Author: Electric Capital
Translation: Felix, BlockingNews
- As of June 1, 2023, there are 21,300 active open-source developers per month.
- The number of developers has decreased by 22% since June 1, 2022.
- The developers who have recently left the crypto industry are mostly newcomers who have worked in the crypto field for less than 12 months and are responsible for less than 20% of all code commits.
- In contrast, developers who have worked in the crypto field for a year or more will continue their development. They contribute more than 80% of the code.
As of June 1, 2023, there are 21,300 active open-source developers per month. Today, the number of active developers per month is even higher than the historical high set in November 2021 in the crypto market. However, the number of developers has decreased in the past year.
- Since June 1, 2022 (1 year ago), decreased by 22%
- Since June 1, 2021 (2 years ago), increased by 25%
- Since June 1, 2020 (3 years ago), increased by 92%
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Although it has grown in the long run, what happened since June 2022?
Developers who have been working in the crypto field for more than a year continue to contribute, but many newcomers are leaving
Monthly active developers are divided into those who have worked in the crypto field for the first and last time by comparing the time when developers first and last submitted code.
- Newcomers: Developers who have worked in the crypto industry for less than a year
- Emerging Developers: Developers who have worked in the crypto field for 1 to 2 years
- Mature Developers: Developers who have worked in the crypto field for more than 2 years
Emerging developers are growing, while mature developers are stabilizing. The decline in monthly active developers last year was mainly due to newcomers.
June 2022 to June 2023:
- Newcomers: decreased by 48% (about 7,730 developers)
- Emerging Developers: increased by 44% (about 1,650 developers)
- Mature Developers: increased by 2% (about 150 developers)
Why are there fewer newcomers?
Fewer developers entering the crypto space
Firstly, the decrease in the number of newcomers is due to the decreasing number of new developers trying out the crypto industry.
Below is the monthly breakdown of new developers. In May 2023, 2,900 new developers attempted to get started with cryptocurrencies:
- Compared to February 2023: a decrease of 20%
- Compared to November 2022: a decrease of 42%
- Compared to May 2022: a decrease of 50%
Historically, retention rates for developers in bear markets are lower
Secondly, the decrease in newcomers is due to the fact that the new developers joining in 2023 do not stay for long. A chart can be drawn of the monthly retention rate for developers since January 2021.
For the majority of new developers on the list, how many months do they usually stay (<20% retention rate)?
- 2021: 6 to 10 months
- 2022: 3 to 6 months
- 2023 (to date): 3 to 4 months
The retention rate in 2023 is worse than in 2022 or 2021. However, if the scope is narrowed, the retention rate in 2023 is not abnormal.
If the retention analysis is conducted from 2015, it can be seen that developers who joined during bear markets left more quickly.
The speed at which new developers leave in 2023 is typical of bear markets compared to 2022 or 2021.
Newcomers often comprise a higher percentage during market peaks
The market cycle also explains the proportion of newcomers, emerging developers, and mature developers.
The percentage of newcomers during market peaks:
- January 2018 to June 2018: 70%
- November 2021 to June 2022: 60%
Once in a bear market, developers (both emerging and mature) who have been working in the cryptocurrency field for more than a year will account for the majority:
- January 2018 to January 2020: 60%
- November 2021 to June 2023: 60%
However, even though the overall number of monthly active developers has declined, how significant are the developers who have left?
Developers who stay in the cryptocurrency field submit more code, push code for longer days, and work in the cryptocurrency field for longer periods of time than those who leave.
If a developer has not contributed code within two months, it can be said that they have “left”.
Developers who stopped contributing after March 2023 accounted for less than 20% of the historical submission volume.
Developers who continue to contribute code have certain characteristics. By analyzing the developers who contributed in April and May 2023, it is known that:
- They contribute most of the code
- They have more active days
- They have been working in the cryptocurrency industry for longer periods of time
Let’s take a closer look at the specific details:
First, developers who recently contributed in April and May 2023 have contributed most of the code submissions in the past (80% or more).
Next, developers who contributed code in April and May 2023 pushed code for more days.
Separating the most recent departing developers from those who stayed and plotting the median number of days they actively pushed code:
- Developers who continued working: 13 active weeks
- Departing developers: 2 active weeks
Third, developers who contributed in April and May 2023 have been involved in cryptocurrencies for a longer period of time.
You can separate the recently departed developers from the remaining developers and look closely at their tenure.
Median number of days developers have been involved in cryptocurrencies:
- Developers who continue to work: 19 weeks
- Developers who left: 8 weeks
From the perspective of developers, which ecosystems have continued to grow in 2023?
Osmosis, Sui, Aptos, TON, Optimism, and Aztec Protocol have all grown year-on-year
The ecosystems with the fastest monthly growth in active developers (June 2023 compared to June 2022):
- Osmosis: +56%
- Sui: +159%
- Aptos: +90%
- TON: +102%
- Optimism: +27%
- Aztec Protocol: +267%
Related reading: Interpreting the Web3 Developer Report: Is it Suitable to Enter Web3 Under the 2022 Bear Market?