Bitcoin vs Ethereum

What are they ?

Bitcoin is peer to peer money. [BTC]

Ethereum is peer to peer contracts. [ETH]

Bitcoin & Ethereum are crypto-currency.

Comparing Bitcoin and Ethereum

Below is a table comparing both currencies (BTC & ETH) which are currently the top two among a peer group of approximately 2000 crypto-currencies.

#NameSymbolMarket CapPriceCirculating SupplyVolume (24h)% 1h% 24h% 7d
1BitcoinBTC$108,887,070,516$6,308.7117,259,812$3,590,752,638-0.18%-1.18%-13.00%
2EthereumETH$19,990,914,540$196.24101,869,021$1,465,740,650-0.28%-2.61%-32.18%

Some simple observations.

  • The market cap of BTC is over 5x that of ETH.
  • The price of ETH = 3.1% * BTC.
  • The USD volume traded BTC is 2.5x that of ETH.

Both coins have different use cases. In particular BTC is more “money like” where as ETH is more “contract like”. Indeed ETH forms the basis for many ERC20 compliant tokens.

ERC stands for Ethereum Request for Comment, and 20 is the number that was assigned to this request. The clear majority of tokens issued on the Ethereum blockchain are ERC-20 compliant.

Wikipedia et al.

Both fluctuate (as do all other coins & tokens) on a continual basis as the market evolves. With factors determined by supply & demand which is in itself driven by other factors such as mining difficulty (electricity & GPU costs) and various news flow and an evolving regulatory environment.

Trading BTC vs ETH

The prices generally move together for global news flow (BTC & ETH v Fiat). However, they are independent of each other and if there is specific news flow or trading action, the basis between the two can fluctuate.

The ratio of ETH / BTC is measured and traded. Below is a chart of the ETH price both as a function of USD and BTC. One can also observe the traded volume.

ETH vs BTC & USD with 24 hr volume below

The flippening

There was a point in time where the market cap of ETH was increasing at a rate that it may have exceeded the market cap of bitcoin. As the market approached this the term flippening was given to such an event.

In fact, this would have been the first time that any crypto currency exceeded bitcoin in terms of market cap. However, this never occurred and as of today BTC stands at 5x ETH.

Trading ranges

Since the “arrival” of ETH to the market it has traded on a range of 2 to 15% of the price of BTC with the peak being in mid-2017 @ 15%. Currently, ETH is approaching the lower range of 2% (as of time of writing it is 3.1%).

For those that want to look deeper into Bitcoin – Ethereum and litecoin, this article, by mintdice, provides a good explanation of the currency’s and also the blockchain and Decentralized Applications (DApps) and even cryptokitty’s.

Here is a taster table from mintdice comparing the coins:

PropertyBitcoin EthereumLitecoin
Market Cap$115.4 billion$53.7 billion$5.6 billion
Release Year200820152011
Peak Price≅ $20,000≅ $1,400≅ $375
Mining ProcessProof-of-Work with SHA-256Proof-of-StakeProof-of-Work with Scrypt
Block Explorerblockchain.info, blockcypher.com, blockchair.comEtherscan.io, ethplorer.io Etherchain.org, explorer.Litecoin.net, chainz.cryptoid.info, blockcypher
Total Coin Supply21 million BTC18 million ETH per year84 million LTC
Transaction Fee$1$2-$4$0.18
Confirmation Time10 minutes20 seconds 2.5 minutes

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