Is Ethereum Worth Investing In?

December 1, 2021

This year, Ethereum has been on a tear. It has outpaced bitcoin and reached a new high. Even Mark Cuban has become a believer in Ethereum.

On a recent edition of the Next with Novo podcast, Cuban remarked, "I have my fair share of bitcoin, but I'm more of an Ethereum maxi." In the cryptocurrency sector, "maximalists" are frequently viewed unfavorably. Cuban, on the other hand, uses the word to express his preference for Ethereum over alternative blockchains.

"We're seeing a rush," Cuban added, "where a lot of different blockchains are competing." "When they start putting smart contracts to work, that's when things will start to level out." It'll all come down to apps and integrations after that."

But, for those who are unfamiliar with Ethereum, what is it and how does it work? So, before you hop on the Ethereum bandwagon, let's address some questions.

How does Ethereum work and what is Ethereum?

Ethereum was released in 2015, after Vitalik Buterin first proposed it in a white paper in 2013. According to Louis DeNicola of Business Insider, it's a decentralized computer network built on open-source technology.

The fact that Ethereum's network is based on blockchain technology, much like bitcoin, is a fundamental aspect. That is, it is basically a digital public ledger that allows financial agreements to be verified and recorded purely by computer software without the involvement of a third party.

"The applications that can be built on Ethereum are similar to the apps that can be developed on Apple's App Store or Google's Android system," explains Fortune's Ben Carlson. "The most significant difference is that Ethereum's network is not controlled by giant tech behemoths."

New data blocks are cryptographically "chained" to their parent blocks whenever they are added. As a result, a record of earlier versions is created that cannot be altered.

By market capitalization, Ethereum is now the second-largest cryptocurrency behind bitcoin. Why?

Because the Ethereum network is capable of so much more than simply money transactions. Ethereum, in particular, enhances the Bitcoin blockchain's capabilities by allowing it to run decentralized apps (also known as "dApps") through "smart contracts."

"Bitcoin was the forerunner of blockchain technology, which was used to create a peer-to-peer payment system," says Jacob Wade, president of iHeartBudgets and a financial counselor. "Ethereum uses blockchain technology similar to Bitcoin, but adds the ability to build decentralized applications on top of it."

Decentralized financial applications (DeFi) and games, including markets for valuables like digital art and games, have already been established on Ethereum.

Bitcoin vs. Ethereum

Ethereum is, once again, a safe software platform that everyone may use. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is nothing more than a digital money. Both, however, depend on blockchain to confirm and disclose all cryptocurrency transactions.

Ethereum and Bitcoin also serve two distinct functions. To begin, Ethereum created its platform on blockchain technology to liberate users from centralized systems with strict laws and worrisome risks.

Bitcoin, on the other hand, makes use of blockchain technology to create a worldwide currency and payment system that links buyers and sellers directly. As a consequence, transaction costs are reduced, and financial middlemen such as banks are no longer required.

"To achieve their goal, Bitcoin's blockchain completely decentralizes the cryptocurrency by requiring a network of millions of miners to validate each of its transactions by solving complex cryptography puzzles." "Rather than relying on a central authority, such as a bank, to verify them," writes Clifford Chi for HubSpot. "However, Bitcoin's thorough decentralization and validation process makes it much slower than Ethereum at confirming transactions."

In addition, Ethereum's average block mining time is 12 seconds, while bitcoin's average block mining time is 10 minutes. Why? In comparison to Bitcoin, which has millions of nodes verifying transactions, Ethereum has fewer computers or nodes confirming activities.

Is Ethereum and Ether the same thing?

The district0x Educational Portal emphasizes, "To be fair, the entire concept of Ethereum vs. Ether can get very confusing very quickly."

Ethereum's blockchain, like Bitcoin's, is confirmed by a network of computers running software known as mining. A network of computers verifies transactions in this procedure.

The page continues, "Bitcoin miners are compensated for their resources by being paid in Bitcoin." Ethereum miners, on the other hand, get paid in the cryptocurrency Ether. This charge is usually referred to as "gas."

In more technical terms, Ethereum is a blockchain-based open software platform. Developers may use smart contracts to construct and execute decentralized apps. Ethereum, on the other hand, is fueled by Ether, a cryptocurrency. Many exchanges, including Coinbase, sell Ether.

Because it behaves similarly to a digital currency, Ether is more of a digital commodity than a digital currency.

To operate apps on the Ethereum blockchain, you'll require Ether, much as you'll need gasoline to power your automobile. Ether is used to operate DApps, produce tokens during ICOs, conduct transactions on the Ethereum blockchain, and make payments, in addition to enabling smart contracts.

As a result, Ethereum (or Ether) is also known as programmable money.

