Bitcoin vs. Ethereum: Why a Price War is Good News for Everyone Else
The price of Bitcoin is showing signs of entering a bullish trend, but Ethereum isn’t. As the crypto market moves towards the fourth quarter of 2018, a schism is appearing between the two leading coins. As of September 4, BTC’s value was up 1.21% on the previous day’s trading, with the last seven days showing an upswing from $7,067 to $7,372 (at the time of writing). In contrast, Ethereum’s price is struggling to breach the $300 mark with the last 24 hours showing a 0.25% dip.
As ever, the markets move in mysterious ways and the true reason for one coin’s rise and another’s fall is often the result of multiple factors. Indeed, if we run through the recent crypto headlines, both Bitcoin and Ethereum have had their ups and downs in recent months. Back in March, Ethereum was named as the new home for a blockchain-based social messaging service known as Kin. More recently, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) has said it plans to offer ETH futures trading in the near future.
Similarly, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban announced back in February that fans can now purchase tickets using Bitcoin. Along similar lines, trading platform eToro completed a landmark deal in August, financing partnerships with multiple English football (soccer) clubs using BTC. With both projects winning friends and influencing people in high places, it would be easy to think that fortunes would be on the up for BTC and ETH. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Ethereum Being Forced to Fight
One possible reason for the recent apathy towards Ethereum is the lack of direction. Scalability remains an issue and transaction times have become a problem. “But Bitcoin has also been hit with processing delays” we hear you cry. True, but Ethereum rallied against this back in the day and now it’s starting to go down a similar path. Addressing this point, the Caspar protocol is currently being developed and should help speed up the network. However, this is still a few months away and other competitors could have edged ahead even further by then.
Another issue that Fred Krueger has pointed out is that Ethereum apps (dAPPS) aren’t exactly user-friendly. Although the technology is impressive, many of the leading applications are still very raw and lack the finesse needed to achieve mainstream adoption. Finally, there are other coins that might be doing Ethereum’s job better. Cardano is being touted as one of the main threats. Based on scientific philosophy and peer-reviewed academic research, the system looks to be a more efficient way of handling transactions than Ethereum’s smart contracts. While this point may be up for debate, the reality is that Ethereum is no longer the only viable alternative to Bitcoin.
Bitcoin Already Has Its Battle Scars
Back when it was Bitcoin and nothing else, Vitalik Buterin was free to imagine a new system that could “solve” issues with the first blockchain. However, as the industry evolves, the system that was once seen as pioneering is now falling into the “outdated” category. Yes, the team has plenty of technical know-how and money to stay among the leading cryptos. However, 2018 is the first time it’s really come under any pressure from the masses. In contrast, Bitcoin has been fighting off potential threats for years. To put it another way, Bitcoin, its developers and its investors are more battle-hardy than Ethereum followers.
In reality, the current price movements aren’t enough to suggest that either is going to shift rapidly one way or the other. However, it’s a sign that the rest of the industry is starting to find its feet. To say BTC or ETH will lose their place at the top of the crypto rankings anytime soon would be foolish. But, it is possible to say that the recent fluctuations suggest the gap between at least one of them and the chasing pack is closing. For those with diverse portfolios, this can only be good news.
More interestingly, however, it’s a sign that cryptos are becoming more advanced, more useful and, potentially, more desirable to the general public. If that’s the case, then everyone should be happy. Is Bitcoin heading for a late boom in 2018? Probably not. But if you’re an investor, you should be happy to ride the current wave of positivity.