After Cardano and Solana, Fantom is the new blockchain to challenge Ethereum

Charlie Taylor


If you use an Ethereum protocol on a busy day, you are sure to complain about fees that can easily exceed the value of your trade if you are converting a cryptocurrency that is not worth more than a few bucks in your wallet. But there is help available in the form of alternative first-tier blockchains such as Solana, Avalanche and the subject of this article: Fantom. Fantom is a blockchain that supports standalone contracts and is powered by FTM, its native token. After raising $40 million, Fantom launched its mainnet in December 2019. Its blockchain is fast and cheap, and in 2021 it proved it can support its own Decentralized Finance (DeFi) industry. The MTF price rose by $0.17 in July 2021 to highs of $3.32 in January 2022 — suggesting that there is an appetite for Ethereum alternatives.

How does Fantom work?

The Fantom blockchain partially achieves its speed through directed acyclic graphs (or DAGs), where blockchain transaction histories are shown as a blockchain “hashgraph” (a graph of hashes — a random series of alphanumeric characters — of characters). It is similar to the technology that powers the Hedera Hashgraph network. Another innovation is Fantom’s “leaderless” (or “leaderless”) consensus mechanism, called Lachesis. The mechanism is a variant of proof of stake (or PoS), called asynchronous Byzantine fault tolerance (or aBFT). The advantage is that it can operate smoothly even if a third of the data transacted is fraudulent. This means that nodes on the Fantom blockchain can independently validate transactions (the “asynchronous” part of aBFT) without having to deal with a queue of transactions. While it can take several minutes to process a transaction on Ethereum and Bitcoin, transactions take just two seconds on Fantom. Unlike Solana, Fantom is compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (or EVM), as well as Avalanche, Binance Smart Chain (or BSC) and Polygon. It facilitates the migration of decentralized applications (or dapps) developed on Ethereum to Fantom. To this end, FTM is available as an ERC-20 token and a BEP-20 token, i.e. there is a version of its native token that complies with the Ethereum and BNB Chain token standards.

What’s so special about Fantom?

Fantom’s success can best be understood in the context of so-called “first-tier wars”. Ethereum is slow and expensive to use and will remain so (assuming the amount of network activity remains the same) until updates to the protocol are implemented. This could take a few years. That’s too long for people who want to make the most of DeFi protocols these days, but find native Ethereum DeFi apps too expensive. Some developers, such as those responsible for Loopring, Arbitrum and Optimism, decided to create first and second layer solutions to accelerate the Ethereum experience without giving up network security. Other blockchains have decided to replace Ethereum completely (Ethereum is known as the base layer, first layer or “L1”). Solana, Avalanche, Polkadot, Terra (technically a blockchain of Cosmos applications) and Fantom are the leaders in this race, despite all of their native coins having plummeted since their record highs. Among these first-tier protocols, LUNA, the currency of Terra, is the largest, with a market capitalization of $29 billion, followed by Solana, with a capitalization of $26 billion. FTM is further away, with $3.4 billion. Each of these blockchains is home to its own DeFi industry. According to data from DeFi Llama, Terra’s DeFi market is the largest after Ethereum. Currently, Ethereum has nearly $117 billion of total locked-in value (or TVL) and Terra has $25.3 billion. Fantom, in sixth place, has $6.7 billion, losing to Solana, in fifth place, with $7 billion.

What services are developed at Fantom?

Fantom Finance

It allows for the issuance of synthetic assets, liquidity staking, decentralized borrowing and lending.

SpookySwap

A decentralized automated market maker (or AMM). It’s like a Uniswap, but on Fantom. Its token, to match the name “spooky”, has the trading code “BOO”.

multichain

A routing protocol between blockchains.

solidly

A decentralized (or DEX) exchange with little slippage (difference between expected price and true price). Solidly was created by Andre Cronje, the creator of the Yearn Finance (YFI) protocol. It is operated with a “(3,3)” model, just like the OlympusDAO. “(3,3)” is a game theory situation where participants know the most beneficial scenario for everyone and either win together or lose together. Thus, at OlympusDAO, “(3,3)” represents the choice to staking OHM tokens, earning base adjustment rewards, and removing the token supply from the market, benefiting the staker itself and OHM holders.

Geist Finance

A decentralized lending protocol.

Where to buy Fantom (FTM)?

It is possible to buy Fantom on a decentralized or centralized exchange. According to CoinMarketCap, the biggest markets for the FTM token are Binance, Kucoin and FTX. The FTM supports “bridges” (or “bridges”) between blockchains such as Wormhole and Multichain and, as it is issued as an ERC-20 or BEP-20 token, it can be traded on Ethereum’s Uniswap and on Ethereum’s PancakeSwap. BNB Chain. The future of the FTM will be determined by the winning blockchain of the “tier one wars”. Now, Ethereum is losing ground to its rivals and emerging first-tier blockchains such as Solana, Fantom, and Avalanche. Time will tell if the crypto industry becomes a winner-take-all market (where a single blockchain dominates everything) or if crypto will take advantage of a multichain future where blockchains will be application specific. That said, it is important to note that the market capitalization of FTM is seven times lower than that of SOL — perhaps, the winner has already been chosen.

This month, Fantom was one of numerous DeFi projects to be affected by developers Andre Cronje and Anton Nell’s decision to leave the DeFi industry. Cronje served as Chair of the Technology Council at the Fantom Foundation from 2018 to 2019, as well as a technical advisor on the project from 2018. Nell was the Senior Solutions Architect at the Fantom Foundation. As the price of the FTM plummeted after its announcement, the Fantom Foundation issued a statement, noting that neither of the two were “core developers” of the Fantom and that the project’s technological development “continues as normal.” *Translated and edited by Daniela Pereira do Nascimento with permission from Decrypt.co.

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