Crypto’s Adolescence: Smart Contract Blockspace Becomes a Commodity

25 December 2023

Messari’s Latest Newsletter Explores the Evolution of the Crypto Industry

In its latest newsletter, Messari, a prominent market intelligence company, delves into the current state of the crypto industry, highlighting Ethereum’s position as the strongest network and emphasizing the evolving nature of smart contract blockspace. CEO Ryan Selkis describes this phase as crypto’s adolescence, suggesting a paradigm shift in developers’ approach to blockchain platforms. This article examines Messari’s analysis, exploring the bullish case for Ethereum and the resurgence of Solana as a significant player in the industry.

Bullish Case for Ethereum:

Decentralization and Ethereum’s Strengths

Messari’s report predicts a decentralization away from Ethereum by developers, who are expected to gravitate towards lower-cost and higher-performance blockchains. However, Selkis outlines a bullish case for Ethereum, emphasizing its long-established network reliability, liquid ecosystem, and impressive $300 billion market cap, which is ten times higher than its closest smart contract network competitor. These factors make Ethereum an attractive option for developers utilizing rollups and bridges, ensuring its significance in the evolving blockchain ecosystem.

Traditional Finance Embracing Ethereum

Ethereum’s potential success in 2024 is closely tied to its adoption by traditional finance (TradFi). Messari suggests that Ethereum’s clean and environmentally friendly narrative positions it as an appealing option for Wall Street. Selkis anticipates the fast follow-up of an Ethereum ETF, mirroring the trend observed with Bitcoin. With a net deflationary supply and an annual fee generation of approximately $300 million, Ethereum’s appeal to traditional financial institutions becomes increasingly evident.

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Ethereum’s Adaptability and Chaotic Good Nature

Messari characterizes Ethereum as a “Chaotic Good” network, thriving on volatility and chaos. While Bitcoin is often seen as a bet against bankrupt central banks, Ethereum represents a bet against morally bankrupt investment banks, according to Selkis. This depiction highlights Ethereum’s adaptability in the face of geopolitical uncertainties, further solidifying its position in the industry.

Solana: Back From Dead

Resurgence and Tech Upgrades

Solana, once plagued by skepticism following the FTX collapse, has emerged as the crypto industry’s comeback player of the year. The ecosystem experienced a remarkable resurgence, marked by a rapid stream of new product releases, increased on-chain liquidity, and improved developer tools. Notable tech upgrades, including local fee markets, QUIC, and stake-weighted QOS, significantly reduced Solana’s downtime compared to 2022.

Focus in 2024

Looking ahead, Solana’s focus in 2024 will be on performance enhancements through Firedancer and Sig, the development of light clients with Tinydancer, and the deployment of the token-22 standard, extending Solana token functionalities.


Messari’s analysis provides valuable insights into the current state of the crypto industry, emphasizing Ethereum’s strength and potential for success in 2024. The expected decentralization away from Ethereum by developers is seen as a natural evolution, while Solana’s resurgence showcases the industry’s dynamism. As the crypto industry enters its adolescence, the concept of smart contract blockspace as a commodity represents a paradigm shift that will shape the future of blockchain platforms.

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