Like the rest of the crypto markets, Ethereum has had a wild year. As the price of one ether has whipsawed between highs of $1,389 and lows of just $87 over the course of 2018, the platform’s developer community has continued to quietly build out more Dapps and use cases for the network. But even so, there are storm clouds on the horizon in the near term, as development teams continue to face scalability challenges and some of the biggest Ethereum projects encounter serious operational headwinds.
One of the most prolific contributors to the Ethereum ecosystem to date is ConsenSys, best described as a kind of app studio for crypto – and Ethereum in particular. But a recent report from Forbes has revealed that the business, despite being well-funded, is burning through nearly $100M per year, with no profitability in sight.
Yesterday, ConsenSys confirmed that it would be laying off 13% of its staff across all of its startups, contributing to a broader concern that mass layoffs could begin hitting other businesses in crypto during an extended bear market.
Ethereum’s development ecosystem is facing challenges, too. Development on plasma (once heralded as a short-term fix for Ethereum’s scaling woes) has slowed in favor of zk-snarks, a form of cryptography also used by Zcash that can aggregate transactions into batches, rather than processing them one at a time. The platform’s relative centralization remains a concern as well – and this has led to projects like slow.trade launching, which aim to make Ethereum’s original vision of decentralization a reality.
Despite these headwinds, it isn’t all doom and gloom in the Ethereum community these days. Many developers are already working on building the next generation of the platform – one such example is the Turbo Geth project, which is aiming to transform the way Ethereum clients handle storage. Efforts like these are continuing to gain traction, and the continued focus on scalability issues means that a solution could be coming as early as next year.