Computer scientist and bitcoin developer Gavin Andresen believes that the Ethereum network will challenge and eventually replace bitcoin as its scaling capability and blockchain size exceeds those of bitcoin.

Since late 2015, Andresen has extensively supported the development of hard forks such as Bitcoin XT to increase the blocksize of bitcoin. After stepping down as the lead Bitcoin Core developer, Andresen continued to contribute in various alternative software to impose hard forks.

Earlier this week, Andresen stated that Ethereum’s high node count could allow the system to challenge the bitcoin network if it scales efficiently and increases in block size. Some members of online bitcoin discussion groups supported Andresen’s claim, explaining that Ethereum also has more features in its Simplified Payment Verification client (SPV).


However, Andresen’s controversial statement received harsh criticisms from other bitcoin users and supporters, who believe that the comparison between the two systems should not surface in the first place.

In theory, bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and is designed to be utilised as a payment method for anyone in the network. Ethereum, in contrast, is considered more as a crypto-asset, which operates as the foundation of a smart contract network designed to establish an ecosystem in which developers can create and deploy decentralised applications on a distributed network.

A more sensible comparison would be Monero to bitcoin considering that both cryptocurrencies are developed on legitimate cryptography and are actually designed to operate as money.

Still, supporters of Andresen’s claim believe that once light or client-mode wallets become more usable in the Ethereum network, it could close the gap between the market’s most dominant cryptocurrency and Ethereum, which offers certain features and unique applications which bitcoin lacks.

However, if Vitalik Buterin and the rest of the Ethereum development team switches to a proof-of-stake based system like they hinted in the past, the entire basis of Andresen’s argument could be easily denied and disproved. Since a proof-of-stake network grants the majority of its stakeholders a share of the network’s mining equivalent to their cryptocurrency holdings, the entire mechanism involving blocksize and mining hashrate will change, altering the network’s efficiency in settling of transactions and settlement of smart contracts.



Joseph Young