I'll Say It Again: Ethereum Beats Bitcoin

 | May 03, 2017 | 1:00 PM EDT
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Periodically, for the past three years, I've written about the blockchain technologies of Bitcoin and Ethereum. The motivation for doing so was the conceptual introduction of the need for a blockchain technology other than Bitcoin; which I discussed in the column, "Ethereum Is a True Game-Changer." 

As Ethereum moved from concept to development and application during the past few years, I intermittently wrote columns concerning its negative implications for the commercial viability of Bitcoin. 

The 2016 columns "Bitcoin Is Dead, Long Live the Blockchain" and "Performing an Autopsy on the Bitcoin" elicited a lot of comments, mostly disagreeing with my belief that Ethereum would displace Bitcoin completely in the commercial space. 

Even though I haven't written about the subject in over a year, I still receive queries and challenges to those columns almost daily. When I'm speaking at a conference, I am also asked about the issue even if it's not a part of the subject matter being presented. 

The booleanized version of my response is to buy Ethereum-related technology and Ether, and avoid Bitcoin altogether. 

That was my message three years ago and is still my message. 

About a year after I first wrote about the concept of Ethereum, its cryptocurrency, Ether, became available at $1.35 per Ether unit. It was about $8 at the beginning of this year and is now about $80

That's a staggering performance for 19 months and naturally leads to questions about whether it's overdone. 

Although a correction is obviously possible for any number of reasons, I continue to believe the Ethereum technology will displace Bitcoin entirely and that it is still in the very early phases of its adoption, expansion and value increase. 

The inertia behind the recent investor interest in Ethereum is due to the increased commercial application of the technology, especially by the financial sector, and the commensurate disinterest in pursuing Bitcoin. 

This is evidenced in the creation of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance just a few months ago, and the even more recent announcement by JPMorgan Chase (JPM) that it is going to terminate its relationship with the group that was pursuing Bitcoin technology as the principal commercial application technology. 

What's most interesting about this is that it is all occurring as Bitcoin continues to reach new record highs almost daily. 

That increase has led many to tell me Bitcoin is still the preferred technology. 

Since Ether was introduced in September 2015, its price has increased about 6,000%. During the same time period, Bitcoin has increased by about 650%. 

As good as Bitcoin's performance has been, the performance of Ether should give investors pause in considering the relative potential of the two. 

Earlier this year, the SEC decided not to allow a Bitcoin ETF to be listed. It is considering the same issue for Ether and I think there is a greater chance of it being approved than there was for Bitcoin. 

If that happens, the inertia pushing Ethereum to displace Bitcoin will increase and accelerate.

Even if it doesn't, though, I believe the shift by the largest technology and financial firms to Ethereum and away from Bitcoin will continue. 

The safest way to speculate on the trajectory I've written about playing out, beyond purchasing Ether, is to take positions in those firms participating in the Ethereum Alliance: Microsoft (MSFT) , Intel (INTC) , JPMorgan Chase and UBS Group (UBS)

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