EOS vs Ethereum vs TRON – Which Is Best? In-Depth Review

Ethereum, EOS, and TRON are all blockchain platforms designed to support smart contracts and Dapps. But which is best? We measure 7 key metrics to find out.

In the battle for the future of the decentralized internet, three competitors have risen to the top: TRON, EOS.IO, and Ethereum.

As the longest standing and most valuable platform for decentralized applications, Ethereum remains in lead, but the other two are discussed as potential “Ethereum Killers.”

There are many other platforms besides TRON and EOS.IO that are pitted to be the death of Ethereum, such as Cardano, Stellar, NEO, and IOTA along with a ton of others.

All of these blockchain networks believe that they have what it takes to go beyond the simple currency or asset application of Bitcoin and instead become the standard infrastructure for decentralized applications (dapps) and smart contracts.

We will focus on EOS.IO and TRON here though because of their recent superiority over Ethereum in gaining more active users; a highly prized metric in the technology world!

TRONEOS.IOETHEREUM
Native CoinTronix (TRX)EOS (EOS)Ether (ETH)
Consensus MechanismDelegated Proof-of-StakeDelegated Proof-of-StakeProof-of-Work
Transactions Per Second (TPS)2000400020
Market Cap (as of 28 March 2019)$1.5 Billion$3.8 Billion$14.6 Billion
Mainnet Launch Date25 June 2018June 14 201830 July 2015
Total Raised in Crowdsale$70 Million$4 Billion$18 Million
Biggest Public ControversyPlagiarismFreezing AccountsDAO Hack
Electric Research

Though TRON, EOS, and Ethereum all have the same goal, they each differ in their approach to making their goal a reality. Who is most effective? It depends on who you are asking.

In the crypto world, where each platform has billions of dollars in investment from thousands of different stakeholders, developers, and entrepreneurs, strong tribes have formed. They all have money in the game and so obviously they want their people to win.

DISCLAIMER: AUTHOR BIAS

Every author or writer has bias and I am no exception. I have been and continue to be a firm believer in Ethereum and I also hold Ether. Therefore, I am financially motivated to increase its success and adoption.

In this article, however, I will attempt to be impartial, to stick to facts, figures, and numbers. In the Wild West world of blockchain where reliable and unbiased facts and figures are hard to come by, this is no easy feat.

Author Bias

The purpose of this article is not to argue which platform is best, but to assess each of the three networks against common criteria. The numbers and data I reference are cited and can all be independently verified. These metrics will also change quite dramatically over time so please consider this as a limited snapshot of a very long game.

Background

Ethereum

Ethereum was proposed in late 2013 by Vitalik Buterin and funded by a crowdsale or token sale in July and August 2014, which generated about $18 million USD. Ethereum’s main net, or official live system, was launched 30 July 2015. It is a decentralized and open source community project that is maintained with no formal governance, structure, or management system.

Etherum

After Bitcoin, it is the most valuable blockchain project by market capitalization and the most well-known to the general public. It is one of the first major blockchain networks built specifically for decentralized applications. Because of its name recognition and relatively long history, Ethereum sets the benchmark for new platforms. It is the platform to be dethroned and ‘killed’.

For a more in-depth look into Ethereum, check out Blokt’s Ethereum guide for 2019.

TRON

Founded by Justin Sun, TRON raised a total of $70 million before launching its main net on May 2018. According to its whitepaper, the TRON code base was originally a fork or copy of Ethereum and it uses a fork of the Solidity smart contract language, which was the programming language developed for and most popularly used on Ethereum. As a result, Ethereum smart contracts and token standards are compatible with the TRON ecosystem. TRON was developed as an answer to Ethereum’s lack of scalability:

“…as transaction volumes in Bitcoin and Ethereum peaked in 2017,it was apparent from the low transaction throughput times and high transaction fees that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum in their existing state were not scalable for widespread adoption. Thus, TRON was founded and envisioned as an innovative solution to these pressing scalability challenges.”
TRON Whitepaper
TRON Whitepaper
Tron – Decentralize the Web

The main technical difference with Ethereum is that TRON uses a different consensus mechanism for adding and verifying transactions on its network. Instead of using Proof-of-Work like Ethereum or Bitcoin where miners produce blocks for the network, TRON uses something called Delegated Proof-of-Stake where 27 elected Super Representatives produce blocks for the network.

This consensus mechanism allows TRON to achieve much faster rates of transactions than Ethereum. You can read more about the project in our extensive TRON guide.

EOS

EOS.IO was developed by a private company called Block.one. It has had the most successful crowdsale in history raising a total of $4 billion with a yearlong fundraising campaign. The EOS main net launched on June 14, 2018.

