Bitcoin is the oldest cryptocurrency. It was launched on January 9, 2009. It was created by an individual (or group of individuals) named Satoshi Nakamoto. The true identity of the founder or founders of bitcoin remains unknown to this day.
The two ticker of Bitcoin are BTC and XTB.
Evolution and Transactions
The number of Bitcoin transactions has been increasing steadily. There are periods of decline, however they are typically short periods (less than 12 months). This graph shows the evolution of Bitcoin transactions from its launch until 2017 (logarithmic scale):
Even though the number remains small, more and more organizations are now accepting payments in Bitcoin. However, due to concerns about the tightening regulation imposed on cryptocurrencies by a growing number of governments some companies have recently pulled back from enabling their customers to pay with Bitcoin.
Evolution of the value of Bitcoin
Like its transactions, the value of Bitcoin is increasing (although there are price correction periods). In 2009 a bitcoin was worth less than 0.006 US dollars (about 0.005 euros). To date, Bitcoin has reached an al- time high above 20,000.00 US dollars (about 17,000.00 euros).
Mining allows both the creation of new blocks (new Bitcoins) at the end of the chain and the validation of the latest transactions within the network. It is performed by network computers that use the mining program. The new blocks created are the property of the computer that has mined them (and therefore the owner of the computer).
In a Bitcoin transaction the payer can decide if he wants to pay a transaction fee. Minors who allow the execution of transactions receive these fees. As a result, transactions that pay the highest transaction fees will be processed first.
During periods of high activity it was noticed that the fees increased considerably (beyond 20 US dollars (about 17 euros) per transaction as well as the execution time (and therefore validation) of the transaction. Users have mention delays of 2 hours, 30 hours or even 3 weeks.
A dominant position
Bitcoin is used as a pair to buy other cryptocurrency (altcoins). There is a development of new pairs with the introduction of Ether (ETH) but Bitcoin remains the main cryptocurrency used to purchase altcoins.
Ethereum which is often mistaken for Ether is an Open Source platform that enables its users to create a blockchain system and smart contracts.
Ethereum was created by Vitalik Buterin, a programmer and researcher in cryptocurrency of Canadian nationality and of Russian origin.
Vitalik presented his project at the end of 2013. In August 2014 he managed to find an investor. The platform became available to the public on July 30, 2015. The people who worked alongside Vitalik are Anthony Di Lorio, Mihai Alisie, and Charles Hoskinson.
Ethereum’s Cryptocurrency: Ether
The Ethereum platform uses its own cryptocurrency: Ether
The ticker of Ether is ETH.
Ether differs from Bitcoin in the nature of its code and consequently in the execution of its transactions.
After Bitcoin, Ether is the second most important cryptocurrency by capitalization.
Ether does not work with a block size restriction but a gas limit. The gas limit is the processor usage, the storage space, and the bandwidth allocation required by Ethereum to perform an Ether transaction (the gas limit is a cap on both processing and storage/bandwidth).
In December 2017, following the launch of the cryptokitties site (https://www.cryptokitties.co/) which enables to purchase cryptographic cats, Ether faced its first serious technical problems.
Due to the sharp increase in Ether transactions, the gas limit (the equivalent of transaction costs) rose sharply to reach a higher level well above the peaks achieved in the past. Consequently, the execution time of transactions also increased significantly.
After Bitcoin, Ether is the second most used cryptocurrency pair for the purchase of less common cryptocurrencies, the altcoins.
The trend of new pairs in ETH is on the rise.
Link to the Ethereum website : https://ethereum.org/
Link to the Ethereum white paper: https://github.com/ethereum/wiki/wiki/White-Paper
Link to the page holding the Ethereum code: https://github.com/ethereum