Top smart contract platforms:

a selection guide

Top smart contract platforms:
 a selection guide

February 13, 2024

Top smart contract platforms we use

While enterprises can potentially experiment with new technologies in pilot projects launched from scratch, using the existing blockchain platforms that support smart contracts is more practical.

Execution environment

Smart contract language

Turing completeness

Permission type

Consensus

TPS

Ethereum

Execution environment

Smart contract language

Turing completeness

Permission type

Consensus

TPS

EVM

Solidity

Yes

Public

Proof of Stake

Up to 100,000

Polkadot

Execution environment

Smart contract language

Turing completeness

Permission type

Consensus

TPS

PEE

Depends on a selected chain

Depends on a selected chain

Depends on a selected chain

Nominated Proof of Stake

Depends on a selected chain and conditions, up to 1 million

Hyperledger

Execution environment

Smart contract language

Turing completeness

Permission type

Consensus

TPS

Docker

JavaScript Go

Yes

Permissioned

Pluggable (e.g. Crash Fault Tolerance)

Depends on the use case, up to 3,500

Tezos

Execution environment

Smart contract language

Turing completeness

Permission type

Consensus

TPS

TezosVM

Michelson

Yes

Permissionless

Liquid Proof of Stake

40, up to 1 million after upgrades and rollups

Stellar

Execution environment

Smart contract language

Turing completeness

Permission type

Consensus

TPS

Docker

Net Scala C++ Go

No

Consortium

FBA

1,000, up to 4,000 in ideal conditions

Solana

Execution environment

Smart contract language

Turing completeness

Permission type

Consensus

TPS

Sealevel Runtime

Rust C

Yes

Public

Proof of History and Proof of Stake

5,000 - 10,000, up to 710,000 in ideal conditions

Cardano

Execution environment

Smart contract language

Turing completeness

Permission type

Consensus

TPS

Ouroboros

Plutus Haskell

Yes

Public

Ouroboros Proof of Stake

250, up to 2 million using L2

Tron

Execution environment

Smart contract language

Turing completeness

Permission type

Consensus

TPS

Tron Virtual Machine

Solidity TVM Assembly

Yes

Public

Delegate proof of Stake

Up to 2,000

Polygon

Execution environment

Smart contract language

Turing completeness

Permission type

Consensus

TPS

Ethereum Virtual Machine

Solidity

Yes

Public

Proof of Stake

Up to 7,200

Algorand

Execution environment

Smart contract language

Turing completeness

Permission type

Consensus

TPS

Algorand Virtual Machine

TEAL PyTeal

Yes

Public

Pure Proof of Stake

Up to 4,500

Arbitrum

Execution environment

Smart contract language

Turing completeness

Permission type

Consensus

TPS

EVM

Solidity

Yes

Public

Optimistic Rollup

Up to 40,000

Optimism

Execution environment

Smart contract language

Turing completeness

Permission type

Consensus

TPS

EVM

Solidity

Yes

Public

Optimistic Rollup

~ 2,000

Cosmos

Execution environment

Smart contract language

Turing completeness

Permission type

Consensus

TPS

Cosmos SDK

Rust (via CosmWasm)

Yes

Public

Tendermint

Depends on a selected chain

Ethereum is the world’s first and one of the best smart contract platforms which remains the most popular choice among developers. Following Bitcoin's decentralized concept, Ethereum has become a leader in smart contract platforms. Since its inception in 2015, the platform has launched more than 4,400 dApps. The most apparent advantages of Ethereum’s smart contract platform are standardization, security, and support. Due to eloquently written rules, clearly defined development guidelines, and its own coding language, Solidity, deploying smart contracts and Dapps on the platform has proven to be comparatively easy. Ethereum is also superior to any other smart contract platform in terms of developer count (~200,000), making its development community one of the most flourishing and responsive ones. The sheer popularity of Ethereum and high user loads incentivized developers to build multiple scaling solutions like Arbitrum and Optimism on top of the mainnet.

Pros
Active community Elaborate documentation Clear development guidelines The largest market capitalization among SC platforms
Cons
Above average gas fees Network congestion
Examples

Golem
A decentralized marketplace for renting unused computing power to other network participants

BP
Automating and facilitating energy trading between consumers and producers with smart contract functionality

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How to choose a smart contract platform?

