In a move that rocked the blockchain and Bitcoin community, Microsoft made one of the biggest acquisitions in its history by purchasing GitHub for a staggering $7.5 billion. However, this has led many to break alliances with GitHub in favor of its main competitor GitLab.
It’s worth noting here that Microsoft has had its fair share of ups and downs when it comes to acquisitions. For example, Microsoft managed to get LinkedIn with seemingly effortless efficiency and was able to ensure that the company retained its operations as a separate entity to ensure a smooth transition. However, when the time came for the tech giant to take over Skype, things got a little bit shaky, as users complained about the ineffectiveness of the newly redesigned interface among other things.
That said, it would seem that Microsoft’s intentions are rather good, as the company recently expressed in a blog post that their focus is to fast-track enterprise development and help emerging developers by making developer tools more accessible to a wider audience.
In addition to this, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that “developers are the builders of this new era, writing the world’s code, and GitHub is their home.”
Nevertheless, the crypto community is not at all pleased with these new developments, and many have taken to Twitter to voice their concerns over the issue.
By now, you’ve probably come across the #movingtogitlab hashtag on social media as many developers proudly announce their move to GitHub’s competitor.
Meanwhile, GitHub is doing the most to try and keep people on board with ridiculous offers like 75% discount for new users who sign up for their Gold and Ultimate membership plans.
What is GitHub?
GitHub is a much-loved platform for developers and geeks alike. Even so, not many people truly understand what this company actually does.
The “Git” in GitHub
Before we get into what GitHub does, let’s take one step back to learn about Git itself. The open source version control system known as Git was invented by Linus Torvalds, who’s also the same guy that created Linux. In case you’re wondering, yes Git works in the same way as other version control systems such as Mercurial, CVS and Subversion.
Still not clear on what Git does as a version control system?
You see, whenever a developer is building something like an app or a similar product, they change the code constantly which is why you’ll find that they issue out new versions of the product until the official release and in most cases, even way beyond the launch date.
What a version control system does is that it stores the revisions in the correct sequence and keeps them in a central repository. This, in turn, makes it easier for developers to work together to develop the product using the latest version of the software as a reference. Afterward, they upload the modified software onto the repository so that other developers can see it and make their own contributions to it.
Likewise, other people who’re interested in the app but are uninvolved in the development process can still access the files by downloading and using them. Users of Git or Mercurial follow the same process when downloading files for program compilation prep via source code, and most Linux users are highly familiar with this method.
What made Git so popular over the years are all the advantages that it provides to users when compared with similar systems. With Git, users can rest assured that file integrity will be maintained while enjoying the efficient storage of file changes.
The “Hub” in GitHub
So far, we’ve shown that Git is a highly popular version control system and that it’s much preferred over its competitors. However, what exactly sets GitHub apart from the rest? Well, for one Git is centered around GitHub which enables developers to collaborate with each other while making sure that their projects are stored in a safe space.
The Jump to GitLab
Why are so many developers leaving GitHub for GitLab? The thing is that the cypherpunks who were the first to embrace Bitcoin are all about decentralization, so the whole idea of having a corporate giant like Microsoft taking over this much-loved platform in the crypto community is unimaginable for many.
Bad News for GitHub, Good News for GitLab
GitLab saw a rise in activity as soon as the merger was publicly announced. Grafana, a platform that provides statistical insights into GitLab, reports that developers are bringing in thousands of code repositories and projects into the platform by the hour.
Of course, GitLab is very happy with the inflow of new users. Even though they’re struggling to keep up with the new growth, they’re working around the clock to scale the operation so that users can enjoy a more seamless transition.
For those crypto community members who are not patient enough to wait for GitLab to adjust its operations, there’s another alternative known as Keybase.
Still, it remains to be seen whether or not Microsoft has learned from the mistakes it did with Skype and whether they’ll be able to avoid the backlash in time.
Tracking the GitHub Activity of Crypto Projects
It’s quite interesting to analyze GitHub’s activity when you consider its effect on crypto projects and ICOs.
It’s no secret that there aren’t enough hours in the day as it is for developers to work on their projects, and the ability to have all hands-on deck collaborating on a specific project leads to several different effects:
- You have a team that really believes in the success of the project all working together on it
- The project is able to deliver a bigger number of features
- There are fewer chances of coming across exit scams
It’s worth noting here that while developer activity can be simulated with the right amount of resources, it is doubtful that developers would go through such lengths and spend that much money just on staging a scam. Not only that but simulating developer activity can actually compromise the integrity of your project and will be easily recognizable by everyone that checks your public GitHub.
Also, there are a few companies that are dedicated to project comparison and to track dev activity, that when you follow up on, have some really troubling stats.
Did Particl Beat Ethereum in Dev Activity?
