2021 was a type of “coming-of-age” for a lot of layer-one (L1) blockchain protocols as a result of the expansion of decentralized finance (DeFi) and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) compelled customers to search for options outdoors of the Ethereum (ETH) community the place excessive charges and community congestion continued to be boundaries for a lot of.
Protocols like Fantom (FTM), Avalanche (AVAX) and Cosmos (ATOM) noticed their token values rise and ecosystems flourished as 2021 got here to a detailed. In the meantime, fashionable initiatives like Polkadot (DOT) underperformed, comparatively talking, regardless of the excessive expectations many had for the sharded multi-chain protocol.
Setting apart the precise functionality that every protocol provides by way of transactions per second and time to finality, listed here are a number of components that will have performed a job in DOT’s laggard efficiency when in comparison with different L1 opponents.
Interoperability is a key issue
One of many main themes of 2021 was cross-chain interoperability between separate blockchain networks, with a bridge to Ethereum being crucial connection to ascertain because of the truth that a majority of initiatives at the moment run on the community.
Protocols like Fantom, Binance Sensible Chain, Avalanche and Concord developed cross-chain bridges and this led to a noticeable bump of their token worth, whole worth locked and on-chain exercise.
Even though Polkadot was particularly designed to supply multi-chain help as a “layer-zero” meta protocol, there was no main launch of a bridge that linked Polkadot with Ethereum in 2021 and this left the protocol unloved by crypto merchants seeking to have interaction with DeFi and NFTs.
Cosmos, likewise, didn’t see the discharge of a serious bridge that linked its ecosystem with Ethereum, however there have been minor integrations just like the addition of Ether as a collateral asset on Terra which demonstrated that cross-chain compatibility was attainable.
The late launch of parachain auctions
As 2021 got here to a detailed, all the beforehand talked about networks have been seeing a wholesome quantity of exercise and cross-protocol interactions whereas initiatives on Polkadot have been nonetheless finalizing their preparations to launch on the mainnet.
This was partly because of the truth that the parachain auctions for Polkadot didn’t start till November 11 when Moonbeam (GLMR), an Ethereum-compatible good contract parachain, secured the primary slot.
DOT noticed its worth rise to an all-time excessive of $55 on Nov. 4 as these concerned with contributing to the parachain auctions secured their tokens, however by the point the auctions had formally began its worth was already on the downslope towards a low of $23.28 on Jan. 10.
Moonbeam official went dwell on the Polkadot community on Jan. 11 and has managed to rack up greater than 1 million transactions as customers have been lastly capable of switch ERC-20 tokens into the Polkadot ecosystem.
⚡ ONE MILLION TRANSACTIONS ⚡️
Moonbeam hits 1M tx on the community! Moonbeam is lighting up @Polkadot’s ecosystem with new integrations, 100k+ wallets, 700+ ERC-20 tokens & 1M GLMR tokens locked with collators.
— Moonbeam Community (@MoonbeamNetwork) January 20, 2022
The worth of DOT noticed a slight bump greater following the launch of Moonbeam however has as soon as once more slid again down beneath $25.
The advantages of holding DOT
A 3rd issue which may be weighing on the recognition and worth of DOT is confusion about what the token is used for and what advantages it offers to token holders.
Why ought to I preserve it?
— Quinten François (@QuintenFrancois) July 29, 2021
On lots of the competing networks, the native token is used to conduct contract actions corresponding to token transfers or swaps whereas protocols which are within the Polkadot ecosystem use their native tokens to pay for fuel.
Apart from getting used to take part in parachain auctions, the principle makes use of for DOT embrace staking to help the operation and safety of the community and to be used in governance votes.
Whereas governance talents are essential for the general well being of blockchain protocols, the common cryptocurrency customers nonetheless haven’t proven a lot enthusiasm for taking part in votes and are extra concerned with issues like gaming, DeFi and NFTs.
A number of layer-one options are launching developer and liquidity incentive packages and up and coming DeFi protocols are nonetheless providing excessive yield staking alternatives. Presently DOT provides 13.94% APR to stakers and its probably that this isn’t sufficient to fulfill the urge for food of yield farmers who want to get extra bang for his or her buck.
The long-term outlook for Polkadot stays robust and the undertaking has an energetic and devoted neighborhood of followers to associate with an skilled improvement crew led by Ethereum co-founder Dr. Gavin Wooden.
The launch of Moonbeam would possibly certainly mark a turning level for DOT as cross-chain compatibility is now dwell and different parachain initiatives ought to begin to launch on the mainnet shortly, nevertheless it stays to be seen how lengthy it’ll take the community to catch as much as its L1 opponents who’ve a head begin on cross-chain interactions and elevated on-chain exercise.
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