Making an informed decision about a smart contract platform is one of the most important steps toward achieving tangible results with smart contract development. As the business landscape is becoming more aware of smart contract potential, blockchains are evolving. While Ethereum remains the most recognizable platform in this field, its competitors are constantly coming up with new, unique features that attract investments.

The reason why new smart contract platforms are constantly emerging and established platforms are continuously updated is that it’s virtually impossible to maximize all of the three most important properties of smart contract platforms: scalability, security, and decentralization.

Scheme title: Blockchain Trilemma
Data source: chain.link — Smart Contract Platforms, 2023

Scalability
the number of computations the network can process per second

Security
the amount of resources required to corrupt network consensus

Decentralization
the number of full nodes participating in the network

Blockchain Trilemma

All smart contract platforms have to prioritize two properties at the expense of the remaining one. So, to understand which smart contract platform would be best for your particular use case, you need to understand which trade-offs you can make. Let’s explore how it works through real-life examples:

Scalability + Security - Decentralization

If you have an online marketplace for trading digital assets, high TPS and security are paramount. This is exactly why IBM uses Stellar, the non-Turing complete platform, for its global payments network called World Wire. Stellar addresses the gap in decentralization by allowing all participants in the network to run a node.

Scalability + Decentralization - Security

If you have a DeFI application that requires handling large amounts of transactions every second, high TPS and decentralization are crucial. This is why Binance, the world’s most renowned crypto exchange, uses its own Binance Smart Chain (BSC) platform. BSC relies on a consensus mechanism that requires a comparatively small number of validators, allowing for lightning-fast transaction speed. BSC tackles security concerns with strict measures for becoming a validator, regular smart contract audits, and bug bounty programs.

Decentralization + Security - Scalability

If you have a social media network that calls for a high level of personal data security and user empowerment, security and decentralization become top priorities. Minds, an open-source and decentralized social networking platform with a token-based reward system, uses Ethereum, a highly secure and decentralized blockchain that is somewhat limited in its scalability. If scalability becomes an issue, Minds can always opt for high-TPS L2 solutions built on top of the mainnet, allowing it to use the benefits of the Ethereum ecosystem.

Other smart contract platform properties to consider

After narrowing down the list of possible smart contract platforms with the help of the Blockchain Trilemma, we suggest considering the following properties:

Compliance

Applications in the financial sector and data-sensitive industries like healthcare can benefit from a smart contract platform that embeds regulatory compliance into its structure. For example, financial institutions often opt for a permissioned blockchain platform like Hyperledger Fabric to streamline compliance with data privacy laws.

Developer ecosystem

A vast amount of resources, tutorials, custom libraries and frameworks, oracles, and testing tools can significantly lower the development time and cost.

Transaction speed & costs

Applications that require real-time interactions, like gaming platforms or massive asset exchange platforms, are usually built on blockchains with low transaction fees and high TPS.

Interoperability

If interoperability with other networks is vital, it makes sense to use platforms like Polkadot to ensure seamless integration with external networks.

Our blockchain services

We help enterprises to develop blockchain-based solutions, enabling process automation and secure data sharing.

Our blockchain services

Our blockchain experts are ready to develop smart contract-based solutions within a blockchain network most suitable for your needs. From asset exchanges to supply chain systems, we cover the full scope of smart contract development, including post-launch support and maintenance.

We carefully analyze your requirements and provide in-depth technical advice on how to approach blockchain-based solution implementation and select the optimal blockchain platform for your specific use case.

The Itransition team thoroughly assesses security protocols, encryption methods and smart contract logic to ensure that your solution is safe and secure. We also stress-test your solution to evaluate its fraud-tolerance and make the necessary adjustments to reinforce the system.

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Smart contracts are the future of business relationships

Choosing a blockchain platform as the basis for your smart contract app is paramount yet challenging. For example, building a complex IoT-connected insurance Dapp on Stellar would be as ineffective as trying to deploy a public cryptocurrency exchange on Hyperledger Fabric. Therefore, expert consulting can help to ensure platform suitability and squeeze the most out of Dapp and smart contract development. Here, at Itransition, we believe in the unprecedented power of smart contract platforms to make contractual agreements between parties as transparent and efficient as ever before. Our blockchain experts are constantly on the lookout for new ways to streamline and automate business processes with smart contracts. If you are looking for a reliable smart contract development partner, we are ready to guide you through the whole journey, from ideation to deployment and maintenance.