Remember the “Silicon Valley Tech Bubble”? In the early- to mid-2000s, the San Francisco Bay Area gave birth to some of the most storied and successful technology companies the world has ever seen. Facebook, Google, Salesforce, Twitter, Tesla, Lyft — the list itself could take up half of this article. From the palpable energy to the networking potential, one thing was certain: San Francisco was the place to be.
For many, present-day San Francisco has lost its allure. Across the city, the cost of living continues to surge. The remaining inhabitants are cobbling together money to afford the egregiously high rates and are constantly browsing Zillow to see where the grass is greener. Suffice it to say, San Francisco has become unlivable for the working class and is no longer suitable, much less ideal, for many new and existing companies. Although it gave us early tech platforms, the overcrowded, overpriced locale clings to its reputation and the memory of what it once offered.
This isn’t to bash the city of San Francisco but, instead, to highlight the allure of what is becoming San Francisco 2.0: Austin, Texas. The cheaper, sleeker city of Austin is siphoning off a high volume of San Francisco’s best companies and brightest people. Sound familiar? The blockchain community is in the midst of a similar shift.
If you’re a developer, Ethereum was your San Francisco — you had to build there. Ethereum hosts many of the most notable decentralized apps available today and truly outlined the blueprint for smart contract development. Present-day Ethereum looks very different.
Much like the city of San Francisco, Ethereum is becoming far too crowded and far too overpriced to retain its population. The limited scalability is forcing users to explore alternative options to circumvent the excessive gas prices and avoid network congestion. To maintain the analogy: Developers are looking for their Austin, Texas.
In the blockchain ecosystem, the equivalent of Austin can be seen in the likes of similarly attractive chains like Solana, Binance Smart Chain or Polkadot, to name a few. The rise of nonfungible tokens has even brought newer chains, like Flow, to the forefront as an alternative option.