Since it's ICO in 2014, Ethereum has grown to in my opinion become the Chain of chains. It has overtaken the Bitcoin chain to become the standard for measuring growth in the Crypto industry. Ethereum has brought the most development to the crypto industry with the number of DApps it has brought to the scene. Ethereum was single handedly responsible for DeFi summer as 95% of the DApps were on the Ethereum network. I won't write this piece and only paint Ethereum in a good light, yes it has its shortcomings. Scalability is an issue and the gas continues to price a lot of people out, but I always find it funny when I hear people say no one is using Ethereum because of the high gas fees. The opposite is the case, it is precisely because a lot of people are using the chain that causes congestion and leads to gas fees being so high. But that can definitely be improved upon for sure
But just like any market leader there is a lot of competition for Ethereum's place as the top network. Over the years we have seen a lot of projects touted as Ethereum killers and they have slowly faded into obscurity overtime for some reasons. First, every project or DApp needs users and the most users are on the Ethereum network. So no matter how much projects raise in funding to rival Ethereum and how great their product is, when there are no users it goes obsolete. Another is because most devs are on Ethereum mainnet, there are big incentives to mine and work in Ethereum than most other chains. We have seen an awful lot of projects over the years referred to as Ethereum killers.
There was EOS back in the day touted as a big Ethereum killer. EOS even without a product raised over 4 billion dollars. I will be honest, I used EOS back in the day and it was cheap and fast, it was a great place for gaming DApps and a music streaming one I knew of back then. The EOS selling point was that it could handle 1000 transactions per second while Ethereum currently handles about 30 transactions per second. EOS failed monumentally and right now it's pretty much an abandoned project with no DApps moving there, no new users and basically dragging the existing DApps there to the ground with it. I liked it at some point but saw its lapses and the shady personality of the founder and I backed out. Another big fail was Ripple. Ripple was founded years before Ethereum, was cheaper than Ethereum and could process more transactions than Ethereum. Till this day Ripple diehards still see it as a project that can match Ethereum, definitely not with a 100 billion total supply and not with a team that regularly publicly dumps tokens on their community. I was not happy for the SEC case that Ripple had, because it wasn't good for the entire crypto community, but the team at Ripple had profited way too much from dumping their tokens not to attract attention. Yes many will argue Vitalik also sold his Ethereum holding, he didn't hold half as much as the Ripple team did and he's still on the project building, unlike the Ripple guys who have practically abandoned it. Then again there was also Cardano, founded by one of the Ethereum Co-founders Charles Hoskinson and in my opinion not a competition at all. Cardano described itself as a 3rd generation platform looking to significantly improve those things that have been identified as shortcomings in 1st generation (Bitcoin — decentralized money) and 2nd generation (Ethereum — smart contracts) blockchain platforms. Cardano’s goal was to become the “Internet of Blockchains” and establish interoperability not only between block chains such as BTC, ETH and the likes but also to legacy systems of the banking world. While it was all very ambitious it was more difficult to put it into reality than it was to put on the fine print. Cardano has been promising smart contracts for the past 2 years and they went live yesterday they were still unusable. For a 3rd generation platform they are still lagging behind Ethereum even after all the peer reviews.
Recently there have been a lot of new projects touted as Ethereum killers. I will be the first to admit that Ethereum needs some competition to keep it on its toes and for Vitalik and the team to keep innovating, some of the said competition look solid while a ton of others are just pure vaporware. There are a ton of then right now, from the more popular Cosmos, to Polkadot, to Tezos, to Solana, to Avalanche, to Arbitrum, to Binance Smart Chain etc. A lot won't be here for long in my opinion.
The Binance Smart Chain had a crazy run period where at some point they rivalled and surpassed Ethereum for number of daily transactions. The cheap fees there made it very easy to use the network, but it also skyrocketed the number of scams on the network and at some point BSC became a scamming centre with lots of pumps and dumps. While BSC is centralised, I won't lie to myself and say people care about decentralisation when they can get fast fees, but BSC will not be the Ethereum killer many think they are. Some other big contenders are Solana, Polkadot, Cosmos, Arbitrum and Avalanche in my opinion. Solana has been the rave of the moment with it's crazy run and while I love it and hold the currency I will be patient to see how the comparison plays out, but I wish Solana the best. I also love Polkadot a lot and I believe it will do big things with its goal to bring interoperability. Same can be said for Cosmos, Avalanche and Arbitrum, the latter two being Ethereum L2 options. I have used both bridges and interacted with both chains and I love what I saw. Lots of DApps integrating Avalanche and Arbitrum and I am excited for the future for both of them but don't know if they can be called Ethereum killers since they use underlying Ethereum technology.
All in all, I think it's always a good idea to buy and hold solid competition tokens like AVAX, SOL, ATOM etc. If there's anything we've learned from the growth in usage of BSC it is that as the crypto market keeps growing and more people keep getting in, these other options will have their days and holders will make money, and the goal for everyone here is to make money.