However, both cryptocurrencies are designed as an alternative to each other. But one thing that is not comparable about Ethereum is that it is a programmable blockchain and includes smart contracts, NFTs, and DeFi. The main difference between Bitcoin and Ethereum is in their overall applications. Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that can be sent from user to user via the peer-to-peer Bitcoin network without the use of intermediaries. Transactions are verified by network nodes using cryptography and recorded in a publicly distributed ledger known as a blockchain. Bitcoin is unique in that there are only 21 million of them available.

  • An issue that is increasingly coming to the fore – not just for cryptocurrency but for commerce in general – is that of sustainability.
  • Since everyone can see identical copies of the Bitcoin blockchain, nobody can copy and paste their digital money and spend it twice.
  • Clearly, there’s a lot of excitement surrounding Ripple,” The Motley Fool noted.
  • Bitcoin is created through the process of keeping this ledger running and secured.
  • Cryptocurrencies that are based on a Proof-of-Work protocol require a substantial amount of computing power to create, which, in turn, requires a great deal of electricity.

Curiously, in the hours after the Merge on Sept. 15, the ETH price fell, although there’s little reason to believe that the switch to proof-of-stake will be a long-term negative for ETH prices. The “non-fungible” part of the name implies they aren’t equivalent to other tokens. This is quite different from crypto coins which, by definition, are meant to be fungible.

However, Ethereum plans in its roadmap to switch to Proof-of-Stake , where “validators” who staked their ether tokens, process all new transactions. Unlike in a PoW system, validators don’t need to use significant amounts of computational power because they’re selected at random taking into account the staked amount of Ether. The supply of each cryptocurrency also affects price, as if there’s a limited amount but a high demand, then the price is more likely to reach higher. Likewise, if there’s a large or unlimited supply, it’s harder for the asset’s value to reach very high.

Who Controls the Bitcoin Blockchain?

But experts tend to agree that Ethereum technology is more advanced and robust. Moreover, programmers are currently working on a major upgrade, known as Ethereum 2.0. The 2008 financial crisis led to accusations that the banks had severely mismanaged people’s money, committed widespread fraud, and were then protected by governments.

Ethereum vs Bitcoin

In Proof of Stake, there’s no competition among hardware to solve a complex equation. Instead, people who contribute to a Proof of Stake system receive a transaction fee. These issues affect an asset’s liquidity, thereby determining how fast trades can go through and subsequently how much the asset is traded.

SoFi Invest lets you trade both Bitcoin

Its articles, interactive tools and other content are provided to you for free, as self-help tools and for informational purposes only. NerdWallet does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information in regard to your individual circumstances. Examples are hypothetical, and we encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding specific investment issues. Our estimates are based on past market performance, and past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. One key difference between BTC vs. ETH is that you need to hold ETH in order to execute transactions on the Ethereum blockchain.

And the choice is completely up to you keeping in mind these factors. Whereas the market cap of Ethereum is $135.3 Billion with a volume of $24.5 Million Ether. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that can be used to buy goods and services, whereas Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts. Bitcoin is primarily used as a store of value and a medium of exchange.


For instance, data attached to transactions on the Ethereum network might be executable code, whereas data attached to transactions on the Bitcoin network is solely used to record transaction details. There aren’t any physical bitcoins, solely balances related to a cryptographically secured public ledger. Various blockchains have different standards, making transactions across blockchains largely incompatible. Wrapped tokens solve this problem by functioning as representations connecting blockchains, allowing cryptocurrencies to thrive on non-native blockchain networks.

While they do compete as two of the world’s leading cryptocurrencies, they have different applications and overall long-term goals. Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin, was based on a whitepaper issued by Vitalik Buterin in 2013. The document consisted of the usage of smart contracts which Ethereum vs Bitcoin is fundamental to decentralized applications . These dApps enable Ether and other crypto assets to be used in a variety of ways, such as collateral for loans or to be lent to borrowers to earn interest. Bitcoin and Ethereum are decentralized platforms aiming to provide a secure digital currency experience.

But advanced testing is already underway, and programmers are optimistic that the platform will be fully operational by the end of 2020. At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading at around $48,000 per coin. So for first-time investors with a more limited bankroll, Ethereum is probably more attractive option. Its currency, Ether, is linked to smart contracts, and can only be traded after a set of predetermined conditions have been met.

