Bitcoin or Ethereum? Hey, it’s a question that no one thought we would be asking a couple of years back, but here we are now. Well, even then, we would be jumping the gun if we said that these two are close to being equal. Bitcoin still takes the lead – and it does so by a healthy margin. Crypto-friendly platforms like casino online sites and other internet-based businesses still favour Bitcoin, and then the other cryptocurrencies follow. Moreover, countries like El Salvador have made Bitcoin one of its legal tenders despite its volatility, a bragging right that Ethereum is yet to enjoy, if ever.
Nonetheless, today’s question is whether Ethereum has the potential to overtake Bitcoin in the near future. But why exactly is the question valid now and not back in 2015 when Ethereum first hit the market? For starters, when Ethereum first came to be in 2015, it was six years since Bitcoin was first traded in 2009, meaning that Bitcoin not only had the advantage of a great head-start, but it also had the crypto-market in a chokehold (it still does, if we are being honest). However, from the look of things, tables may yet be turned if the latest projections are anything to go by.
Reports indicate that the blockchain behind the second-largest cryptocurrency globally, Ether, is set to undergo an upgrade. This looming upgrade is said to be so lucrative that some do believe that it has the potential to offset the place of Bitcoin as the world’s largest cryptocurrency. The upgrade dubbed the “Merge” is planned to boost the blockchain’s security, scalability and sustainability.
The Status Quo As It Was and Is Today
The crypto world has come far since 2009 when Satoshi Nakamoto came up with the concept of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin came into the market on the back of a lot of uncertainty in the world over the true nature of cryptos. You could literally have been a Bitcoin owner for 1 cent back then. Few believed it could blow up to what it is today, even with the volatility of crypto assets. Testament to Bitcoin’s progress was its 2021 high of a whopping $69,000.
Ethereum, on the other hand, has also come a long way. From trading at an initial price of $3 when it made its debut to an eventual high of $4,891 in mid-2021, right around the time Bitcoin was at its highest value. It may not be quite as impressive as Bitcoin’s rise to glory, but it is also significant enough in the context of how all the other cryptos are performing. Ethereum’s performance is indeed a commendable fete.
Time to Move From the ‘Proof of Work’ System
As we’ve already noted earlier in this post, the planned upgrade of Ethereum is set to make the blockchain more user-friendly. In case you’ve been following up on what Ethereum users say, one of the biggest complaints from the community is about the Proof-of-Work (PoW) system used to validate transactions. While it is effective, many describe it as tedious and complicated. This system of Ethereum involves completing puzzles to be allowed to validate transactions and create new coins.
The shift in tide is meant to validate transactions via a new Proof-of-Stake (PoS) structure expected to be miles ahead of PoW. How so? PoS will allow users to validate transactions according to how many coins they stake, which is a much less complicated process than PoW. While this isn’t an entirely new concept in the Ethereum world, the ‘proof of stake’ consensus has not been playing a more central role, as is going to be the case thanks to the Merge.
Additionally, the PoW transaction verification method is said to be consuming large amounts of power, which is not great news when we’re talking about its effects on the environment. PoS, on the other hand, consumes up to 90% less energy, according to crypto experts. Better still, the move to PoS consensus will likely reel in more investors because people are likely to vouch for something more environmentally friendly.
Way Too Soon to Call It
The significance of the ‘Merge’ by Ethereum cannot be understated. It is guaranteed to leave some tongues wagging because of the potential benefits and will undoubtedly raise many eyebrows because of some of the possible downsides. Outside the much-welcomed benefits of more user-friendliness and lower environmental impact, some experts suggest that the PoS consensus is likely to be less secure than PoW. Nonetheless, we’ll have to wait and see how the market perceives the changes after the transition to PoS. For now, it is still too early to know when Ethereum will surpass Bitcoin as the world’s biggest crypto or if that will ever happen.