Ethereum's advantages

  • There is already a large network in place. According to Ken Fromm, director of education and development at the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, "the benefits of Ethereum are a tried-and-true network that has been tested through years of operation and billions of dollars in value trading hands." "It has the largest ecosystem in blockchain and cryptocurrency, as well as a large and committed global community."
  • It can do a broad variety of tasks. Ethereum, for example, has been used to execute smart contracts and store data for third-party apps in addition to functioning as a digital currency. Furthermore, artists have used nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, to sell their work on the blockchain.
  • Constantly evolving. It's an open-source platform with a strong developer community that's always striving to improve the network and create new apps. "Ethereum tends to be the preferred blockchain network for new and exciting (and sometimes risky) decentralized applications because of its popularity," says Boaz Avital, Anchorage's director of product.
  • Removes the need for middlemen. Users may remove third-party middlemen by using Ethereum's decentralized network. Lawyers who prepare and interpret contracts, banks that enable financial transactions, and web hosting corporations all fall within this category.

The Ethereum advantages and disadvantages

  • Transaction expenses are rising. Transaction prices have risen as Ethereum's popularity has grown. In February 2021, the Ethereum network's transaction costs hit a new high of $23 per transaction. This is fantastic for miners, but not so much for users. Because Ethereum, unlike Bitcoin, does not reward transaction verification, the fee must be paid by the parties involved in the transaction.
  • Inflation of cryptocurrencies is a possibility. Ethereum's yearly limit of 18 million ether does not restrict the amount of potential currencies. However, releasing Ether has a lifespan restriction. As a consequence, Ethereum may be more valuable as an investment than dollars, however it may not gain as much as Bitcoin due to each coin's lifespan restriction.
  • Software development has a high learning curve. Ethereum may be difficult to understand as developers move away from centralized processing and toward decentralized networks.
  • The future is a mystery. Ethereum 2.0 is expected to provide new features and become more efficient as the technology advances. However, because of this huge network shift, the usage of present applications and promotions is questionable. According to Gary DeWaal, head of Katten's Financial Markets and Regulation committee, "many new validators will be required for Ethereum 2.0 to function." "Will the migration be successful?" There are a lot of new components that need to come together!"

Is Ethereum a good investment?

According to Ryan Haar of NextAdvisor, the bitcoin industry is very volatile and speculative. WalletInvestor, on the other hand, forecasts a one-year price of $6,394.27 and a five-year price of $16,503.80 for Ethereum.

With this in mind, think about your risk tolerance before investing. Furthermore, if you do decide to invest in cryptocurrencies, experts advise sticking to Bitcoin and Ethereum.

It is recommended that you invest no more than 5% of your whole wealth. Furthermore, just spend what you're willing to lose. Also, don't neglect other objectives such as debt repayment or retirement planning.

Despite the fact that experts advise investors to stick with well-known currencies like Ethereum, this form of investment is always risky. After all, since bitcoin is a new asset class, its long-term performance is unclear.

Investing in a standard retirement account, such as a 401(k) or IRA, or sticking with a basic index fund, however, may help you avoid this danger.

How do you purchase Ethereum?

Here's how to get Ethereum if you think it can help you diversify your financial portfolio:

  • There was a discussion. You can purchase cryptocurrencies using US money on sites like Coinbase or Kraken.
  • A wallet for Ethereum. You may keep your digital cash here. You may also send and receive ETH using your wallet's public address.
  • The possibilities for purchasing ETH are shown here, along with how each approach incorporates the exchange and wallet.
  • Brokers who trade stocks online. Buying bitcoin via an online brokerage is one of the simplest methods to get it, but it comes with a number of drawbacks. You may not be able to transfer coins in and out of your account, for example.
  • Brokerages that provide hosted wallets for cryptocurrency. You may buy ETH and other cryptocurrencies with US dollars and keep them securely in the wallet of a cryptocurrency broker with a hosted wallet. It streamlines the purchasing process and makes sending and receiving currencies simpler for newcomers to bitcoin.
  • Non-custodial wallets and centralized exchanges. Using this more complex manner of purchasing, storing, and selling crypto gives you more control over your wallet and finances. One option to do this is to create a personal Ethereum wallet for storage and buy Ethereum on a controlled exchange like Binance.US or Coinbase Pro.
  • Exchanges with no central authority. You may trade Ethereum in your own wallet using a decentralized exchange, or DEX. Because there is no third party involved when utilizing a DEX, it is the most transparent method to trade cryptocurrencies.

Before trading coins or dollars on a centralized exchange, you must first make a deposit into a trading account. DEXs, on the other hand, let you to trade with a buyer or seller directly while maintaining control over your cash.

DEXs are difficult to understand and are not recommended for beginners.

Thanks to John Rampton at Business 2 Community whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.

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