On July 30, 2023, Ethereum, the world’s second-largest crypto by market cap after Bitcoin, celebrated its eighth birthday, therefore we can safely say that the platform is a crypto industry veteran. Apart from all the nostalgia and the fond memories this has triggered across the crypto community, the event also provides a perfect occasion to take a step back and review all the things that we’ve come to learn about this popular asset over the years.
There’s no denying that Ethereum has come a long way since it emerged on the crypto market. And even though eight years doesn’t seem like much, in crypto time that’s quite a lot considering that the industry is just 14 years old. Ethereum has seen and experienced a lot of changes in its short lifetime. It has witnessed the birth and demise of many crypto projects and has gone through several bull and bear markets that have obviously left a mark in their wake. However, many newcomers to the industry don’t know much about Ethereum beyond its most recent price movements and current value.
So, there’s no better time than now to introduce new fans to the platform and talk about the most important aspects and events that have turned Ethereum into the powerhouse it is today.
Ethereum is not a Bitcoin copycat
Ethereum’s co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, has confessed that Bitcoin served as an inspiration for the creation of Ethereum. However, he also explained that his purpose wasn’t to launch a new crypto that perfectly imitates the original coin but to come up with a platform that improves and expands on Bitcoin’s functionalities.
There are obvious similarities between the two, with both assets having high values and being traded on crypto marketplaces. But while Bitcoin serves mainly as a form of payment and store of value, Ethereum acts like a decentralized blockchain platform with smart contract functionality that enables the development of an entire host of complex and highly customizable decentralized applications (dApps) that can be used across a wide range of industries.
In other words, Ethereum is a much more complex and versatile platform than Bitcoin, and its use cases go far beyond facilitating crypto transactions. Ether (ETH), the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network, can be traded just as any other crypto on the market but it can also be used to power applications built on the Ethereum blockchain. That’s why Ethereum is often dubbed a world computer.
Although people have always compared the two since they occupy the leading positions in the crypto market, there’s really no reason to think of them as adversaries because they both contribute and enrich the crypto ecosystem in their own ways.
Ethereum is a driver of innovation in the crypto space
All cryptocurrencies are innovative projects pertaining to a new category of assets, and in this sea of innovation, Ethereum emerges as a trailblazer. The key to the network’s success and the reason it’s so much more popular than its peers is its constant focus on improving, transforming and innovating.
While most other crypto initiatives have been following Bitcoin’s model, Ethereum has always strived to do things differently and offer new solutions to longstanding problems. This forward-thinking approach has helped Ethereum to differentiate itself from other players in the market and reach a level of popularity surpassed only by the flagship crypto.
Let’s not forget that Ethereum is the platform that has become the home base of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) with its ERC-721 NFT token standard. This allows the creation of unique smart contract tokens on the Ethereum blockchain that people can attach specific information to. These assets can be traded by their owners safely due to their verifiable ownership records. And NFTs represent just one in a long list of innovations that Ethereum has brought to the market.
Behind all these advances stands the Ethereum Foundation, a non-profit organization comprised of developers and researchers who work together to support the network’s development. Their approach is centered around the idea of simplifying and streamlining processes taking place on the platform as much as possible in order to increase efficiency, scalability and security. So, there’s always someone working hard behind the scenes to bring new improvements to the network and ensure its progress.
Ethereum has weathered many storms
The crypto space has become increasingly more competitive over the years, but Ethereum managed to maintain its relevance and second-runner position despite all the challenges it had to face. A look back at its price history reveals that Ethereum, just like all other coins in the market has gone through several cycles of rise and decline dictated by crypto bull and bear markets.
While many coins have perished on the crypto rollercoaster, Ethereum managed to rise up after each downturn and get back on track stronger than before. The upgrades and updates that Ethereum has rolled out regularly have contributed significantly to its resilience.
The Merge provides a great example in this respect, marking the network’s transition from its initial proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism employed by most cryptos at the time to a proof-of-stake (PoS) system. The switch took place at a time when concerns over PoW’s high energy consumption and its impact on the environment were mounting in the crypto sphere and beyond. After completing the upgrade, Ethereum was able to cut its energy usage by up to 99%, becoming one of the greenest blockchains in existence.
After the Merge, Ethereum has announced plans for future updates that are going to be rolled out in the year to come, each of them targeting a different issue that the network is trying to address. This proves that flexibility and adaptability are core strengths of Ethereum that will pave the path for future development.
Ethereum is a one-of-a-kind network in the cryptocurrency market and it is worth celebrating its achievements and the contributions it has brought to the industry since its creation. As one of the leading cryptos at the moment, it’s also important to acknowledge the power and influence that Ethereum holds in the market and learn from its evolution.