Ethereum is an Apex Predator like Bitcoin; But Vitalik Still Diversifies His Bags

Ethereum is an apex predator that can thrive in the same space as Bitcoin, but not necessarily the same territory. That’s the opinion of author and Bitcoin advocate Andreas Antonopoulos, as voiced on a recent episode of the Stephan Livera podcast.

Up for discussion was the topic of Bitcoin maximalism; whether BTCs chances of global dominance were being hindered by the over-saturated altcoin market; and why Ethereum can survive in the long run if it continues to target a different use-case than Bitcoin.

Design Tradeoffs Between Bitcoin and Ethereum

Podcast host Stephan Livera floated the idea that the now over 2,000 altcoins would only delay the adoption of Bitcoin, in what’s becoming a very crowded space. Andreas Antonopoulos said those which can differentiate enough have a good chance of survival:

“That’s the conundrum because if they differentiate enough, then they’re no longer competing with Bitcoin head on. Because they make design tradeoffs, and these will make them in less and less competition with Bitcoin. The perfect example of that is Ethereum, which does not compete for the sound money position at all.”

Antonopoulos went on to say that the Bitcoin maximalists would be cackling at the prospect of ETH being sound money. Double-A stated clearly that he doesn’t view Ethereum as sound money, and that it will never compete with BTC on those terms.

But that’s ok, because it has something completely different to offer. Antonopoulos continued:

“But what it does have as a design tradeoff is flexible, turing complete smart contracts that can do other interesting things other than money. Ethereum maximalists – I get plenty of those too – will tell me that Ethereum can do everything that Bitcoin can do, and we don’t need it (Bitcoin). I disagree with that too.”

The Story of the Lion and the Shark

Lion vs Shark

As long as Bitcoin and Ethereum stay within the bounds of their own demarcated territories, both can exist side-by-side:

“Lions and sharks can be apex predators in their respective domains, and they’re respective domains don’t overlap because each has design tradeoffs that automatically exclude the other domain.”

That doesn’t mean the two apex predators are completely closed off to each other. Antonopoulos pointed out that Bitcoin and Ethereum can still complement each other within the context of the larger ecosystem, adding:

“One feeds the other in terms of applications, research, users, knowledge and network effect.”

Antonopoulos recently added to his list of blockchain publications, with Mastering Ethereum joining the already popular Mastering Bitcoin in 2018. One thing he’s learned is that the future of cryptocurrency will not feature just one coin – however, he did say that Bitcoin would remain the ‘most important’. He said:

“I don’t think we’re going to end up with just one money. I don’t think the markets will lead us in that direction and I’m okay with that. It doesn’t mean Bitcoin isn’t the most important – it absolutely is.”

A Peek Inside Vitalik’s Bags

Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin has a healthily diversified portfolio.

Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin recently revealed which coins and tokens he holds in addition to Ethereum, as detailed in this Reddit AMA about ‘Ethereum leadership and accountability’. Vitalik offered up this summary of his holdings:


  • “Non-ethereum-ecosystem tokens: BCH, BTC, DOGE, ZEC; total value < 10% the value of my ETH
  • Non-ETH ethereum ecosystem tokens: KNC, MKR, OMG, REP, total value <10% the value of my ETH
  • Significant corporate shareholdings: Clearmatics, Starkware [edit, forgot to put this in before]
  • Revenue in the last 12 months other than ethereum foundation salary: a few advisor tokens (included in above)
  • Non-financial interests: friends in the ecosystems represented by the above projects, as well as some non-token ethereum ecosystem orgs (eg. L4, Plasma Group, EthGlobal, EDCON) and non-token non-ethereum orgs (mainly professional cryptography and economics circles)

I’d definitely support more people actively involved in protocol decision-making making such statements!”

Other developers chimed in, including Justin Drake who revealed he uses ‘close to zero’ fiat, is paid in ETH, and that 99% of his token value is made up of ETH (along with free airdrop tokens).

Here in the front-facing end of the cryptocurrency space, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of the daily news cycle and the constant drama of rising and falling percentages. Plugging into this cyclone for too long leaves one feeling exhausted, frayed, and even a little cynical.

But faith can be temporarily restored by checking in on the geeks in the back-end of the shop, whose commitment to the cause remains quiet and unfaltering.

Faketoshi Craig Wright Says Ethereum is a Scam and a Lie

Bitcoin SV advocate and self-proclaimed Satoshi, Craig Wright, speaking with Ran Neu-Ner

Craig S. Wright joined ‘CryptoMan’ Ran Neu-Ner on an edition of CNBC Africa this week, where he dismissed every ICO launch as a scam. He said:

New coins, new ICOs… every one of them are scams! Not one of them has ever created anything. They are purely a way of getting around the controls that stop people from scamming others – enabling people to take money, do nothing and not return a cent. That’s all these are, and they have to end.”

Neu-Ner asked how this related to Ethereum – the largest ICO platform in the world, and a self-proclaimed future supercomputer. Wright took issue with the idea of Ethereum being a supercomputer, stating:

“There is no such thing as a token for a supercomputing mechanism. That’s a scam and a lie – it’s isn’t one. There’s not one token that gives you a single compute cycle for less than a million times the cost of something now. You’d be more efficient to buy a Raspberry Pi, than to buy a thousand dollars worth of compute cycle on Ethereum.”

Wright’s view directly contradict those of Andreas Antonopoulos. Whereas Double-A foresees a multi-coin future with each fulfilling its own unique role or niche, Wright takes the Highlander view that there can be only one:

“There can only be one blockchain. This is the whole nature of it. If you have various competing systems, the power is competing for the same thing.”

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Greg Thomson is a freelance writer who contributes to leading cryptocurrency and blockchain publications like CCN, Hacked, and others.