The ether (ETH) price may not have neared its previous all-time highs in 2019, yet in many ways the year was Ethereum’s biggest to date. The stars are lining up for the reigning smart contracts platform to take even bigger strides forward in 2020.
That’s because several major threads are coming together for the project in the months ahead, not least among them being the start of the high-profile “Serenity” upgrade that will evolve its blockchain in numerous ways.
Other major developments that have been swelling around Ethereum lately include the growing popularity of its top decentralized finance apps and a surge in the creation of decentralized autonomous organizations, or DAOs, toward various ends.
In serving as a strong foundation for “money legos” innovation for several years now, Ethereum has reached a point where the dApp projects building atop it have plenty of great resources to rely on and thus more and more are iterating and releasing new products and services at an incredible pace.
It looks like the genie has been let out of the bottle, in other words. All the robust activity going on around Ethereum, all the things worth knowing or using, can be difficult to keep up with.
As such, we’ve put together this list of Ethereum tools and resources that we think are key highlights heading into 2020. This list doesn’t have every project, of course, but the ones it does have are worth tracking for novices and veterans alike in the coming months.
The world’s art market may be “unrecognizable ten years from now,” according to artist and tokenized art collector Jason Bailey. And some of the big changes that are nearing will undoubtedly be driven by various technological trends.
One such trend to keep an eye on is the blooming of the “crypto art” sector, which Ethereum is already dominating. Artists of all stripes are using various techniques to turn their pieces into digitally scarce non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, on Ethereum.
The possibilities are wide open. Some of the bigger projects that are already making those possibilities happen today, and are poised to continue doing so in the year ahead, include:
- SuperRare – NFT art marketplace
- CryptoVoxels – Virtual world where NFT art can be showcased; its “plots” are tokenized real estate
- KnownOrigin – NFT art marketplace
- MakersPlace – NFT art marketplace
The Ethereum community has many extremely gifted developers and entrepreneurs, and for most of them building is a way of life. And what’s so cool about Ethereum is that it’s open to anyone and even Solidity newcomers can get the hang of building on the platform in relatively short order.
Accordingly, there are lots of really helpful tools out there that anyone can use to make building a dApp or a related business that much easier. Some of the best of these resources in 2020 include:
- Remix – a popular integrated development environment (IDE) for Ethereum
- Truffle – a smart contract development and testing framework
- Ganache – part of Truffle, a “personal blockchain” for Ethereum development
- Gitcoin – a fantastic portal that, among other things, can be used to crowdfund open-source funding
- Gnosis Safe – an excellent, highly-securable Ethereum wallet that is ideal for business or dApp treasuries
- IPFS – decentralized file storage solution
- OpenLaw – building legal tools of great interest to Ethereum community and beyond
- Ethereum Name Service – every dApp needs a name, and accordingly every dApp’s main smart contract could benefit from an official ENS name, too
- Solc – a Solidity compiler
- Fuel Labs – scaling wizards that have one of Ethereum’s most interesting projects right now
- Geth – a popular client for Ethereum written in Go
- ETH Gas Station – a great resource for all things having to do with figuring out gas prices on Ethereum
Collectibles & Games
Beyond art, NFT-powered games and collectibles are two other fields that have major potential for growth.
Maybe Ethereum ultimately succeeds, maybe it eventually fails, but there’s no question that the smart contracts platform is dominating the cryptoeconomy’s games and collectibles arena for now. Here are some of the top projects in this space to watch this year:
- Axie Infinity – play-to-earn NFT game with adorable, breedable monsters
- Decentraland – a virtual world whose tokenized plots can be customized
- MyCryptoHeroes – a role-playing game on Ethereum
- GodsUnchained – the “first real-world-tradable digital” trading card game
- OpenSea – a marketplace for all things NFT
- Rocket – an under-collateralized loan project that uses NFTs as collateral
DAOs made a major comeback in 2019, and their resurgence is only set to continue in the new year and beyond.
Look for last year’s mainstays to become even bigger decentralized institutions, and look for new groups to rise and experiment with these novel organizations. The efforts we’re tracking for the foreseeable future include:
- MolochDAO – focused on Ethereum development funding
- MetaCartel & MetaCartel Ventures – working with and boosting Ethereum dApps
- MarketingDAO – a new effort set to promote Ethereum’s value to the world
- LexDAO – crypto legal DAO and resources
- DAOHaus – helps you find, join, or create DAOs
- TheLAO – a for-profit limited liability autonomous organization
The DeFi sector is Ethereum’s biggest advantage and success today, and it’s not hard to see why. Giving people anywhere in the world access to powerful financial tools, all without the need for permission or paperwork.
There’s still plenty of work to be done, but the potential is big, and 2020 could be another breakout year for the space. Our projects to watch include:
- Maker – the largest crypto lending project and DeFi dApp
- Compound – major “money lego” crypto lending platform
- Uniswap – the darling decentralized exchange of DeFi
- TokenSets – automated tokenized trading strategies
- Synthetix – for creating on-chain synthetic assets
- RealT – tokenized real estate platform
- PoolTogether – “no-loss” lottery dApp
- Kyber Network – a popular DEX with good liquidity
- UMA Protocol – synthetic assets project
- Augur – decentralized predictions marketplace
- Chainlink – the decentralized oracles maestros of DeFi
Research & Analysis
There’s no shortage of research and analyses to dig through in the Ethereum community. But some great starting points for anyone are listed below:
- Etherscan – the bellwether Ethereum block explorer
- EthHub – an Ethereum information portal with a wide variety of educational materials
- DeFi Pulse – a great analytics portal for the top DeFi projects
- DaiStats – offers key real-time data around the Dai stablecoin and MKR token
- Bankless – an easily digestible DeFi newsletter
- The Defiant – a newsletter that covers key Ethereum developments
Let’s say you’re a member of the Ethereum community and want to dive in a little deeper. The resources below are some solid social-focused projects that are good for jumping right in.
- Status – private and secure communications on Ethereum
- Cent – an Ethereum social network
- Peepeth – Ethereum’s on-chain answer to Twitter
- 3Box – the “shared backend for Web3”
There are loads of wallets out there. Many of them suffice. But there are a few standouts worth your attention this year if you plan on interacting with the Ethereum blockchain a lot:
- Argent – the future of Ethereum wallets; highly secure
- MetaMask – the gold standard for readily interacting with Ethereum dApps right now
- MyCrypto – an excellent web wallet for any Ethereum user
Just a quick glance through the aforementioned list shows that the Ethereum ecosystem is ascending, in multiple ways.
Ethereum isn’t singular, in that sense. It’s many things. It can be used for many things. And 2020 could be the year in which the smart contracts platform reaches escape velocity where adoption is concerned.