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The Birth of Ethereum


Ethereum is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies in the market. According to market data from May 2022, use of Ethereum made up approximately 19.7% of the crypto market, meaning nearly 1 in 5 crypto transactions happened on the Ethereum network. Ethereum is only second to Bitcoin in terms of acceptance, with 44.76% of all crypto transactions occurring on the Bitcoin network (link). Could Ethereum pass Bitcoin in popularity in the future? Some Ethereum enthusiasts think so. 

While Bitcoin Depot has seen Ether (ETH), the cryptocurrency employed to power the Ethereum network rise in popularity, some users might still wonder how the Ethereum network works. Or what’s the difference between Ethereum and Bitcoin? Keep reading to get a full breakdown of Ethereum, who invented the cryptocurrency, and why some prefer it to other digital coins. 

Where Ethereum Began

The idea of Ethereum was first brought to the attention of the public by Vitalik Buterin who wrote a whitepaper on the concept in 2013 (link). In the whitepaper, Buterin realized that Bitcoin, and the network it operated on, had multiple limitations that would prevent it from allowing developers to build applications on top of its technology. As an alternative to Bitcoin, Buterin built the Ethereum network, which would do what Bitcoin couldn’t —empower users to build applications and other cryptocurrencies on top of the Ethereum network in as little as one or two lines of code. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is limited in this capacity, and while it does support some computer languages, Ethereum was made so that a user could implement almost any program on top of Ethereum’s underlying code. 

In 2015, Ethereum was officially launched with the goal of making it simple and seamless for anyone to build decentralized programs on the Ethereum contract. Soon after, developers began using the network to build decentralized finance applications, which provide ways for crypto users to stake or loan cryptocurrencies, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which have surged in popularity due to their acceptance and growth in the digital art world. In 2021, NFTs took off in the mainstream with some selling for many millions of dollars. Ethereum is not just a cryptocurrency, but a blockchain-based platform for developers and builders. 


Key Differences Between Ethereum and Bitcoin

While both Ethereum and Bitcoin are networks built on the concept of blockchains and encryption, the two also differ in a number of ways. 

First, Bitcoin is primarily used as a store of value to conduct transactions, and can be seen as an equivalent to gold, but in the digital space. On the other hand, while either can be used to conduct transactions on the Ethereum network, its primary purpose is really to power the applications on top of the Ethereum blockchain. Second, the Bitcoin network takes an average of 10 minutes to process transactions, while the Ethereum network can complete transactions in as little as 30 seconds. Another important difference is the maximum number of coins each network is set up to mine. Bitcoin has a capped supply of 21 million BTC. Conversely, the Ethereum network was designed to produce an infinite number of ETH. 

Characteristics of Ethereum Network

  • Launched in 2015 by Vitalik Buterin and co founders

  • Designed as a blockchain-based platform for decentralized applications

  • Native currency is Ether (ETH)

  • Transactions take approximately 30 seconds to complete

  • Ether supply is infinite 

While the Ethereum network is officially seven years old, it has yet to fulfill its full potential. As more users enter the cryptocurrency space, developers will continue to build decentralized applications that bring Ether into more and more households. Whether Ethereum can become bigger then Bitcoin is unknown. One thing is for sure though, Ethereum is opening up the digital and financial future to a wide audience and making it easier to maintain a more democratic and decentralized internet. 

Right now, you can stop by any of our Bitcoin ATMs, or use our new BDCheckout offering that allows you to load and purchase Bitcoin directly at the cashier of thousands of participating retailers, to buy your own digital currency just like you would at a cash ATM. With over 15,000 locations (link) across the U.S. and Canada, it’s easy to find locations  to use wherever you are. If you’re new to crypto, check out our user guide and videos (link) to learn more. You can also download our mobile app on the App Store or Google Play to buy, send, receive, and store crypto through your mobile device.

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June 23, 2022