Like TRON, EOS stresses that it is a platform for decentralized applications that is scalable and usable in the real world, unlike Ethereum, which is way too slow. To achieve this scalability, EOS also relies on a Delegated Proof-of-Stake mechanism in order to confirm its transactions where 21 elected Block Producers actively maintain and build the network.

EOS

However, unlike TRON or Ethereum, EOS has zero transactions fees so is essentially free to use. EOS also uses a unique governance system that includes a written constitution and the ability to change the protocol, account access, and the constitution itself if at least 15 out of the 21 Block Producers agree.

Scalability

Besides governance, the biggest difference between these three competitors is their approach to the scalability trilemma. The scalability trilemma is essentially, how to balance scalability, security, and decentralization. It means that, out of the three, you can only choose two options while sacrificing a third.

The blockchain trilemma

A blockchain is not able to have maximum scalability, security, and decentralization at the same time. For EOS and TRON, the main selling point is their far superior capacity and ability to scale when compared to Ethereum.

Each second, it is able to handle transactions in the thousands instead of the tens, which mean they are far more user-friendly for the general public who has grown accustomed to using applications with fast speeds.

The essential argument from most Ethereum supporters is that EOS and TRON have chosen scalability and security at the expense of decentralization while Ethereum has chosen security and decentralization at the expense of scalability. Ethereum is planning to come up with many complex mechanisms in which it can become more scalable without sacrificing too much of the other two attributes.

As a result, Ethereum continues to be slow, but that will change in the future when its next level technologies are implemented.

EOS, TRON and ETC Scalability – Source: ShutterStock.com

The counter-argument is that Ethereum’s solutions do not work, will not work, and even if they do work will never be implemented. Ethereum scalability is vaporware.

The consequences of these scalability decisions show that Ethereum is and has been consistently at its maximum capacity while TRON and EOS are normally nowhere near their maximum limits.

Etherum Daily Network Utilization History

End Goal

The end goal, the main objective of all three networks is to become the de-facto decentralized internet infrastructure; the most used platform for smart contracts and decentralized applications (dapps).

Decentralized Network – Source: ShutterStock.com

The long term goal is to build and dominate this potential new market where money can be programmed and code can control and move massive amounts of value without interruption. They want to be the app store, the play store, the JavaScript, and the internet for the decentralized future, but they each have their own strategy for how to get there.

Points

In order to figure out who is winning, we have to figure out what the rules of the game are. What are we scoring and what ‘points’ matter?

Firstly, it must be established that points must be numbers. Because of biases and different points of view, the three blockchain networks should only be compared via numbers because they are, at least somewhat, objective.

Numbers are main point of comparison – Source: ShutterStock.com

Secondly, it must be accepted that even these points, which should be solid facts and numbers, are also deeply flawed. Even assuming that the source of the data is reliable and honest, the metrics themselves can be distorted, falsified, and presented in a way that is misleading.

In something as vague, ambitious, and all-encompassing as building the decentralized internet, there is no one measurement that is best. Understanding that single measurements are easily misrepresented, we will compare each protocol by a variety of different metrics in order to get a more complete picture of their ecosystem and progress.

Thirdly, we must compare each network using the same parameters.

For the general protocol, the criteria we will use are:

  • Speed measured in maximum transactions per second
  • Activity measured in average transactions per day
  • Decentralization measured in number of active nodes
  • Users measured in number of active accounts
  • Community measured in number of active developers

Since all three networks are seeking to be a platform for dapps, we will also break down the dapp activity using the criteria of:

  • Daily active users
  • Daily volume
  • Diversity measured in different dapp types used

Different Criteria for Different Folks

In the end, rankings are subject no matter how objective one tries to be. It all depends on which criteria are used. The Center for Information and Industry Development (CCID), under China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, has its own criteria of ranking blockchain networks based on basic technology, applicability, and creativity.

It released the ninth edition of its rankings, which ranks EOS, TRON, and Ethereum as number one, two, and three respectively:

CCID Blockchain Technology Assessment Index

Speed (Transactions Per Second)

Ethereum is mainly criticized by EOS and TRON and many other dapp platforms for using far inferior technology in terms of scalability, which is the capacity to handle increasing amounts of work. In the blockchain world, scalability usually means its ability to accommodate more users and more transactions per second.

Transactions per second – Source: ShutterStock.com

At its maximum capacity, EOS is able to handle 4000 transactions per second while TRON can handle 2000 per second compared to Ethereum’s measly 20 transactions per second. This discrepancy in speed is why many of the ‘Ethereum Killers’ believe that Ethereum is unusable for real-world applications and the time is ripe for Ethereum to be usurped.

