Gauging the actual value of any cryptocurrency has always been difficult. Many people look at the market cap or the value per coin. Others look at the number of network transactions and how many merchants accept it as a form of payment. Another area worth looking into is how many commits and merges are conducted by people contributing to individual currencies and projects. When looking at this metric, there are some interesting trends in existence right now.
Github Activity is Meaningful
Although the activity on GitHub is not the primary indicator of any cryptocurrency’s value, it’s not something that should be overlooked either. It should be noted that the quantity of commits is something that can be manipulated with relative ease. Changing one letter in the code or adding a non-function will serve as a commit when just looking at the numbers. Then again, when projects show very few commits over the span of a year, it is evident that there may not be much value to it after all.
To that end, there is one big currency which had literally zero GitHub commits throughout 2017. Unsurprisingly, that is Dogecoin, a currency which has seen little to no major changes for quite some time now. Assuming the community can find a new lead developer in the near future, we may finally see some activity to shake things up. At the same time, Dogecoin attained a US$1 billion market cap not too long ago. This simply confirms that developer activity is not the only contributing factor for valuations these days.
It is quite interesting to see how Ripple and XRP got a total of 271 commits throughout 2017. This further indicates that a lot of things are happening behind the scenes, even though most people willingly ignore them. It is not a cryptocurrency by any stretch of the imagination, but there’s plenty of reason to pay attention to its infrastructure. How all of these commits will pan out in the long run has yet to be determined. Ripple had more commits than Bitcoin Unlimited and BitConnect, but far fewer than most other main crypto-assets.
2017 reference impl commits & merges:
Bitcoin Core: 1,925
Bitcoin ABC: 1,104
Ethereum Classic: 895
Ethereum (geth): 833
Bitcoin Classic: 374
Bitcoin Unlimited: 218
— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) December 31, 2017
In fact, it seems there are only five currencies which saw more than 1,000 GitHub commits in the year 2017. Although 1,000 is not an official threshold, most people seem to like big numbers for some reason. Bitcoin Core is leading the charge in this regard, with 1,925 commits. It is well ahead of Litecoin (1,298), Monero (1,199), IOTA (1,166) and Bitcoin ABC (1,140). For those unaware, Bitcoin ABC is the main development branch for the Bitcoin Cash currency, as its client was used by over 85% of the network at the time of writing.
It is also interesting to see how Ethereum Classic has 62 more commits than Ethereum itself. Again, the numbers themselves do not mean all that much without gauging the actual quality of these changes, but it’s still pretty intriguing. All cryptocurrencies will need to continue evolving on a regular basis, which means developers will need to keep introducing improvements and new features over time. Which currencies will come out on top at the end of 2018 remains to be determined.
It is evident the year 2018 will be pretty interesting for all crypto-assets on the market today. It is due time we culled the wheat from the chaff, as there is a fair bit of manipulation going on right now. Coins with little to no value are pumped to oblivion whereas the ones with technical fundamentals are left behind. It is evident that the latter category will eventually win out, though, as no one can deny that cryptocurrencies and assets need a purpose first and foremost. Right now, a fair few of the “top” currencies do not serve any need.