According to https://cryptomiso.com, the Particl project could be the new ETH as it boasts a higher volume of git commits than Etherium. This definitely looks like an opportunity to capitalize on.
However, when you start to follow the trail of breadcrumbs to find the source of these findings, you’ll see that Particl actually split the Bitcoin source code, thus ‘inheriting’ their purported contributors and commits.
Surprisingly enough, this is not the first time that this has happened:
- DigiByte - Holds the 8th place in CryptoMiso and is known for copying and pasting the Bitcoin source code
- ChainCoin - Holds the 18th place in CryptoMiso. It’s known for splitting the Bitcoin code and has seen its commits fall to a meager 30. That said, it still holds a better ranking than Ethereum.
- GlobalCoin - Holds the 22nd place and is known for splitting the Bitcoin code, which has led to a significant drop in activity lately.
It’s important to note here that CryptoMiso only follows one of the source code Ethereum storehouses, which gives it a very fragmented picture of what’s really going on within the project. The Ethereum project itself has a whole lot of active repos if you look closely.
The above information tells us that comparing projects is not exactly a cut-and-dried process. One has to place each project under the microscope on an individual basis to notice irregularities and figure out whether or not you can do anything about it.
Some prefer Coincheckup for project comparison, but even that platform seems compromised when because Particl and DigitByte are ranked 12th and 8th respectively, while Ethereum reportedly comes behind Bitcoin Gold and similar projects, most of which haven’t seen even one commit in the past month.
One also has to keep in mind the fact that it’s fairly easy these days to fake commits, which some people do to decorate their GitHub profiles with pixel art.
Is There a Better Way?
As you can see, tracking commits is not the most effective method. Santiment uses a different strategy which involves calculating the number of GitHub events that have been produced by the project.
These events could be:
- Code push volume (in numbers)
- The quantity of open-sourced repos
- The quantity of pull request exchanges —add/delete/edit remarks in PRs
- The volume of GitHub wiki edits
- Commentary volume on commits
- Amount of issue interactions visible
Here’s what you’ll get when following this approach:
- It’s impossible to just “inherit” the events of a forked repository
- There’s no way for you to change your track record
- Development activity is not just about coding, but it also involves reporting problems that arise during code changes — including GitHub events
Regarding performance, our methodology is quite efficient. Just try doing some crypto comparing on https://sanbase-low.santiment.net/currencies (hit “Dev Activity 30d” to organize by dev activity). Ethereum leads the pack with pretty normal activity, with contributions coming in from all sides and into its various repositories. After that, you have the usual suspects like Bitcoin, Steem, and Cardano, while Bitcoin Gold and DigiByte are eating dust way, way at the back.
Follow the same process to check out ERC20 tokens on https://sanbase-low.santiment.net/projects. Right off the bat, you see a BAT, EOS, Golem and TRON (which is not having the best run by the way).
From the looks of things, it makes more sense to track events than it does to track commits because then you don’t have to deal with the drawbacks mentioned above. You’ll also get to see that certain ERC20 projects generate more dev activity than blockchain platforms. This is a clear indicator of all the brains behind the ETH platform.
This Website Ranks 600 Cryptocurrencies by GitHub Activity
There are a lot of different methods that you can use to analyze and compare cryptocurrencies, from looking at trading volume to market cap. A lot of prospecting traders choose to dig deeper to discover unknown things. GitHub activity enables you to identify which projects are being developed and which ones have died natural deaths. While it’s still considered to be a new kid on the block, CryptoMiso notes and charts commits are being made on GitHub for over 600 cryptos, which is why there are always a few unexpected players in its top 10.
Crypto Commits Ranked and Rated
There are currently 611 cryptocurrencies which are being tracked and listed on CryptoMiso, and this platform maps the frequency which is used to update their codebase. Factors like developer activity are used to determine who the top five performers are, and these are often associated with projects that will be launched soon or are still in development. The most important among these is Cardano, which boasts 51 contributors and 6,500 commits, closely trailed by Lisk, Waves 0x and EOS. After that comes GlobalToken which has a market cap of only $350,000 and is only available on CoinExchange, followed by Bitcoin.
With GitHub’s commit frequency, all you see is the overall upkeep of the core code without knowing what the quality of those updates is like. For instance, the addition of Lightning Network support will pretty much have the same score as a minor bug fix. That said, CryptoMiso is still a valuable tool to use if you want to get the gist of a crypto’s developer support.
The Roll of Shame
Top ranking coins can be considered as good projects, whereas those that find themselves at the bottom of the list still have to put it a whole lot of work. It’s not exactly surprising to see cryptos like TittieCoin and BigUp sitting at 608 and 609 respectively, and FedoraCoin, which holds the 586th spot is not looking good either. That said, there are a few wild cards like Red Pulse, a recently launched crypto which has managed to get only 1 GitHub commit in all the months that it has been around. The same story is with Substratum.