What we are measuring here is maximum capacity or maximum recorded transactions per second. This is an important measurement for a blockchain network’s potential. If it is to become the new decentralized internet, it will have to accommodate millions or even billions of users and many more transactions per day.

TRONEOS.IOEthereum
Transactions Per Second (TPS)2000400020
WINNER

Problem

The question is whether maximum capacity is necessary at the moment? Bitcoin is excruciatingly slow at only 7 transactions per second, but is still worth more than 50% of the entire crypto asset market and has survived for over a decade as the top crypto asset.

Most people never reach the maximum speed of their cars even though they drive them every day. Perhaps what is actually more significant as a measurement of a network’s health is its transaction volume? How much activity occurs on the network?

Activity (Transactions/ Operations Per Day)

Transactions per day measure how much activity is happening on the network because actions occur on a blockchain network through transactions. A completed transaction confirms that an action or multiple actions have taken place.

CoinMetrics Network Data Chart

For the month of March, the average transactions per day on Ethereum was about 600,000, EOS had about 4.3 million transactions per day, and TRON had about 2.5 million transactions per day.

TRONEOS.IOEthereum
Average Transactions Per Day2,500,0004,300,000600,000
WINNER
Blocktivity Transactions Chart

Transactions are related to activity on a blockchain but are an incomplete measurement according to Blocktivity, whose chart we’ve borrowed above.

Blocktivity measures operations instead of transactions because they believe it is a more accurate way to measure activity on the blockchain and activity is what we are really trying to measure. Essentially, one transaction can contain many different operations, so activity depends on how the blockchain network functions.

According to blocktivity, EOS has over 17 million transactions per day compared to TRON’s 2 million and Ethereum’s 600,000. As you can see, TRON and Ethereum’s numbers are similar to the first source while EOS’s numbers are much higher.

TRONEOS.IOEthereum
Average Operations Per Day2,000,00017,000,000600,000
WINNER

Problem

The problem with measuring transactions or operations is that they can be faked or inflated so that a blockchain seems to be more utilized than it really is. Specifically, transactions can be meaningless or do something arbitrary especially if there are no or very minimal costs associated with every action.

Decentralization (Node Count)

Nodes are the computers that keep a blockchain network running, and their main job is to keep a copy of the history and verify that history as valid. A node is normally a single computer in a peer-to-peer network in which all the computers have equal access and rights, and directly communicate with each other.

In general, the more nodes there are in the network, the more decentralized it is. Running an active node also requires electricity, hardware, and maintenance costs, so it is a metric that is not easily distorted.

TRON Nodes in the World

TRON has 1124 nodes as of 28 March 2019. The TRON network relies on elected nodes, which function as the 27 Super Representatives to produce blocks.

In EOS, the equivalent of nodes would be block producers, and though there can only be 21 active or selected block producers at a time, they have many others on standby. The total number of active block producers and those on standby comes to 481.

EOS Block Producers

Ethereum has by far the most nodes out of the three blockchains with 8733. Unlike TRON and EOS, Ethereum relies on miners to produce blocks, so there are no ‘special’ nodes. All nodes in Ethereum are equal peers in the network, each having the same privileges and rights as the next.

Ethereum Nodes
TRONEOS.IOEthereum
Node Count11244818733
WINNER

Problem

Though more nodes generally mean more decentralization, nodes can also collude with each other or be censored. They are especially vulnerable to colluding and censorship if they are within the same physical jurisdiction and this is true for all three networks with most of their nodes concentrated in the United States, Europe, and China.

Users (Active Addresses)

An address or account is a blockchain network’s closest element to a user. Accounts are used to transact or interact on the blockchain.

TRON has 2,263,339 total accounts, and EOS has 877,469 while Ethereum has almost 60 million total accounts or addresses created.

Active Address Comparison

Active addresses normally represent accounts that have performed some type of action in a set interval of time. Ethereum has around 200,000 active addresses while EOS has around 60,000 and TRON has around 60,000 active addresses.

TRONEOS.IOEthereum
Active Addresses60,00070,000200,000
WINNER

Problem

It is important to note total addresses or accounts created do not mean total users as one user is able to create multiple addresses or accounts very easily. People can create hundreds of addresses fairly easily with very little technical knowledge or ability needed.

Active addresses are a slightly better metric in that they also attempt to incorporate transactions as part of the criteria, though it is also possible to distort this metric.

Community (Active Developers)

A strong developer community is absolutely essential for all three of these networks because the network is only as good as what is built on it and developers are the only ones that can do the actual building. Without people building on the platform, there would be nothing for users to use.

Source

Active developers are probably the hardest metric to game or inflate because a developer is normally a highly skilled person that either needs to be paid or is motivated enough to voluntarily contribute their time and energy to the project. The active developer count is also measured per month so it is more reliable as a long term metric on the health of the network’s community and ecosystem.

