Crypto dev count up 90% since 2020, even after bear market drain

Developers who have worked in crypto for at least one year are still contributing the majority of code commits

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Mehaniq/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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There are still more monthly active developers today than before crypto markets were at all-time highs 2021.

In a half-yearly developer report by venture capital firm Electric Capital, the number of monthly active developers stood at 21,300 as of June 1. That’s 25% more when compared to the same period in June 2021 — about five months before bitcoin set record highs above $69,000. 

Overall, the number of developers declined 22% over the past year. “Newcomer developers,” those who were identified to have worked on crypto projects for less than one year, contributed the most to the drop, Electric Capital said

Those developers who have worked in crypto for at least one year continue to contribute most code commits.

A slight retrace over the past year but there’s still positive growth

“Emerging developers” had stayed active for between one and two years, while “established developers” had worked for more than two years.

Developers were considered as having left the sector if they hadn’t contributed code in at least two months. The firm reported that “developers who stopped contributing after March 2023 account for less than 20% of commits historically.”

  • Between June 2022 and June 2023, there was a 48% decrease in newcomers, representing a decline of 7,730 developers.
  • Over the same period, there has been a 44% increase in emerging developers, adding 1,650 developers.
  • Established developers witnessed a 2% increase, adding about 150 developers to the group.
Crypto developers who stick around are contributing the most

The newcomer developer cohort, on average, left after just three to four months. While retention in 2023 appears worse when compared to previous years, Electric Capital focused on trends over a long period of time.

Newcomers tend to enter the crypto scene around market highs but leave during bear markets, per the report. Veteran developers mostly stay around — maintaining 60% dominance following market peaks.

“If we look at cohort retention analysis starting from 2015, we see that developers who join during bear markets leave faster,” the firm said. “New developers left faster in 2023 than in 2022 or 2021, which is typical for the bear market.”

Recent research suggests there are almost 180,000 people (not just developers) employed by the crypto industry worldwide.


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