When someone mentions decentralised apps (DApps) or blockchain smart contracts, the first name that comes to mind is Ethereum. Many in the industry still regard this blockchain network as the undisputed leader of the DApp world. However, there is one blockchain that by now has more DApps, more network addresses, and more transaction volumes than Ethereum, and that network is the BNB Chain (BNB). Part of Binance Holding’s vast crypto empire, BNB Chain can now raise serious objections to any mention of Ethereum as the top smart contract platform.
BNB Chain (BNB) and Its Origins
The BNB Chain (BNB) is a blockchain platform that was launched in early 2022 as a result of the merger of two previously separate, though closely related, chains – the Binance Chain and the Binance Smart Chain.
Both parent chains for BNB were owned by Binance Holdings, a corporate entity that also owns the world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance. The unification move was likely driven by the desire to solidify the Binance ecosystem’s competitive position in the crypto market. The Binance Chain, introduced along with the Binance exchange in 2017, was a platform used largely for fee payments on the exchange.
The Binance Chain didn’t have smart contract functionality. As Ethereum and other smart contract-capable chains grew in popularity, Binance realised the need for a platform capable of supporting smart contracts.
In 2020, Binance introduced the Binance Smart Chain (BSC), a blockchain capable of hosting and executing smart contracts. BSC was much faster and cheaper to use compared to Ethereum. These advantages of the platform led to its quick growth. Within a few months of its launch, BSC became Ethereum’s main competitor, as measured by the number of DApps.
In early 2022, the BNB Chain was born out of the merger of the Binance Chain and BSC. All the DApps and smart contract functionality available at BSC were ported to the BNB Chain. Just a few months after the merger, the new unified BNB Chain surpassed Ethereum by the number of functioning DApps. By now, BNB is home to over 4,700 DApps, more than any other blockchain. The BNB and Ethereum duo are far ahead of any other blockchain platform by the number of DApps hosted.
The top 4 blockchains by the number of DApps as of 15 May 2023 (based on data from DAppRadar.com)
BNB Chain’s Cryptocurrency
The BNB coin is the blockchain’s native cryptocurrency. BNB is one of the largest coins in the world by market cap. It is currently in the 4th spot, with a market cap of nearly $50 billion. Only the crypto world’s top duo, Bitcoin and Ethereum, and the world’s leading stablecoin, USDT, are ahead of BNB in the market cap rankings.
BNB’s functionality on the BNB Chain is quite similar to that of Ether (ETH) on the Ethereum blockchain. The BNB coin is used for transaction fee payments for crypto transfers and cross-DApp operations on the network.
Unlike Ether, BNB is a capped coin, with a maximum allowed supply of 200 million. Its current total and circulating supply are around 158 million.
BNB also has a unique feature among the top cryptos – the coin’s operational mechanism includes regular quarterly burn events. During each burn event, a fraction of the BNB supply is burnt, i.e., permanently taken out of the coin’s supply. Binance plans to run the quarterly BNB burn events until the coin’s total supply is reduced to 100 million.
Thanks to its regular supply-reducing burn functionality, BNB is considered perhaps the most deflationary among the top cryptos. This attracts many crypto investors who value deflationary characteristics in a crypto as a protection against future value declines.
BNB Chain’s Ownership
Binance Holdings Limited is the owner company behind the BNB Chain, as well as the Binance crypto exchange and a number of other crypto entities. The company was founded in 2017, when the crypto exchange was launched.
Binance Holdings was founded by a Chinese-Canadian software developer and entrepreneur, Changpeng Zhao, and a Chinese businesswoman, Yi He. Zhao is the company’s CEO, while He heads the marketing function. Of the two co-founders, Changpeng Zhao (also known as CZ) is undoubtedly the more recognised name in the crypto industry.
The top smart contract blockchain by the number of DApps and transaction volumes; the 4th highest capped crypto; and a key element of the Binance crypto empire – all these are the BNB Chain and its native coin, BNB. While Ethereum and Bitcoin remain the top names in the news headlines, the BNB Chain, using the corporate dexterity of Binance, is confidently growing its share in the market.