Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) continue to dominate the thousands of cryptos that have flooded the market in recent years. Seasoned crypto investors consider them as among the most stable investments in a highly volatile market.
While both are trading below their peaks, their current values are way above where they stood in previous years. As of writing, BTC was trading at around $42,984, while ETH was at $2,887. So, how do BTC and ETH fare in comparison with each other?
What is Bitcoin?
Launched in 2009, Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency based on blockchain technology that was created by a still-unverified person or group of persons referred to in the media as Satoshi Nakamoto. It is the largest crypto by market value at around $825.18 billion. At one point during the crypto boom, Bitcoin made up nearly 87% of the overall crypto market in 2017. While it slid to around 40% by February 2022, Bitcoin’s market share continues to dominate the cryptoverse.
Pros of investing in Bitcoin
Experts often regard Bitcoin as the digital version of gold because of its finite supply. The total supply of Bitcoin is capped at 21 million, of which nearly 19 million have already been mined. This scarcity helps the token maintain its value.
Bitcoin also does not incur banking fees that are often linked with fiat currencies, which means zero overdraft and returned deposit charges, as well as no maintaining balance.
Many establishments now accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. For international transactions, Bitcoin charges lower fees than conventional wire payment transfers because it does not require the intervention of the government or other intermediary institutions.
Another advantage of Bitcoin is its immutable nature, meaning its transactions cannot be reversed or altered by a third party like government entities or financial institutions.
Cons of investing in Bitcoin
Like other assets, Bitcoin comes with risks. One of which is its volatile nature. While its limited supply ensures that the virtual coin maintains its value, it is also responsible for the currency’s wild price swings. Without additional Bitcoins to be mined, investors will solely rely on the price as the only variable influence in determining its value.
Being a decentralized currency is also a double-edged sword for Bitcoin. Its investors do not have any legal protection from a central bank, making it more vulnerable to hacks and scams.
Since it is decentralized, Bitcoin does not have a minimum valuation. That means if a large group of investors decides to pull out their coins, Bitcoin’s value could crash instantly.
What is Ethereum?
Launched in 2015, Ethereum can refer to the global computing platform or decentralized blockchain on which digital tokens are built. It can also refer to its native cryptocurrency called Ether or ETH.
Ethereum is the largest open-ended decentralized blockchain with a wide range of applications including the creation of smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps). ETH is the second-largest crypto by market value at $349.36 billion as of February 2022, accounting for less than 20% of the crypto asset class.
Pros of investing in Ethereum
One of the main advantages of Ethereum over Bitcoin is its functionality that goes beyond being a digital currency. Many other cryptos and assets are issued based on Ethereum such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
This results in a vast developer community for Ethereum that supports rapid deployment. Ethereum transactions often have fast manual verification processes since they are automated.
Like Bitcoin, Ethereum transactions are immutable, making it difficult for third parties to hack the system. In terms of security, Ethereum has more nodes responsible for verifying transactions than Bitcoin.
Cons of investing in Ethereum
Ethereum incurs higher transaction charges called gas fees as a result of high network usage.
Like Bitcoin, Ethereum is highly volatile and is still largely fueled by speculation. There is no cap to the number of Ethereum that can be mined, which could dent its value if a large volume of Ethereum floods the market.
Because Ethereum has different functions, investors need to be extra cautious of being exposed to vulnerabilities. Lastly, there are fewer merchants that accept this crypto.
Which is the better investment: Bitcoin or Ethereum?
Choosing between Bitcoin and Ethereum depends on your investment goals. Bitcoin is the most established cryptocurrency and has better commercial support. It is a great alternative to fiat currency as it works better in peer-to-peer transactions. On the other hand, Ethereum performs well if you are after creating smart contracts and dApps. It offers more growth opportunities over the long term and doubles as a marketplace where you can trade goods.
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