Special thanks to Karl Floersch, Aya Miyaguchi and Mr Silly for ideas, feedback and review.
The Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchain ecosystems both spend far more on network security - the goal of proof of work mining - than they do on everything else combined. The Bitcoin blockchain has paid an average of about $38 million per day in block rewards to miners since the start of the year, plus about $5m/day in transaction fees. The Ethereum blockchain comes in second, at $19.5m/day in block rewards plus $18m/day in tx fees. Meanwhile, the Ethereum Foundation's annual budget, paying for research, protocol development, grants and all sorts of other expenses, is a mere $30 million per year. Non-EF-sourced funding exists too, but it is at most only a few times larger. Bitcoin ecosystem expenditures on R&D are likely even lower. Bitcoin ecosystem R&D is largely funded by companies (with $250m total raised so far according to this page), and this report suggests about 57 employees; assuming fairly high salaries and many paid developers not being counted, that works out to about $20m per year.
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