The second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization

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What is Ethereum?

With the rise of Bitcoin (BTC), the cryptocurrency market has been validated. Because of this, new cryptocurrencies and coins have tried to penetrate the market and grab a slice of the pie. Ethereum is Bitcoin’s strongest competitor. It currently holds the second-largest market capitalization – recently tying with Bitcoin for first, before dropping back down to second place.


Ethereum vs. Bitcoin

Both use blockchain

As cryptocurrencies, Ethereum and Bitcoin both share a lot of commonalities. Most importantly, both Etherum and Bitcoin run on the blockchain network. This is part of the value in these cryptocurrencies, as well as what provides the security needed to manage the digitized currency.

However, Ethereum is the name of the network and the Token that it uses is called Ether.

Number of confirmations

When cryptocurrencies are transferred, the blockchain network must confirm the transaction. The number of required miner confirmations for each cryptocurrency is different. Bitcoin will generally require a lesser amount of confirmations than ETH, because of several factors, as listed below:

  • Time per Confirmation

ETH’s infrastructure allows confirmations to happen more quickly and more often than Bitcoin. Because of this reason, 3-10 ETH confirmations can occur for every one BTC confirmation.

  • ETH’s Open Source Coding

Because ETH’s blockchain network is open-sourced, companies can build API’s and other applications directly on top of an ETH network. This means that online shops or other types of utility can be connected directly to Ethereum, and ETH can be used directly.

Where to Buy Ethereum?

Because ETH is relatively newer than Bitcoin, there are fewer avenues to purchase it. That being said, Ethereum is still openly traded and not hard to get your hands on. You have the following options:

Centralized Crypto Exchanges (CEX)

The most common way to buy Ether is through a Centralized Crypto Exchange or CEX. A centralized crypto exchange acts similarly to a stock exchange and acts as an intermediary between buyers and sellers to trade many different types of other cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, and other digital assets such as NFTs.

Decentralized Exchanges (DEX) 

A decentralized exchange is another type of exchange that allows peer-to-peer transactions directly from your digital wallet without going through an intermediary. Examples of DEXs include Uniswap, PancakeSwap, dYdX, and Kyber.

Crypto Brokers

Another place to buy Ether is through a Crypto Broker, such as Coinbase,, Gemini, and SoFi. Crypto Brokers act similarly to stockbrokers. Crypto Brokers act as intermediaries and allow a buyer to place an order through the broker to buy their desired cryptocurrency. This method allows for a very simple experience in buying cryptocurrency, but fees may be higher.

Ethereum’s Value

As Ethereum becomes more commonplace in the cryptocurrency market, and later on, in the currency market, its value increases. The blockchain security and the demand for ETH both increase its value. As of the date this article was written, ETH is currently trading at $305 USD per ETH on ETH’s all-time high was approximately $450 USD.

Alternatives to Ethereum

The natural alternative to Ethereum is Bitcoin. However, there are several other younger cryptocurrencies that are also growing in popularity. These include Litecoin, Dash, and Ripple. All of these coins are known as alternative coins or Altcoins.

Read More

We hope you have enjoyed reading CFI’s guide to Ethereum. To learn more, the following CFI resources will be helpful:

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