not verified them.

We make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of the data presented nor do we commit to updating such data after the date of this report. By reviewing, sending, receiving, or sharing this report, you acknowledge that you will be solely responsible for your own assessment of the market, our company, and the other organizations mentioned, and you will conduct your own analysis and be solely responsible for forming your own view of any potential future performance.