Ethereum vs Bitcoin

Bitcoin is created, stored, transacted, and distributed using a decentralized, distributed system known as Blockchain. A major criticism of proof of work is that it is highly energy-intensive because of the computational power required. The potential applications of Ethereum are wide-ranging and are powered by its native cryptographic token, ether . In 2014, Ethereum launched a presale for ether, which received an overwhelming response.

Decentralized Payments vs. Decentralized Software

But they differ greatly from one another in terms of consensus algorithms, uses, and other technical parameters. On the 15th of September 2022, Ethereum successfully transitioned its consensus mechanism from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake . It will feature an execution layer to handle interactions with smart contracts and a consensus layer to synchronize chain information throughout the network. Additionally, PoS will reduce Ethereum’s energy consumption by approximately 99.95%.

Ethereum vs Bitcoin

Proof-of-work systems like Bitcoin have also drawn criticism for the amount of energy expended by the computer hardware involved. According to the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, Bitcoin’s electricity consumption exceeds Norway’s annual electricity consumption, at an annualized rate of 127 terawatt-hours . The performance of BTC and ETH often serves as a benchmark to gauge the overall health of the crypto market. Despite their dominance, these cryptos function very differently from one another. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance degree from Bridgewater State University and has worked on print content for business owners, national brands, and major publications.

Unfortunately, Bitcoin has suffered limitations with the increasing number of users adopting the network, with the blockchain becoming more congested and scalability proving to be an issue. This includes slow transaction confirmation and expensive transaction fees, which is due to Bitcoin’s slow mining process that only allows a 1MB block of transactions to be verified every 10 minutes. These issues are what propelled other blockchain projects to create new technologies to improve scalability, and what ultimately led to the growth of Web 3.0.

Bitcoin vs Ethereum: Difference between Bitcoin and Ethereum

And the Ethereum ecosystem continues to be a locus for much of this creativity. If you use a modern vending machine, you’ll find lots of logic built into its operations. You have the option of using cash or a credit card to make a purchase. Instead of there being a competition — multiple miners all using energy to solve the same problem — validators get selected from a pool of participants who have staked the 32 ETH. According to this study by Creighton University, Ethereum is likely to see greater integration into the Internet of Things and the financial services industry.

It makes Ethereum a marketplace for financial services, games and apps. Compared to Bitcoin, Ether is also relatively cheap, making it much more accessible to investors with a smaller bankroll. At the current valuations, you could buy around 30 Ethereum for the price of a single Bitcoin.

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Furthermore, there’s no central authority that can stabilize the prices. The whole point of cryptocurrency, after all, is that it’s decentralized. The goal behind Ethereum was to enable software developers to use blockchain technology for decentralized applications (also known as “d’apps”). ETH is a strong blockchain for developers, and for many it remains the blockchain of choice – especially thanks to those DApps running on the Ethereum network to offer scalability solutions.

To get started, a forger must place a minimum amount of coins in a specific wallet, which “freezes” the coins. Rather than rewarding the fastest piece of hardware, the Proof of Stake system randomly awards a single contributor. Your chance of winning the reward depends on what percentage of the pooled coins are yours. If you own 20% of the coins in the pool, you have a 20% chance of winning. Hundreds or even thousands of miners compete to solve the equation, but only the miner whose hardware solves the equation first is rewarded with Bitcoin. That means that the miners with the strongest hardware are more likely to earn Bitcoin.

You can copy the code from Ethereum’s website and then use your tokens for many purposes, including the representation of shares, forms of voting and also fundraising. The first thing about Ethereum is that it is not just a digital currency. Bitcoin is compared with digital gold because it was the very first cryptocurrency and is the biggest, with a market cap exceeding $375 billion, while its limited supply may ensure that it retains value. Bitcoin is a digital currency that can be transferred on a peer-to-peer network without the need for any central authority.

Technical differences

We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in oureditorial policy. To accomplish this, Ethereum comes complete with its own programming language that runs on a blockchain.

Ethereum can be considered slightly different to the other two currencies, being geared towards complicated interactions between several parties rather than consumer payments. CNBC has noted that it provides numerous potential uses, such as reconciliation, enabling smart contracts to be distributed on the Ethereum network. In other words, Bitcoin is primarily an alternative form of money, according to Thomas Perfumo, crypto exchange Kraken’s head of business operations and strategy.