TRONEOS.IOEthereum
Developers working on core protocol per month25+30+99
Developers working on total project code per month (SDKs + wallets + website + api docs and examples + etc.)35+>45+216
WINNER

Problem

The main problem with counting the number developers is the difficulty in measuring the caliber or quality of developers contributing to a project. For example, a project may have fewer developers, but some of those developers may be highly gifted or more productive compared to the project with a higher quantity of developers.

Dapps

We will now compare the dapp activity since dapps are really what all three platforms want to be used for. We will compare them all for the month of March 2019. Daily data was taken on 28 March 2019 so of course the data will change if you check the sources on a different date.

Daily Active Users

Active users are the industry standard for software platforms. There are normally three ways in which this is measured, daily active users, weekly active users, and monthly active users. Here we will look at daily active users for our comparison.

EOS has the far superior daily active user numbers in March averaging about 110,000 compared to TRON’s 70,000 and Ethereum’s 11,000.

EOS’s lead in daily active users is further confirmed by other sources in which it dominates the top 5 most popular dapps measured by 24-hour usage.

TRONEOS.IOEthereum
Dapp Daily Active Users70,000110,00011,000
WINNER

Problem

The main problem with active users as a metric for a software application is interpretation. There is no single definition for what constitutes an active user. For example, Twitter once lost four million active users simply because of a software upgrade for the iPhone. Active users can also be quite temporary in that an application may be very popular one month then not be used at all the next month.

Daily Volume

Daily volume measures the amount of money or value that is moved throughout a day. It can be a measurement of activity or transactions, but it also incorporates the monetary value. Volume could increase because more value is being exchanged, transferred, or used in different applications.

This metric is difficult to compare because there are no exact numbers for each network’s total volume. However, it seems that in March, TRON was the leader out of the three with EOS a close second and Ethereum a very distant third in terms of volume. On 27 March 2019, according to dapp.review, TRON has $18.5 million in volume while EOS has $15 million, and Ethereum has $4 million.

TRONEOS.IOEthereum
Dapp Volume (27 March 2019)$18,470,000$14,910,0004,190,000
WINNER

Problem

The problem with dapp volume is similar to the problem with trying to measure “activity” through transactions or operations. Users can move money in circles as a way to inflate their numbers without actually using the dapp.

Dapp Diversity

What kinds of dapps are being used on each network? Out of the top 10 dapps by daily volume, we can get a feeling of what each platform is mainly being used for.

In Ethereum, exchanges are 6 out of the top 10 dapps. In EOS, exchanges are 2 out of the top 10 dapps. In TRON, it is 3 out of the top 10 dapps. The remaining dapps being used are mainly for gambling or high-risk activities. A wider range of popular uses means that the platform is closer to its long term goal of being used for a wide variety of different dapps.

Ratingdapp.net verifies the findings above with similar results.

TRONEOS.IOEthereum
Diversity (Non-Gambling Dapps)3 / 102 / 106 / 10
WINNER

Problem

Like in real life, the benefits of diversity are subjective. Some believe that diversity creates a healthier and more robust ecosystem while others believe it is not that important.

Summary

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is no unanimous or undisputed winner. As previously mentioned, all the metrics above are flawed in some way, and each person will have a different opinion depending on which measurements they view are important and more probably, which tokens they hold.

TRONEOS.IOEthereum
Transactions Per Second 2000400020
Average Transactions Per Day2,500,0004,300,000600,000
Average Operations Per Day2,000,00017,000,000600,000
Node Count11244818733
Active Addresses60,00070,000200,000
Developers working on core protocol per month25+30+99
Developers working on total project code per month* 35+>45+216
Dapp Daily Active Users70,000110,00011,000
Dapp Volume (27 March 2019)$18,470,000$14,910,000$4,190,000
Diversity (Non-Gambling Dapps)3 / 102 / 106 / 10

Obviously, I think Ethereum is the clear winner because it is leading in the metrics that are important in the long term such as developer count, but like I stated in the disclaimer, I am clearly biased.

You may believe that TRON is the superior blockchain network and I have neglected to include criteria that would have made TRON look far superior. Or EOS has raised so much money, and its platform is so much more active and scalable than the others that it is clearly winning. Or maybe you like NEO?

EOS vs. TRON vs. ETH Comparison Conclusion – Source: ShutterStock.com

No matter what you believe, the blockchain race is a long one and whoever is leading today may fade into oblivion next year. The good news is that if you have strong conviction on which blockchain is the best; you will be handsomely rewarded for being correct by simply buying its coin and holding onto it. Good luck!

References

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