Every cryptocurrency enthusiast holds bitcoin in high esteem. The market placed Ethereum just below it, can’t say the same for a majority of cryptocurrency investors. Despite occupying the second position, a wide gap exists between Bitcoin and Ethereum, in terms of market capitalization. Not considering ‘First to market privilege’, bitcoin’s prestige and the portion of the market it controls are quite justifiable. Revolutionary technology, a devoted community, and a long list of ‘copies. Furnishing the whole space, it has created a major ecosystem and every other cryptocurrency project benefit from its relevance; Speaking of which spreads across disciplines and school of thought. Politics, finance, governance, mathematics…the list is continuous.
Bitcoin’s breakthrough set off a spiral; exact copies and slightly modified copies of bitcoin’s code and functionality soon emerged. Just like the recent DeFi boom, these copies were simply bitcoin with a different name and tokenomics (probably). The term “Altcoin” was invented to accord these alternatives a more generalized name. A proper name in my opinion. An even funnier name — Shitcoin was invented by a growing community of bitcoin maximalists as a better definition of these bitcoin offspring. This group still exists and believes in the nothingness of every other cryptocurrency/blockchain project; a notion I disagree with but wouldn’t combat. Well; if we are being fair, the majority of altcoins fit perfectly into the ‘shitcoin’ description.
If you tried paying the least attention to Ethereum, the above story is familiar. Tons of ‘killers’; copying Ethereum exact code (almost) and running different consensus algorithms. These alternative projects have survived mainly off the fact that they offer a faster and cheaper platform than Ethereum’s Layer-1. Ethereum has resisted these competitions to remain the most used and ‘copied’ blockchain project. Apart from enjoying the ‘first to market’ benefits, Ethereum’s resistance to these competitions is majorly thanks to its brilliance, originality, the fact that it houses the most reputable projects pronounced instability of alternative projects; and thanks to a strong maximalist community.
“Originator of many things”, countless ‘copies’ and a strong maximalist community; these terms are peculiar to bitcoin and Ethereum…only. Both are in a league of their own; bitcoin controls a market capitalization of almost double Ethereum’s, but in terms of technological relevance, it is a close duel. Ethereum’s technological advancement is a level above bitcoin’s. OG bitcoiners would disagree, but even the recent tap root upgrade adopts some of Ethereum’s technology.
An alternative should share tangible similarities to the originator and improve on its core technology. This is the case with the numerous forks and copies of bitcoin. Pretty much ‘re-invented wheels’. This is the same with the uncountable Ethereum copies as well. Ethereum itself is a huge improvement and many steps away from bitcoin’s P2P technology.
Apart from recreating bitcoin’s decentralized value exchange system; Ethereum built a proper platform on the blockchain. A versatile platform of limitless potential. Smart contract and Decentralized application technology are novel and brainchild of Vitalik Buterin and his team of founders. Several projects have emerged separately to improve on this; basically working on improvements to the functionality and not the core technology itself. Even more, projects have been built directly on the Ethereum blockchain. Ethereum boasts the largest and most diverse blockchain ecosystem.
A personal opinion but bitcoin and Ethereum are the two most prestigious blockchain projects. Bitcoin has championed the political and economic revolution, a major factor keeping it afloat. Ethereum represents the biggest advancement in blockchain technology in terms of proper technology. Bitcoin maximalists frown at calling the orange coin ‘a cryptocurrency’; but placing Ethereum in the rank of an altcoin is an even bigger sin. Bitcoiners disagree; a big delusion.
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