Anyone who is even vaguely familiar with the concept of digital currencies knows that Bitcoin is the coin that started everything. In fact, for the majority of people, Bitcoin is the only crypto they’ve ever heard about. Apart from being the first cryptocurrency created, Bitcoin has also become a source of inspiration for new crypto projects and the standard by which all the other coins in the market are being measured.
Backed by its first-mover advantage, Bitcoin has been in the lead since the very beginning, with the highest market share and popularity, and never once has it dropped to number two. Taking all these aspects into consideration, one can easily think of Bitcoin as the most successful crypto in the industry’s short but eventful history.
However, there are reasons to believe that the greatest crypto story ever written doesn’t have Bitcoin as a protagonist, but another cryptocurrency that emerged when digital assets were no longer a novelty. Ethereum is considered by many crypto experts and analysts as the most successful crypto to date, despite the huge discrepancy between the Ethereum price and the Bitcoin price.
But if Ethereum has always been second to Bitcoin, what would qualify it as the best project in the cryptocurrency sphere? If you’re not familiar with Ethereum and its strong suits, we’re here to put you up to speed with it all and explain why this altcoin has what it takes to make history in the crypto world.
What is Ethereum?
Ethereum can be described as a decentralized blockchain platform that has its own native cryptocurrency called Ether (ETH) and provides smart contract functionality which allows the development and deployment of decentralized apps (dApps) and a host of other decentralized products and services.
As the platform grew in popularity, people started to use the terms Ethereum and Ether interchangeably, although they designate different things. Ethereum refers to the network which supports an entire ecosystem of applications, while Ether is the digital currency that powers the platform and facilitates operations on it.
Therefore, people use ETH to gain access to the platform and all its features. Others employ it as an alternative to fiat money, to purchase goods/services from providers that accept crypto payments, or as an investment vehicle to generate a profit by speculating on ETH price movements.
Over the years, many have drawn comparisons between Bitcoin and Ethereum, trying to figure out which of the two cryptos is stronger or has greater potential. Most analyses declared Bitcoin as the absolute winner, if not for anything, at least for being in the game longer than any other digital currency and having the biggest market capitalization of them all.
Its staggering popularity also played an important role in the equation. However, there have also been voices claiming that Ethereum could surpass Bitcoin at one point, and although this hasn’t happened so far, it can’t be ruled out it won’t happen in the future.
What does Ethereum have over other cryptos?
For the uninitiated, it would be easy to brush off Ethereum as just another crypto project in the market, albeit a very popular one. However, once you start looking under the surface, you come to realize that Ethereum stands in a category of its own, being inherently different from other cryptocurrencies, and that’s where its appeal stems from. But what exactly makes Ethereum stand out from the rest of the players in the industry? To answer that, we need to go back to Ethereum’s early days.
Ethereum drew inspiration from Bitcoin’s model, as all other cryptos do, but its purpose was different from the very beginning. When Vitalik Buterin envisioned Ethereum, he thought of a platform that could move beyond the limited sphere of financial applications. In other words, Buterin wanted to create a platform that people could use to create all sorts of decentralized products, not just another digital currency that could serve as a form of payment or investment. And by the looks of it, Buterin achieved his goal when he launched Ethereum in 2015.
As an open-source decentralized blockchain platform with smart contract functionality, Ethereum become home to an ever-growing ecosystem of financial products, dApps and other assets, including non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and a variety of digital coins.
What’s more, Ethereum’s diverse applications allow the platform to expand its use cases across a wide range of industries and sectors such as healthcare, transportation or supply chain management. Its real-world utility makes Ethereum much more valuable than other crypto projects such as Bitcoin whose use cases are limited.
Two years after its inception, Ethereum registered a growth of over 13,000%, reaching its all-time high of $4,815 on November 9, 2021. This proves that it didn’t take long for people to become aware of Ethereum’s huge potential and start using the platform and its native token.
In time, Ethereum established itself as a place for innovation in the crypto industry, with developers constantly focusing on improving various aspects of the network, from scalability to sustainability. This has led to the implementation of numerous updates and upgrades that have helped the platform reach its ambitious goals.
The Merge, the most notable of Ethereum upgrades to date, saw the platform transition from a mining-based proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism to a more energy-efficient, scalable proof-of-stake (PoS) protocol. This helped Ethereum score a few more points with traders and investors given that sustainability has been a hot topic of debate in the crypto space over the past few years.
As you can see, despite being a young project, Ethereum has managed to achieve great things in a relatively short time span. From smart contract functionality to flexibility, scalability and utility, all these characteristics converge to make Ethereum a one-of-a-kind platform with limitless potential. If Ethereum stays on this path and continues to focus on enhancing its infrastructure, it might come to dominate the entire crypto sphere one day.