Getting to Know the Two Leading Cryptocurrencies in 2021: Bitcoin and Ethereum
Cryptocurrency is becoming more attractive to those who want to use digital currency instead of traditional payment methods and also to those who want to invest. Cryptocurrency has been around for more than a decade. However, in 2020, it skyrocketed into mainstream popularity.
As of January 2021, there are reportedly more than 4,000 cryptocurrencies in existence. However, there are only a few that most people have heard of, with the two most well-known being Bitcoin and Ethereum. Although they are the two most popular cryptocurrencies, most people don’t know much about them or their history. If you’ve ever been curious about either of these cryptocurrencies beyond the surface level, social media information, keep reading to learn more.
Bitcoin is the most popular type of cryptocurrency, and it has a high volatility rate. The main goal of the creation of bitcoin was to disrupt online banking and daily in-person transactions.
When the inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto, first introduced bitcoin to the world in January 2009, it was worth roughly $0.0008. Today, 1 Bitcoin is worth more than $57,000. (As mentioned, Bitcoin has a high volatility rate, meaning the price of bitcoin could change dramatically over a short time period in either direction. Therefore, the price may be a few hundred or a few thousand off by the time you read this article.)
There are several ways investors can exchange their “fiat” money, which is money issued by governments, in exchange for cryptocurrency. You can purchase bitcoin on websites like Coinbase, Bitstamp, and Gemini.
Ethereum, which uses Ether as its currency, is the second-largest cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin. Like Bitcoin, when using Ether, you can globally send and receive digital currency. Most notably, unlike Bitcoin, Ether allows you to access various types of apps within its ecosystem, similar to how you interact with apps in the App Store. One of the co-founders, Vitalik Buterin, launched the Ethereum platform in 2015. Ethereum was created to disrupt the use of third-party transactions and to extend Bitcoins functionality, in particular, to make transacting faster.
When launching in 2015, 1 Ether was worth roughly $1. According to Coinbase, 1 Ether is now worth more than $2,600 (as of 5/19) and has reached a peak of more than $4,000.
Getting Into Crypto
Many people gravitate toward digital currency because it cuts out the need to deal with a financial institution or intermediary. As an added plus, cryptocurrency can now be used to purchase some goods and services. However, with any digital currency and its high volatility, those interested in crypto should research or talk with a certified financial advisor to ensure investing in or converting fiat funds into cryptocurrency is the right choice.
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This article was released on May 19, 2021. It has not since been updated.