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Ether and bitcoin are similar in many ways: Each is a digital currency traded via online exchanges and stored in various types of cryptocurrency wallets. Both of these tokens are decentralized, meaning that they are not issued or regulated by a central bank or other authority.
Both make use of the distributed ledger technology known as blockchain. However, there are also many crucial distinctions between the two most popular cryptocurrencies by market cap. Bitcoin was launched in January It introduced a novel idea set out in a white paper by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto —bitcoin offers the promise of an online currency that is secured without any central authority, unlike government-issued currencies.
There are no physical bitcoins, only balances associated with a cryptographically secured public ledger. Although bitcoin was not the first attempt at an online currency of this type, it was the most successful in its early efforts, and it has come to be known as a predecessor in some way to virtually all cryptocurrencies that have been developed over the past decade.
Over the years, the concept of a virtual, decentralized currency has gained acceptance among regulators and government bodies. Blockchain technology is being used to create applications that go beyond just enabling a digital currency.
Launched in July , Ethereum is the largest and most well-established, open-ended decentralized software platform. Ethereum enables the deployment of smart contracts and decentralized applications dApps to be built and run without any downtime, fraud, control, or interference from a third party. Ethereum comes complete with its own programming language that runs on a blockchain, enabling developers to build and run distributed applications.
The potential applications of Ethereum are wide-ranging and are powered by its native cryptographic token, ether commonly abbreviated as ETH. In , Ethereum launched a presale for ether, which received an overwhelming response. Ether is like the fuel for running commands on the Ethereum platform and is used by developers to build and run applications on the platform. Ether is used mainly for two purposes: It is traded as a digital currency on exchanges in the same fashion as other cryptocurrencies, and it is used on the Ethereum network to run applications.
While both the Bitcoin and Ethereum networks are powered by the principle of distributed ledgers and cryptography, the two differ technically in many ways. For example, transactions on the Ethereum network may contain executable code, while data affixed to Bitcoin network transactions are generally only for keeping notes. Other differences include block time an ether transaction is confirmed in seconds, compared to minutes for bitcoin and the algorithms on which they run: SHA for Bitcoin and Ethash for Ethereum.
Both Bitcoin and Ethereum currently use a consensus protocol called proof of work PoW , which allows the nodes of the respective networks to agree on the state of all information recorded on their blockchains and prevent certain types of economic attacks on the networks. In , Ethereum will be moving to a different system called proof of stake PoS as part of its Eth2 upgrade, a set of interconnected upgrades that will make Ethereum more scalable, secure, and sustainable.
A major criticism of proof of work is that it is highly energy-intensive because of the computational power required. Proof of stake substitutes computational power with staking—making it less energy-intensive—and replaces miners with validators, who stake their cryptocurrency holdings to activate the ability to create new blocks.
More importantly, though, the Bitcoin and Ethereum networks are different with respect to their overall aims. While bitcoin was created as an alternative to national currencies and thus aspires to be a medium of exchange and a store of value , Ethereum was intended as a platform to facilitate immutable, programmatic contracts and applications via its own currency.
BTC and ETH are both digital currencies, but the primary purpose of ether is not to establish itself as an alternative monetary system but rather to facilitate and monetize the operation of the Ethereum smart contract and dApp platform. Ethereum is another use case for a blockchain that supports the Bitcoin network and theoretically should not really compete with Bitcoin.
However, the popularity of ether has pushed it into competition with all cryptocurrencies, especially from the perspective of traders. For most of its history since the mid launch, ether has been close behind bitcoin on rankings of the top cryptocurrencies by market cap.
The Ethereum ecosystem is growing by leaps and bounds, thanks to the surging popularity of its dApps in areas such as finance decentralized finance, or DeFi apps , arts and collectibles non-fungible tokens, or NFTs , gaming, and technology. Bitcoin is primarily designed to be an alternative to traditional currencies and hence a medium of exchange and store of value. Ethereum is a programmable blockchain that finds application in numerous areas, including DeFi, smart contracts, and NFTs.
Ethereum is compared to digital silver because it is the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap and, like the precious metal, has a wide variety of applications. As of Nov. Ethereum Foundation Blog. Mine Ethereum. Your Money. Personal Finance. Your Practice. Popular Courses. Table of Contents Expand. Table of Contents. Bitcoin vs. Ethereum: An Overview. This fee varies based on how congested the network is. EIP also introduces a fee-burning mechanism.
A part of every transaction fee the base fee is burned and removed out of circulation. This is intended to lower the circulating supply of Ether and potentially increase the value of the token over time. In , Ethereum plans to switch to proof-of-stake with its Ethereum 2. This switch has been in the Ethereum roadmap since the network's inception and would see a new consensus mechanism , as well as introduce sharding as a scaling solution.
The current Ethereum chain will become the Beacon Chain and serve as a settlement layer for smart contract interactions on other chains. In late , Ethereum's Arrow Glacier update was delayed to June Until then, Vitalik Buterin expects the road to the network's endgame to be shaped by optimistic rollups and Zk-rollups.
New to crypto? Learn how to buy Bitcoin today. Want to keep track of Ethereum price live? Download the CoinMarketCap mobile app! Want to look up a transaction? Visit our block explorer. Curious about the crypto space? Read our educational section — Alexandria. In September , there were around Of these 72 million, 60 million were allocated to the initial contributors to the crowd sale that funded the project, and 12 million were given to the development fund.
The remaining amount has been issued in the form of block rewards to the miners on the Ethereum network. The average time it takes to mine an Ethereum block is around seconds. As the base fee adjusts dynamically with transaction activity, this reduces the volatility of Ethereum gas fees, although it does not reduce the price, which is notoriously high during peak congestion on the network.
With the introduction of EIP however, the base fees used in transactions are burned, removing the ETH from circulation. This means higher activity on the network would lead to more ETH burned, and the decreasing supply should lead to appreciation of Ethereum price, all things equal.
This has the potential to make Ethereum deflationary, something ETH holders are excited about — a potential appreciation in Ethereum price today. As of August , Ethereum is secured via the Ethash proof-of-work algorithm, belonging to the Keccak family of hash functions. There are plans, however, to transition the network to a proof-of-stake algorithm tied to the major Ethereum 2. After the Ethereum 2.
This number will change as the network develops and the amount of stakers validators increase. Ethereum staking rewards are determined by a distribution curve the participation and average percent of stakers : some ETH 2. The minimum requirements for an Ethereum stake are 32 ETH. If you decide to stake in Ethereum 2. Given the fact that Ethereum is the second-largest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin, it is possible to buy Ethereum , or use ETH trading pairs on nearly all of the major crypto exchanges.
Some of the largest markets include:. Alternatively, use the dedicated exchange rate converter page. Cryptocurrencies Coins Ethereum. Ethereum ETH. Rank 2. Market Cap. Fully Diluted Market Cap. Volume 24h. Circulating Supply. Max Supply. Total Supply. Buy Exchange Gaming Earn Crypto.
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