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Difference Between BTC and ETH

Nov 27, 2023
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Among the over 22,000 cryptocurrencies available, Bitcoin and Ethereum have consistently proven their dominance. The dynamics of these two crypto giants often determine the dynamics of other cryptocurrencies. This article seeks to explore the differences between these two coins using rubrics such as their mining, development, performance, and future prospects.

Comparing Bitcoin and Ethereum

Creator and Origin

Bitcoin is the first and most popular cryptocurrency. It was launched in 2009 by an anonymous entity known as Satoshi Nakamoto. Its creation set the precedence for blockchain technology and decentralized digital currencies.

Ethereum, on the other hand, was proposed by programmer Vitalik Buterin in late 2013. Its development began in early 2014 and went live in 2015. Bitcoin may have set the pace for other cryptocurrencies, but Ethereum's introduction pioneered the development of smart contracts and decentralized applications (DApps).

Blockchain Technology

The Bitcoin network operates on a proof-of-work (PoW) consensus algorithm. The blockchain primarily focuses on peer-to-peer transactions, ensuring secure and transparent financial transactions without needing any third party. 

Ethereum formerly employed a similar PoW mechanism, but transitioned to proof-of-stake (PoS) with the Ethereum 2.0 upgrade. Ethereum's blockchain is known for its versatility as it allows developers to create smart contracts, decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).


Bitcoin is primarily a digital currency and store of value. It is the number one decentralized alternative to fiat currencies. Therefore, it is used for secure and borderless transactions, and as a hedge against inflation. Recently, though, the Bitcoin blockchain has been used to create NFTs known as Bitcoin Ordinals.

While Bitcoin extended its use case recently, Ethereum's use cases have always extended beyond the currency. The Ethereum blockchain facilitates the creation of decentralized applications, making it the backbone of the DeFi ecosystem. It also powers the creation and transfer of NFTs. 

Scalability and Transactions

Handling around 7 transactions per second (tps), Bitcoin's transaction processing speed is relatively slower than Ethereum's 30 tps. This limitation has led to the exploration of layer-2 solutions like the Lightning Network to enhance scalability.

Even though Ethereum has a faster transaction processing speed, Ethereum 2.0 aims to significantly improve this through its proof-of-stake consensus and sharding. Sharding involves fragmenting a blockchain into smaller blockchains so it can handle more transactions.

Community and Governance

Bitcoin's development is largely decentralized, with a global community of developers, miners, and users contributing to its open-source codebase. Decision-making in the Bitcoin community often involves achieving consensus among various stakeholders, which can sometimes lead to slower development processes.

Ethereum, on the other hand, has a more adaptive governance model with frequent upgrades and improvements guided by Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs). The Ethereum community has embraced a culture of innovation, leading to rapid advancements and the implementation of upgrades such as Ethereum 2.0.

Security and Decentralization

Ethereum is not found wanting in the area of security. Its security mechanisms are robust and its shift to proof-of-stake further enhances the network's security. Bitcoin's network is also highly secured due to its large and decentralized mining community. This makes it impervious to attacks, thus ensuring the network's integrity.

Mining  is another important rubric for distinguishing between Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Mining Bitcoin vs. Mining Ethereum

Cryptocurrency mining is the process of validating transactions and securing blockchain networks. It is the process through which new coins are injected into the circulation. The mining algorithm rewards miners for solving computational problems which validate transactions and secure the network.

While this section will examine the mining differences between Bitcoin and Ethereum, it is important to note that Ethereum's move from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake renders the mining of Ethereum obsolete. Therefore, mining comparisons made between the two cryptocurrencies/networks will be based on how Ethereum mining worked before its transition. These comparisons will be made under the following headings: mining algorithms, mining rewards and block time, mining difficulty and competition, and environmental impact.

Mining Algorithms

Bitcoin mining operates on the SHA-256 (Secure Hash Algorithm 256-bit) algorithm, which demands significant computational power. Miners solve complex mathematical puzzles, known as proof-of-work, to validate transactions and add blocks to the Bitcoin blockchain. 

Ethereum mining, on the other hand, utilized the Ethash algorithm. Unlike Bitcoin which requires Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs), Ethereum was mined using high-performance GPUs (Graphics Processing Units). 

Mining Rewards and Block Time

Bitcoin miners are rewarded with newly minted bitcoins (currently 6.25 bitcoins) and transaction fees for successfully mining a block. The block time on the Bitcoin network is approximately 10 minutes, meaning a new block is added to the blockchain roughly every 10 minutes.

