Fantom (FTM-USD), with mainnet going live in December 2019, bills itself as an open-source, permissionless, smart contract platform that can host many decentralized applications (dApps) and digital assets. It has 80+ dApps in its ecosystem and a total value locked (TVL) of $8.91b as of February 06, 2022.
Lachesis is Fantom's unique aBFT proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus method that allows it to be significantly quicker (transactions finality in 1 second on average) and less expensive than prior technologies while maintaining high security.
Fantom is also one of the numerous operating blockchain networks designed to compete with the Ethereum network. The blocks in the Fantom blockchain are independent, and it is considered more decentralized. Each application operates on its own blockchain, connected to Lachesis.
If Ethereum is a decentralized computer, then Fantom, in comparison, is like an endless network of decentralized computers. Each node in Lachesis has its own Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG), and they reach a consensus on their own. Batches of these are then compiled and verified throughout the whole Fantom network. These nodes interact with one another to ensure that the transactions are legitimate. This allows for greater security and more importantly, makes the blockchain a lot more scalable.
Now, let's take a look at the pros and cons of Fantom blockchain.
- The Fantom mainnet is hosted by Opera in terms of smart contract functionality. This open-source platform enables Solidity-based smart contracts that work with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). To put it another way, the Fantom blockchain can "interact" with the Ethereum blockchain. Developers can build, deploy, and operate smart contracts on top of a faster consensus since it is entirely compatible with the EVM. While Polygon is similar in this regard, the Polygon network prioritizes fast staking without losing decentralization, whereas the Fantom blockchain is based on DAG technology, which allows for faster transactions and reduced costs.
- Fantom's inexpensive fee structure is one of the blockchain's most appealing features. Users transmit transactions at a fraction of the price that Ethereum presently charges. For example, transferring currency using Fantom takes only 1 second and costs $0.0000001. The average transaction time on Ethereum is 15 seconds, and the average transaction fee is $3. Developers gain from this micro-fee method since they may provide their services at a lower cost.
- Fantom has advanced smart contracts. It combines the top features of Ethereum's smart contracts with new ones. For example, Fantom advanced smart contracts can check transaction accuracy, create evidence based on behavior, and efficiently execute pre-programmed commands.
- Fantom has great adoption as it has seen impressive growth in recent months. If we look at its unique addresses chart, it has risen from 6,854 in Feb 2021 to 1,940,145 in Feb 2022. It points out a growing and vibrant ecosystem.
Fantom has launched a 370,000,000 FTM incentive program applicable to any eligible DeFi project based on Fantom to assist projects to develop sustainability. It is targeted at developers and project teams and has great rewards for them if they create new and innovative projects.
- Fantom has subpar decentralization. The Fantom block explorer shows that the network has only 58 validators as of February 2022, and I used the word "only" because Ethereum has 222,052 validators. Additionally, Fantom has a Nakamoto Coefficient of 3 (a higher value is better). In other words, it would only take three validators to corrupt the network. For comparison, see the graph below showing Nakamoto Coefficients of other blockchains.
- Fantom has a legal FUD around the use of DAG technology as they use a copy of Hedera's algorithm, and Hedera holds the patent. Because Fantom's consensus method, Lachesis, is based on babble, which is admittedly copyrighted by Hedera in the US, you can see how Fantom copied the patent algorithm. So Fantom could get sued in the US, and the US-based exchanges could then be forced to delist Fantom.
- The community heavily criticizes Fantom for not delivering on its promises. There are two main points here. One is its Fantom Virtual Machine (FVM) which was promised to be more scalable and performant than Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). Still, it is nowhere to be found. The second is transactions per second (TPS). Fantom initially said that its transaction speed was 300,000 TPS; however, it gradually decreased its promise to 4500 TPS. Fantom can still deliver on these promises, but it has been more than three years now.
Projects on Fantom
Fantom is collaborating with Chainlink on lending protocols, decentralized stablecoins, and synthetic assets, all of which are secure and scalable DeFi products. Chainlink's oracle architecture is available to all Fantom developers. The connection allows the whole Fantom ecosystem to aggregate tamper-proof real-time data from trustworthy sources for on-chain and off-chain assets.
SpookySwap is a Fantom Opera network automated market-making (AMM) decentralized exchange (DEX) with the highest TVL, making it one of the most important Fantom-based projects. This is the protocol that allows all decentralized exchanges to take place without the use of centralized exchanges.
FantomStarter aspires to be the starting point for a slew of new Fantom projects. It's a staking launchpad that guarantees investor priority through a Tier structure. In addition, the FantomStarter will expand its offerings to include DeFi, NFTs, and decentralized exchange (DEX) listings.
SuperFarm, a rapidly expanding NFT ecosystem, makes it easier for developers working on networks like Fantom to set up NFT farms and broaden the use cases for their tokens. SuperFarm provides Fantom builders with additional opportunities to engage their communities, in addition to releasing unique NFT drops for Fantom users. Builders can motivate community members to stake their tokens, receive prizes, and connect by building NFT farms using the SuperFarm platform's clear and easy interface.
Source: Coin98 Analytics
Fantom has seen massive growth in its TVL mainly because of its 370m FTM incentive program and is attracting more and more developers and projects by the day.
Source: Coin98 Analytics
Roadmap for the Future
The Roadmap is non-existent on Fantom's website, and many developers and project founders do wonder about that. FVM is the major milestone promised by Fantom to be completed, but there is still no documentation or expected date.
For the dApp and DeFi ecosystem, the Fantom network has great potential. The network has excellent speed, low cost, and several unique features, such as Fantom Liquid Staking. Furthermore, the network has the power to handle large-scale network interactions.
Success will be determined in great part by the ecosystem's expansion, which is currently unknown. Success can also depend on promises and their deliverance. Overall, as the DeFi sector matures into a more commercial level of usage, it's worth keeping a watch on Fantom.