Ethereum’s value against bitcoin is at its lowest in months, down to just 0.028 bitcoin per eth.
That’s from the high of ₿0.12 in January 2018 and the brief high of ₿0.16 in May 2017 when eth nearly overtook bitcoin in market cap.
It never went back to that peak, with it moving downwards for now close to a year and a half.
What happened? Well, probably a combination of things. A retrace in May 2017 was to be expected as price rose too fast, but its move downwards for the rest of that year is curious.
The reason is probably because bitcoin was entering mainstream awareness, while eth was and probably still is relatively unknown.
It does however finally start gaining against bitcoin in January 2018, but it couldn’t maintain it perhaps because it hit the capacity limit when Cryptokitties launched, taking away arguably one of the main advantage against bitcoin.
Still, Proof of Stake was soon to come out, bitcoin didn’t have much going for it arguably at that point, so the ratio rises in May 2018.
Then a developer announces deep in some reddit thread that Hybrid Proof of Stake had actually been canceled.
That shook confidence and considerably, both by the way it was announced and by the announcement itself. The ratio thus goes down and down, but it appears to be moving sideways since September although we’ll see if support holds.
Proof of Stake is now to come out later this year with testnets out, but that won’t be doing much to begin with except for allowing one way transfers to the Beacon Chain and staking.
The actual capacity increase is not expected for another two years. In the meantime, eth is basically bitcoin with very limited capacity.
That lack of differentiator naturally raises the question for a neutral investor as to why go with eth rather than bitcoin.
One reason might be because you can do a bit more on eth due to smart contracts. That can allow for open innovation to a greater degree than bitcoin’s script language.
Yet the only innovation that matters for now is capacity while maintaining decentralization. How that will be achieved in eth and at what tradeoff, remains to be seen. While in bitcoin it’s clear how they will do it, with the question there being whether it will work.
This judgment between different cryptos can be very fluid, but one symptom of what’s gone wrong with ethereum is its recent site redesign:
That shouts incompetence, and although this is in marketing rather than code, the way this new site design was launched is symptomatic of very poor communication to the point of confusion.
For comparison, this is the current bitcoin site which hasn’t changed much except that it used to have a big video in the middle when bitcoin was sort of as “old” as eth:
It’s not a work of art, but it has a pretty big clear sentence that in two seconds explains what is bitcoin and creates clear branding with the colors and the familiar symbol.
A payment network and money. While eth is a platform for money and apps. At eth’s age, the bitcoin site also said bitcoin has fast transactions, low fees, and so on, giving the key benefits at a glance.
While for eth we have to click on beginner, which itself is a bit insulting because no one wants to think of themselves as beginners or that they’re about to start taking a course when, say, they’re a journalist or a corporate executive that has just heard of eth and wants an elevator pitch.
Then the beginners are told: “If you’ve heard of Bitcoin, ETH has many of the same features.”
Right, cement more the narrative of all these new bitcoins, with the stated difference here being that ethereum is programmable. Well, if they’ve heard of bitcoin, they’ve been told so is bitcoin.
These are subjective points and one can take different views, but the overall reception of the new site was one of criticism.
That’s potentially a symptom, so ethereum has now fallen to just 10% of bitcoin’s market cap, with it unclear whether it will gain some ground, or whether blunders like the site redesign will continue.