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Battle Of The Cryptos: Bitcoin Vs. Ethereum

Battle Of The Cryptos:
Bitcoin Vs. Ethereum

Bitcoin enthusiasts and investors celebrated Bitcoin Pizza Day

This week, bitcoin enthusiasts and investors celebrated Bitcoin Pizza Day, the seven-year anniversary of the day programmer Laszlo Hanyecz spent 10,000 bitcoin on two Papa John’s Int'l, Inc. PZZA 0.55% pizzas. Today, the bitcoin spent on those pizzas would be worth $22 million. The price of bitcoin has skyrocketed in recent years as investors look for protection in an increasingly uncertain global economy and speculators attempt to capitalize on the momentum. However, while bitcoin may be the most popular cryptocurrency out there, it’s certainly not the only game in town.

There's Another Sheriff In Town

In fact, bitcoin isn’t even the top-performing crypocurrency of 2017. While bitcoin has once again doubled in value in 2017, the value of rival currency ether is up 2,000 percent. On the surface, ether and bitcoin share a number of similarities. Both cryptocurrencies utilize blockchain technology, the decentralized public record of all transactions that is the core of the two currencies’ security features. However, digging deeper into the two currencies reveals they are completely different in both design and utilization.

Ethereum, A Different Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin has primarily served as a currency for consumer payment transactions. The Ethereum ether blockchain was designed to include many more features that would appeal to the corporate world. The primary feature of Ethereum that has drawn the interest of corporations is its support of smart contracts. Smart contracts are computer algorithms that automatically execute the terms of a contract as soon as the contract’s conditions are met. For example, Barclays PLC (ADR) BCS 0.28% has used this type of technology for derivatives trading.

While bitcoin’s grassroots support continues to swell, a group of corporate powerhouses, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM 0.51%, Microsoft Corporation MSFT 2.37% and Intel Corporation INTC 0.55%, have formed the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), a network to connect large companies to work on projects involving the Ethereum blockchain.

Bitcoin’s current market cap of nearly $40 billion is more than double that of ether, but investors see the power of the corporate involvement with Ethereum and the appeal of the smart contract capabilities. For investors who want to make a big bet on Ethereum, investment options are limited at this point. The EtherIndex Ether Trust filed for NYSE listing in July 2016, but has yet to gain SEC approval. The SEC recently said it was planning to review a previously rejected bitcoin ETF created by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. For now, investors can set up an account on Coinbase to trade bitcoin and ether directly.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
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