Despite similar price action, Fantom and Optimism ecosystems are moving in opposite directions and this is reflected in each token’s price.
The price action of Optimism (OP) and Fantom (FTM) tokens have been quite identical since the last quarter of 2022. The difference is, volatility is slightly higher for OP, which surged 240% year-to-date, compared to the 180% gains seen in FTM.
The Fantom Foundation has made several improvements since Q4 2022, which have catalyzed an uptrend in the token’s price. However, Fantom’s ecosystem remains primitive while its competitors expanded to support new use cases.
On the other hand, Optimism has shown robust community and decentralized application (dApp) development thanks to the loyalty of Ethereum developers and the Optimism Foundation’s effective strategy in aligning token incentives with governance.
OP/USD (orange) and FTM/USD (blue) price chart. Source: TradingView
Fantom’s ecosystem development stalls
The Fantom ecosystem received an adverse blow in early 2022 due to the departure of leading DeFi architect Andre Cronje. The blockchain’s ecosystem development stalled after Cronje’s departure. At the same time, Fantom’s competitors, like Polygon (ATOM), Arbitrum and Optimism continued to host various popular applications.
Cronje rejoined Fantom development efforts in November 2022, however, it appears it was too late by then. The lack of sustainable yields in a bear market has restricted liquidity inflows to Fantom.
Fantom TVL over time. Source: DefiLlama
The Fantom community also aimed to improve the quality of decentralized applications on the blockchain through an ecosystem development fund built by reducing the portion of burnt fees from 20% to 5% in December. While the number of smart contracts created on Fantom has spiked significantly since Q3 2022, the quality of dApps still needs to improve compared to its competitors.
Number of smart contracts created on Fantom. Source: Dune
The 30-day activity billboard from Nansen shows that top dApp activity on Fantom was limited to simple swaps, which is discouraging as other activities like derivatives trading, social media platforms and NFT trading are prospering on competing chains like Arbitrum, Polygon, and Optimism.
The most used dApps on Fantom between Jan. 20, 2023, and Feb. 20, 2023, is XEN Crypto, a free mint Ponzi scheme-like application. The application first appeared on Ethereum in October 2022 with a lot of excitement in the first few days of launch. However, the hype subsided after the mint became unprofitable as many users crowded the platform.
Top Fantom dApps by usage in the last 30 days. Source: Nansen
Optimism developers find success with new use cases
At the same time, Optimism has successfully attracted liquidity and activity to its ecosystem after launching the Optimism token and accompanying airdrop campaigns. In April 2022, the Optimism team stated there would be a “season of airdrops,” and launched an Optimism Quest campaign.
The layer-2 network saw increased usage from users for collecting its non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which would likely make them eligible for the airdrop. The Quests ended in January 2023, following which there was a steep decline in activity. However, the DeFi liquidity remained sticky.
The total liquidity on Optimism. Source: DefiLlama
Moreover, the list of most used decentralized applications on Optimism includes yield platform Pool Together, derivatives platforms Synthetix and Perpetual Protocol and leading lending platform Aave.
Optimism also hosts a decentralized blogging platform, Mirror, which allows content writers to issue their articles as NFTs. The platform has gained significant usage, with 2.7 million hits on its website.
Top Optimism dApps by usage in the last 30 days. Source: Nansen
Comparing the tokenomics of FTM and OP
One drawback of the Optimism token is that it is only a governance token and doesn’t entitle users to real yields in gas fees. The OP tokens’ supply will inflate at 2% per year, along with investor and team unlocks, starting April 2023.
However, the Optimism team has incentivized participation in governance, which improves the protocol’s governance and also aligns incentives with its intended use, i.e., higher voter participation.
Optimism’s governance has proved more efficient than competitors like Uniswap (UNI) and Compound (COMP) in promoting decentralization. The layer-2 network’s ecosystem is also expanding by supporting diverse applications. Optimism also stands to benefit from Arbitrum’s native token launch, which can likely add fuel to the layer-2 token narrative, pushing the OP token’s price higher.
Related: Vitalik shows support for Optimism’s governance structure and OP gas proposal
For Fantom, despite implementing a burn feature in its protocol, the real yield of the platform is still negative, around -0.93%. The blockchain’s fees and liquidity must improve considerably to enhance the value of FTM. Otherwise, it risks becoming irrelevant alongside many other layer-1 protocols in the market.
Technically, FTM can see more upside while it holds support above $0.38 and target the $0.95 support and resistance area. A breakdown below $0.38 could see it dropping toward $0.19.
FTM/USD weekly chart. Source: TradingView
For OP, its price surged above its previous peak of $2.30, which will now act as a support for further upside as it experiences a price discovery. On the flipside, a breakdown below this level could see the token’s price drop toward $1.30.
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