The de facto cryptocurrency leader, no other coin even comes close to Bitcoin, or BTC. At the time this article was written, the dollar value of all outstanding Bitcoin was $150 billion. The total market capitalization for all cryptocurrencies is $230 billion, and the second-most valuable digital currency was Ethereum, with a market value less than $18 billion.
While both the Bitcoin and Ethereum networks are powered by the principle of distributed ledgers and cryptography, the two differ technically in many ways. For example, transactions on the Ethereum network may contain executable code, while data affixed to Bitcoin network transactions are generally only for keeping notes. Other differences include block time (an ether transaction is confirmed in seconds compared to minutes for bitcoin) and the algorithms that they run on (Ethereum uses ethash while Bitcoin uses SHA-256).
That network now sustains its financial system, a decentralized microcosm of the massive traditional one. It takes tokenized versions of the underlying currencies that users most value (whether bitcoin or fiat) and provides disintermediated mechanisms for lending or borrowing them or for creating decentralized derivative or insurance contracts. What’s emerging, albeit in a form too volatile for traditional institutions, is a multifaceted, market for managing and trading in risk.
Demeester, an analyst and co-founder of crypto investment fund Adamant Capital, announced last month that he’s scaling back his public involvement in Bitcoin. But his recent statement doesn’t mean he's shifting wholeheartedly from Bitcoin to Ethereum. He’s emphasized that he’s still a Bitcoin believer, and retains plenty of reservations about Ethereum.
DeFi’s ‘Agricultural Revolution’ Has Ethereum Users Turning to Decentralized Exchanges. DEX, often touted as a fairer and safer way to trade cryptocurrencies, might finally have its use case: yield farming. In the past, as Brady Dale reports, most people haven’t wanted to self-custody, preferring institutions to manage the risks of holding their keys for them. But in DeFi, where people undertake dual borrowing-and-lending schemes to make big, quick returns on incentives and high interest rates, is better if you control the keys during the trade. And decentralized exchanges are seizing the opportunity.
This expansion in DeFi’s user base and market offerings is in itself a boost to security. That’s not just because more developers means more code vulnerabilities are discovered and fixed. It’s because the combinations of investors’ short and long positions, and of insurance and derivative products, will ultimately get closer to Nassim Taleb’s ideal of an “antifragile” system.
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That’s not to say there aren’t risks in DeFi. Many are worried that the frenzy around speculative activities such as “yield farming” and interconnected leverage could set off a systemic crisis. If that happens, maybe Bitcoin can offer an alternative, more stable architecture for it. Either way, ideas to improve DeFi are coming all the time – whether for better system-wide data or for a more trustworthy legal framework. Out of this hurly burly, something transformative will emerge. Whether it’s dominated by Ethereum or spread across different blockchains, the end result will show more cross-protocol synergy than the chains’ warring communities would suggest.
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