“Here’s my learnings from developing Smart Contracts and mobile apps on 8 blockchains”. Our technical director Nathan Challen goes deep on blockchain Web3 tech and DAOs over the last 18 months. Here’s his story on what he’s been up to and his findings.


I’ve been developing off-and-on with Ethereum for the last 5 years. Yes, Ethereum is the leading Smart Contract development platform but there were many more cheaper, faster, cleaner options out there. It was about time to do a detailed review.

As a blockchain developer, I’ll summarise my opinion of things important to me. Namely, the underlying blockchains themselves, coding accessibility, their performance and the programming languages. I’ll relay my experience as objectively as possible. As always, please do your own research or talk to us to reach an informed decision.

Here’s my learnings from developing Smart Contracts and dApps on 8 blockchains.

Up front, I’ll answer what you may be already thinking:

Why not simply stick with Ethereum?

A: For most dApp projects $GAS fees are a show-stopper. Yep! Eth2 ‘the merge’ (Proof-of-stake) PoS promises lower fees but when I set out on this path some months ago I was tired of waiting. Many other protocols were already PoS and battle tested processing millions of transactions. We’re still waiting today for all the new Eth2 promises.

Note: all the blockchains I’ve evaluated here use Proof-of-Stake (PoS) or variations of it (DPoS etc).

Why not Level2 protocols like Polygon?

A: I’m a purest. In principle, I don’t agree with adding complexity and hoops to jump through in order to fix something that is already broken.  When engineering you need to rely on an efficient and simple foundation.  I did build one project in Polygon but experienced significant delays on the testnet.  I won’t strike it out completely as I know that Polygon has its place, particularly for ZKP (Zero knowledge proofs) and I’d reevaluate should the requirements of a project dictate its use.

That out of the way, here’s a summary of my experience with some of the chains:

  • Ethereums’ Virtual Machine (EVM) is now on many blockchains. Almost every protocol has an EVM.  The EVM is an easy way for other chains to onboard developers from the Ethereum developer community who are familiar with writing Smart Contracts in Solidity.
  • You can pretty much do the same on other blockchains with an EVM as you can in Ethereum. Yet, the Ecosystems are different chain-to-chain. That means the user base, projects you want or need to collaborate with may not be on other chains.


My Review of Blockchains


CELO Blockchain

  • Celo is carbon neutral.  An important corner-stone this ‘purpose’ driven blockchain whose mission is to provide prosperity and financial services to everyone.
  • Celo is mobile first. The only blockchain I evaluated that comes with Native SDKs for iOS and Android. Many developing economies in all corners of the globe have smartphones before having access to a computer.
  • Celo has a light identity linking your wallet to your mobile number. This is a really great way to send funds to anyone without knowing their wallet address.
  • Celo’s has stable coins for cUSD, cEUR, cREAL. P2P payments on a fast transacting EVM.

If you’re developing a Native Mobile dApp in developing markets, doing P2P payments and environmentally conscious then Celo is a great choice.


Remember $EOS? They raised $4Bb in their record breaking ICO. I enjoyed building on it back in 2019. It was technically strong, well documented with a strong developer community. Coding in C++, it was a real engineers’ blockchain. The tech was good, but let’s just say as the market has proved that the core management team around it did not serve it well and some poor decisions were made.

Telos to the rescue!

Believing in the tech and seeing an opportunity to fix the wider issues in EOS the Telos team formed, forked EOS and has done a remarkable job iterating it to where it is today: a super fast EVM now sitting on top of a strong native telos platform. In building the EVM the telos engineers patched issues they found in Ethereum 👏. A true DAO! remarkable team and great origin story.

NEAR Protocol

NEAR take-aways: The Rust language was a real test of my patience 😅. But once I got over the learning curve… oddly rewarding. So much that I thought I’d never code in Solidity again.

  • Coding on NEAR was the closest I felt to extending the chain itself at the protocol level. It was easy to call other Smart Contracts without a
    virtual machine in the way. It feels lightweight and powerful. Bare metal blockchain development here.


NEO Blockchain

NEO for me was the biggest surprise! Coding in C# natively on chain with VSCode extensions, debugger, snapshot tools… It’s been the shortest learning curve of all the non Solidity chains. Possibly on par with NEAR in a lot of aspects (so far).


TRON is led by outspoken billionaire Justin Sun who is a strong supporter of the entire crypto ecosystem.

TRON is a valid contender, it’s fast (DPos), flexible and has low GAS fees.  TRON has some interesting options for managing the transaction costs even allowing the dApp developer to pay transaction fees or a percentage. Although smart contracts can be developed in Solidity, a catch is that the TVM (TRON Virtual Machine) is not an entirely compatible EVM.


Aurora is an EVM deployed on NEAR. With Aurora you get the super fast NEAR protocol, yet the ability to develop in Solidity. Low cost Ethereum transactions albeit without the transactions settling on the Ethereum network.

And the winner is?

So after evaluating 8 blockchains for building dApps and Smart Contracts, which one will I choose?

Sorry, I can’t pick just one. I don’t believe there is a single true Ethereum killer. It depends on the application.  I honestly believe there is a reason why each unique chain exists, and they should be carefully considered in planning a dApp. There are many nuances (too many to cover here) that you don’t know until you’ve tried building something serious on each chain and that’s why we’ve done the work for you.

Keen to chat? Reach out and let’s grab a coffee or connect online!