Ethereum miners were also rewarded with newly created Ether (about 2 ETH) and transaction fees. Ethereum's block time is significantly shorter, averaging around 13-15 seconds. This shorter block time allows for quicker transaction confirmations.

Mining Difficulty and Competition

Bitcoin's mining difficulty adjusts approximately every two weeks to maintain a consistent block time. On the other hand, Ethereum's mining difficulty adjusted more frequently since blocks are mined approximately every 13-15 seconds. 

Environmental Impact

Bitcoin mining farms, particularly those powered by non-renewable energy sources, contribute to significant carbon emissions. Ethereum was also a culprit until its transition to proof-of-stake, which requires significantly less energy. As a matter of fact, this transition reduced Ethereum's energy use by 99%. However, many wanted to know if the transition would impact the price performance of Ethereum in any way.

Bitcoin vs Ethereum Performance: Analyzing the Investment Potential

Most crypto users do not care about the underlying technology of a cryptocurrency. They are only interested in its profitability. This is why cryptocurrencies have become a focal point of modern investment strategies, with Bitcoin and Ethereum leading the way. 

Over the years, these two cryptocurrencies have shown their robustness in the market. To compare their price performance over time, we'll examine their historical trends, volatility, adoption rates, and factors influencing their investment potential.

Historical Performance

Bitcoin has displayed impressive growth over the years. Its early adopters reaped substantial profits as its price surged from mere cents in 2010 to almost $20,000 in 2017. By the end of December 2020, the king crypto was trading at $29,000. Four months later, it skyrocketed to over $63,000 and hit $68,000 in November 2021. Despite occasional market downturns, Bitcoin has proven resilient, establishing itself as a store of value and a sought-after investment asset.

Bitcoin price performance between 2013 and 2023 (Source: Statista)

Ethereum's story is not much different. Launched in 2015, it has experienced rapid growth, driven by its innovative smart contract capabilities. It began to gain value in April 2017 and was just under $1. By 2018, it crossed the $1,000 and rallied all the way to $4,815 in November 2021. Ethereum's price movements have been marked by volatility, influenced by market demand, technological developments, and regulatory factors.

Ethereum's price performance between 2013 and 2023 (Source: Statista)

Volatility and Stability

Bitcoin is known for its relatively stable price compared to other cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin's stability has contributed to its reputation as a reliable store of value, especially during times of economic uncertainty.

Ethereum, being a versatile platform supporting a wide range of applications, experiences higher volatility than Bitcoin. Its price can be influenced by market sentiment, technological upgrades, and the success of decentralized applications running on its blockchain. 

Adoption and Ecosystem

Although still in its infancy, Bitcoin's adoption has reached global proportions, with institutional investors, corporations, and even countries integrating it into their financial strategies. Bitcoin's simplicity and widespread recognition contribute to its widespread adoption.

On the other hand, Ethereum's strength lies in its diverse ecosystem of decentralized applications. The rise of decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and blockchain-based games has propelled Ethereum's adoption. 

Investment Considerations

Bitcoin is often considered a safe haven asset, particularly during economic uncertainties and market downturns. Its status as the first cryptocurrency and its widespread recognition make it an attractive long-term investment option.

Ethereum's investment appeal stems from its potential for high growth due to its innovative ecosystem. Its utility beyond digital currency makes it a choice for investors seeking exposure to blockchain technology's diverse applications.


Bitcoin and Ethereum continue to play key roles in shaping the cryptocurrency market. Bitcoin's focus on being a digital currency and store of value makes it a reliable choice for investors, while Ethereum's versatility in the DeFi space opens up a world of possibilities. As the cryptocurrency space continues to evolve, both currencies are likely to remain at the forefront, driving innovation and transforming financial systems.


How do we compare Bitcoin vs Ethereum price?

To compare Bitcoin and Ethereum prices, analyze current market rates, historical trends, market capitalization, and relative performance. Consider expert insights and predictions, along with percentage gains or losses over specific timeframes, to make informed comparisons.

How is Bitcoin and Ethereum decentralized?

Bitcoin and Ethereum achieve decentralization through distributed ledgers, peer-to-peer networks, consensus mechanisms like PoW and PoS, open-source code transparency, and resistance to censorship. These create trustless, secure platforms, ensuring transparency and enabling decentralized peer-to-peer transactions.