Most people with little to no knowledge of cryptocurrencies would have still heard of Bitcoin, such has been the token’s rise over the last year or so. However, while Bitcoin remains the pre-eminent cryptocurrency globally, there are several others that are also quite interesting and may actually have even better growth prospects than Bitcoin in the years to come, and one of them is Ethereum, which is the second-largest cryptocurrency in the world by market capitalization.
Ethereum has had a similar price trajectory to that of Bitcoin during this time period, and there are actually several companies and sectors which are using Ethereum and its underlying blockchain due to the benefits it has, over Bitcoin. The Ethereum blockchain supports smart contracts, which is one of the biggest reasons for its popularity and potential, and we have seen how the Winz online casino, as an example, is using Ethereum to improve its operations and the customer experience through this. It has launched a new promotion called Ethereum Adventure, which will definitely be a hit with crypto and online gambling fans, and this is just one instance of online casinos using Ethereum to expand and improve the fan experience.
Ethereum came into existence in 2015, and it was founded via crowdfunding, which shows how collaboration was a hallmark of the early days of the crypto industry. It has grown since then to become one of the most popular crypto tokens in the world today, and the Ethereum Alliance, or EEA, which is a non-profit organization consisting of 116 members, is now one of the key groups that coordinates the development, distribution and use of the Ethereum block in the industry. The likes of Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, BNY Mellon, Accenture, ING, Deloitte and Intel are part of the EEA, which is a great indicator of the support this token already has among the biggest companies in the world. One of the biggest advantages that Ethereum offers over Bitcoin is that there are several methods of exchange for Ethereum, including its cryptocurrency, known as Ether, as well as smart contracts and the Ethereum Virtual Machine. Ethereum also uses a ‘proof of stake’ security and verification protocol, as opposed to Bitcoin’s ‘proof of work’.
Ethereum is also significantly quicker than Bitcoin – the average block processing time for Bitcoin is 10 minutes, while it is just 12 seconds for Ethereum. This means that more blocks can be confirmed in the same amount of time for Ethereum vs Bitcoin, and thus crypto miners can complete far more transactions when mining Ether. Ethereum also does not offer block rewards, and instead allows miners to take a transaction fee, which makes it more sustainable and attractive, rather than the race for mining Bitcoin that is the case every time. Lastly, it is estimated that only around half of Ethereum’s total supply has been mined so far, while the majority of Bitcoin has been mined, which should make Ether the cryptocurrency where higher gains are possible in the near future.
Vitalik Buterin, one of the co-founders of Ethereum, stated that he developed this platform as a direct result of some of the shortcomings of Bitcoin. Bitcoin has the majority of its uses in the financial sector, but Ethereum is a much bigger platform that has beneficial uses across multiple sectors. The Ethereum blockchain has the potential to be a platform for all use cases where there is no specialized blockchain network. It is also interesting to note that various banks and financial institutions, as we have seen, are supporting Ethereum. One of the most notable events in the history of this platform came in 2016, when a hacker stole $50 million worth of Ether, which caused a lot of questions around the platform’s security and sustainability, and eventually caused a split, with two blockchains being created – Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC).
All in all, Ethereum has been one of the fastest-growing cryptocurrencies, posting huge gains over the last few years, and it has some significant advantages over Bitcoin which could be crucial in the years to come. Watch out for Ethereum becoming even more popular, and perhaps even overtaking Bitcoin in this regard, in the next few years.