The two most widely used cryptocurrencies are Bitcoin and Ethereum. They are comparable in many ways, and both use blockchain technology. There are, however, some notable variations between them as well. Since its introduction in 2009, Bitcoin has gained the greatest popularity. It is a decentralized currency, meaning it is not governed by a single entity. Ethereum is a decentralized platform for smart contracts that was created in 2015. There are just a few uses for Bitcoin other than as a form of payment. On the other side, the Ethereum platform enables the development of decentralized apps. Compared to Ethereum, Bitcoin is less flexible and has a more constrained scope. However, Bitcoin is more commonly used and has a larger user base. Ethereum is still in development and has not yet experienced the same level of adoption as Bitcoin.

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency created in 2009 by an anonymous individual or group known as Satoshi Nakamoto. It operates on a peer-to-peer network called the blockchain, which ensures secure and transparent transactions without the need for intermediaries like banks. With only 21 million coins available, bitcoin is a scarce asset. Transactions are verified by network participants through mining, where powerful computers solve complex mathematical problems. Once verified, transactions are added to the blockchain, creating an immutable record. Bitcoin has gained widespread acceptance as a form of payment and speculative investment. Its decentralized nature provides users with financial autonomy and protection from censorship. However, Bitcoin’s value is highly volatile and influenced by factors such as market demand, regulatory developments, and macroeconomic conditions. Despite challenges, Bitcoin’s innovative technology has paved the way for the development of other cryptocurrencies and has sparked a global interest in digital currencies and decentralized systems.

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum is a decentralized blockchain platform launched in 2015 that enables the creation and execution of smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps). It operates on a blockchain similar to Bitcoin but with added functionality, allowing developers to build and deploy their own applications. Ethereum’s native cryptocurrency is called Ether (ETH), which is used for transactions and as a reward for miners. The platform has fostered the growth of a diverse ecosystem of dApps, spanning from decentralized finance (DeFi) and NFT marketplaces to gaming and more. Ethereum has played a pivotal role in advancing blockchain technology and has become a popular choice for developers and businesses seeking to leverage its programmable capabilities.

How Bitcoin And Ethereum Compare

 Founded 2009  2015
 Market cap $587,578,411,432  $226,414,239,161
 Price $US30,042.38 $US1,880.49 
 Consensus mechanism Proof of work Proof of stake 
 Hash Rate  The Ethereum hash rate isLower  Higher than Bitcoin hash rate
 Usage Used as a digital currency Used as a component of a smart contract. 
 Block Time 10 minutes 12-14 seconds 
 Maximum Supply 21 million Unlimited 

Bitcoin and Ethereum are fundamentally different in that the former was created to enable decentralized finance, whereas the latter was created to enable apps and contracts as well.

While Ethereum allows payments to be made using its internal ETH money, its reach is far greater than Bitcoin’s by design.

Both systems use blockchain technology to confirm and record transactions, but due to a shift in how Ethereum works, known as the merge, the way they do it will be different, with implications for speed, sustainability, and accessibility.

The distinction is found in what is known as a “consensus mechanism.”

What is a consensus mechanism?

A consensus mechanism is a protocol or algorithm used in blockchain networks to achieve agreement among participants on the validity and order of transactions. It ensures that all nodes in the network come to a shared decision about the state of the blockchain. Consensus mechanisms prevent issues like double-spending and ensure a consistent and accurate version of the blockchain. Popular mechanisms include Proof of Work (PoW) used by Bitcoin, where miners compete to solve puzzles, and Proof of Stake (PoS), where validators are chosen based on their stake in the network. Consensus mechanisms are crucial for trust and security in decentralized systems.

Proof Of Work

Proof of Work (PoW) is a consensus mechanism used in blockchain networks, most notably in Bitcoin. Miners compete to solve complicated mathematical challenges in order to validate and add new blocks to the network.  This process requires significant computational power and energy expenditure. The miner who successfully solves the puzzle first is rewarded with cryptocurrency. PoW ensures the security and integrity of the blockchain by making it computationally expensive to alter transaction history. It relies on the principle that the majority of network participants are honest and will follow the longest valid chain. However, PoW has faced criticism for its energy consumption and scalability limitations.

Proof Of Stake

Proof of Stake (PoS) is a consensus process used in blockchain networks as an alternative to Proof of Work. In PoS, validators are chosen to create new blocks based on the amount of cryptocurrency they hold and “stake” as collateral. The selection process is typically random or influenced by factors like the validator’s stake or reputation. Unlike PoW, PoS does not require miners to solve complex puzzles, making it more energy efficient. Validators are incentivized to perform honestly since they risk losing their staked coins if they engage in unsafe behaviors. PoS aims to provide scalability and reduce energy consumption compared to PoW-based systems.

Payments Decentralized vs. Software Decentralized

Payments decentralized typically refers to the decentralization of financial transactions, where transactions occur directly between peers without the need for intermediaries like banks or payment processors. Blockchain-based cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, enable payments to be made in a peer-to-peer manner without relying on a centralized authority.

Software decentralized, on the other hand, refers to the decentralization of software applications and systems. In this context, decentralization refers to the distribution of computing power, data storage, and decision-making across a network of nodes. Decentralized applications (dApps) built on blockchain platforms like Ethereum operate in a distributed manner, ensuring that no single entity has control over the entire system.

Price Volatility of Bitcoin vs Ethereum

Bitcoin (BTC) has historically exhibited high levels of price volatility. As the pioneer and most widely recognized cryptocurrency, Bitcoin’s price is influenced by various factors such as market demand, investor sentiment, regulatory developments, macroeconomic conditions, and media coverage. Bitcoin’s limited supply and its position as a store of value have also contributed to its price volatility.

Ethereum (ETH) has also experienced significant price volatility but may exhibit higher levels of volatility compared to Bitcoin. Ethereum’s price is influenced by similar factors as Bitcoin, but its additional functionalities as a platform for smart contracts and decentralized applications introduce additional sources of volatility. Changes in demand for Ethereum-based tokens, the growth of decentralized finance (DeFi) applications, and network upgrades can impact Ethereum’s price.


Bitcoin and Ethereum are two prominent cryptocurrencies with distinct characteristics and purposes. Bitcoin was created as a digital currency and a store of value, primarily facilitating peer-to-peer transactions. Ethereum, on the other hand, is a blockchain platform that enables the development and execution of smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps). Here are some frequently asked questions about the differences between Bitcoin and Ethereum:


Q. Which came first, Bitcoin or Ethereum?
A. Bitcoin was created in 2009 by an anonymous individual or group known as Satoshi Nakamoto. Ethereum, developed by Vitalik Buterin and others, was launched in 2015.

Q. What is the purpose of Bitcoin?
A. Bitcoin aims to be a decentralized digital currency that allows for secure, transparent, and borderless transactions. It serves as an alternative store of value and a medium of exchange.

Q. What is the purpose of Ethereum?
A. Ethereum goes beyond being a cryptocurrency. It provides a programmable blockchain platform where developers can create and deploy smart contracts, which are self-executing agreements with predefined rules.

Q. How do they differ in functionality?
A. Bitcoin’s primary functionality is facilitating financial transactions, while Ethereum offers a broader range of functionalities through its support for smart contracts and dApps. Ethereum’s platform allows for the creation of various decentralized applications beyond just financial transactions.

Q. What are the differences in blockchain technology?
A. Bitcoin utilizes a more straightforward blockchain design focused on financial transactions. Ethereum’s blockchain is more advanced, featuring a Turing-complete programming language, allowing for the execution of complex smart contracts and the development of diverse applications.