You’ve been hearing about Bitcoin for years now, your friends bought bitcoin early while the price was still low, they were continuously looking at their phones and checking the price at every opportunity, even at the dinner table. Then prices crashed, you were relieved that you didn’t buy bitcoin, maybe it was all a bubble or a fad.
Fast forward 6 months, the Bitcoin price is back over $11 000 and Ethereum is back to $314, maybe it wasn’t a fad? Maybe it’s time to buy? But which one should you buy – Bitcoin vs Ethereum?
Let’s take a look at the key differences between the two cryptocurrencies:
At the outset Bitcoin and Ethereum have different stated missions, Bitcoin wanting to be decentralized digital sound money and Ethereum vying for the decentralized application platform crown. Bitcoin as decentralized money, with no central point of failure, borderless and censorship-resistant is easy to understand but is a little more difficult for some to grasp.
Ethereum is best described as a world computer or state machine which consists of many computers connected in a decentralized fashion that agree on the state of the entire ledger which includes applications that run on top of it every time a block is confirmed. These applications can be as simple as a single line of code or much more complicated such as a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange (DEX).
|Block time||10 minutes||15 seconds|
|Circulating Supply||17,779,650 BTC||106,636,106 ETH|
Bitcoin was the first blockchain or Cryptocurrency to gain public attention and lead the pack since 2009. The brand itself is well known, it is associated with stability and reliability. One could argue that it is a great example of the Lindy Effect, whereby it is theorized that the longer a digital item or idea exists the longer its life expectancy will be. In other words the longer the bitcoin protocol and network continue to work, the less likely it is to die.
The younger Ethereum blockchain may not be as old and established as bitcoin but it is fast and nimble, it has grown from strength to strength at breakneck speed and has forked in many improvements since its first iterations. Even Though it has only been out in its public form since 2015 it has attracted the biggest developer community around it due to the ease of developing Dapps on its platform.
Block confirmation times on Ethereum are much faster than Bitcoin, 15 seconds vs 10 minutes. This allows much more transaction throughput and is better suited for running applications that likely need to interact with the blockchain more frequently.
Although Bitcoins longer confirmation times may seem inconvenient at first, it’s important to remember that it serves a different purpose, namely, providing a safe medium of exchange of sound money. So it comes down to what are you looking to do, run an application that requires speed and maybe less intense security or, as with bitcoin, are you looking to store or move wealth.
Due to Bitcoins scarcity and capped supply at 21 million coins, it is said to be the best sound money that currently exists today, even better than gold which is scarce but not necessarily capped in supply. There are currently only 17 779 650 BTC in circulation making it extremely rare. Ethereum works differently, it has no cap or limit on the amount of Ethereum that will be minted. Every 15-20 seconds 5 eths are produced and released into the circulating supply which is now sitting at 106,636,106 ETH.
Which one should I buy: Bitcoin vs Ethereum? Well, it depends on your reasons for buying it but If you are looking for a more scarce digital asset then Bitcoin is probably the way to go, if you are looking for a more affordable coin perhaps go for Ethereum but always remember you can buy a fraction of each instead of putting all your eggs in one basket!
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