Australia’s most successful crypto founder says he was blindsided by the rise of competing layer 1 smart contract platforms such as Avalanche and Solana.

Synthetix founder Kain Warwick told an audience at Blockchain Week in Melbourne on Wednesday that Ethereum maximalists like himself used to consider competitors like Binance Smart Chain as “a laughingstock” and a joke because it was filled with empty blocks and wasn’t been used for anything.

“And then you just had this tipping point; fees were so high on L1 (mainnet Ethereum), that people have no choice — new entrants had to go to a different chain.”

These platforms started to gain traction and develop organic communities, even on BSC, Warwick said.

“Now there are people like, Avalanche maxis, which I did not predict that that would happen, right?” he said.

“But there’s people who only exist in the Avalanche ecosystem. They don’t want to go to Ethereum. They don’t care about Solana, they’re like deep Avalanche people.”

That fragmentation was unexpected, he told the crowd at Marvel Stadium.

“It’s our job as Eth maxis, as people building in the Ethereum ecosystem, to work out a way to repatriate them, bring them back and have this homecoming back to like the mothership or whatever,” Warwick said.

“So that’s what we’re working on and I think we’ll get there, because the Ethereum scaling roadmap is much more robust than many of the other ones, and a lot of the other ones are already having scaling issues.”

Warwick didn’t name names, but Solana in particular has struggled with network instability on several occasions over the past few months.

‘Very humbling’

Synthetix has been building on a layer 2 Ethereum scaling solution called Optimism, one of several competing “optimistic rollups,” a method of combing transactions together so they don’t have to be confirmed individually.

Ethereum is also scheduled to merge with its proof-of-state “beacon chain” this quarter, likely in June, and adopt a solution called “sharding” next year that should dramatically improve its scalability.

“I think we will get to a point by the end of the year, where Ethereum is actually cheaper to use than a lot of these things,” Warwick told Ethereum advocate Anthony Sassano.

“At that point, the value prop for an alt l1 really starts to fall away. That’s my story anyway.”

Sassano admitted it was “naive” to think that users wouldn’t flee Ethereum when the cost of transactions had skyrocketed to hundreds of dollars. After mocking Eth’s rivals as “ghost chains,” it was “very humbling” to watch, he added.

Warwick said that while the Ethereum community had been “overly optimistic” about the time it would take to deliver its scaling roadmap, “I do think we are finally here.”