Ethereum changed the nature and future of the crypto industry when it launched back in 2015. Its story is well-known by now, but as a quick recap — Ethereum pointed out the possibilities of blockchain technology, showing the world that this underlying tech behind cryptocurrencies can be a lot more than just a distributed ledger.
But, for all its innovativeness, Ethereum still has its flaws, such as consuming too much energy due to its use of Proof-of-Work consensus, as well as its inability to scale. In the early days of its existence, neither of these things was particularly damning. Ethereum was still faster than Bitcoin, more energy-efficient consensus algorithms didn’t even exist yet, and the changes it brought made it extremely popular extremely quickly.
Not to mention that the crypto industry had so few members back then that even the scaling issues weren’t immediately noticeable, or at least, they did not have an impact. But, as crypto started to grow, more people joined in, more products got created, and more users started using them. Over time, the fact that it could only process a handful of transactions per block became a problem. Its growing transaction fees became a problem. Even Proof of Work became a problem, especially these days when the world is so desperately trying to go green.
The rise of Ethereum challengers
All of this, combined with the popularity of it being a development platform, led to the creation of countless other development platforms, each of which sought to become the next big thing — the next Ethereum.
But, by the time that happened, Ethereum was already so big and so well-developed that none of them stood a chance at even matching its performance and community, let alone overpowering it and becoming a so-called Ethereum Killer. Still, the idea of a blockchain that could overtake Ethereum someday became the stuff of legends, and whenever a new platform started seeing growth, people have been wondering — is this the one? Has Ethereum finally met its match?
This question was asked when NEO, also known as Chinese Ethereum first emerged. However, NEO wasn’t it. It was also asked when EOS came out, as well as when TRON — a project that originally started as an ERC-20 token — launched its own blockchain.
Time after time, people were asking the same question, but the answer eventually always ended up being the same. No other blockchain in the past six years was strong enough to overtake ETH, despite all of its shortcomings.
Now, however, Etheruem has a new challenger, and the same question is being asked again. Just like before, the answer is not obvious right from the start, which means that anything can yet happen. We are referring, of course, to Cardano, which is set to bring smart contracts to its mainnet in only a few days, on September 12th.
Could Cardano become the Ethereum Killer?
Cardano is not a new blockchain — it has been around for years now. However, unlike many other failed Ethereum Killers, Cardano did not rush its development. The project decided to take its time and do things slowly but surely, and it took years to get to where it is right now.
It never had any controversies, it was never hacked, nor did it encounter project-breaking bugs and similar issues. In fact, it became quite well-known for progressing slowly and not sacrificing its detailed plans just so that it could participate in bull runs and attract attention. All of this resulted in several benefits.
For one, Cardano managed to remain relevant while most of the previous Ethereum killers sank on the list of the largest coins, simply because people lost interest and have found other projects to focus on. And, another thing — Cardano developed its technology properly, allowing it to withstand the test of time.
As mentioned, this is an important moment for the project, as it will finally integrate smart contracts into its mainnet, which will mean that the project will finally be able to allow the creation of dApps, DeFi protocols, new coins and tokens, and more.
In addition, Cardano is built with PoS (Proof of Stake), which requires a lot less energy for it to work. It is also much faster, much safer, and a lot cheaper than Ethereum, with the ability to scale and meet user demand. The project raises zero red flags, and it promises a lot, but the thing is that Cardano never promised more than what it can deliver.
Cardano is already the second-largest altcoin
The anticipation of its smart contract integration alone was more than enough to push the coin’s price to a new all-time high over the last several weeks, and now that the day of the launch is closer than ever, Cardano is the third-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, just before Ethereum, and, of course, Bitcoin.
It is also as much as $10 billion larger than the next biggest crypto, which is Binance’s Binance Coin. Of course, it is still leagues behind Ethereum’s market cap, which currently sits at $297.5 billion, whereas Cardano is only at $79.1 billion. The only possible rival that the coin currently may have a reason to fear is Solana (SOL), which is another similar blockchain, but also one that seems to offer the same quality of services, but that moves a lot faster than ADA.
Whether or not this might be SOL’s downfall remains to be seen. For now, however, Cardano is still significantly bigger, and it appears to have greater expectations than Solana itself.
Another thing worth noting is that Ethereum is not exactly sitting around doing nothing while it waits to be overthrown. The project’s developers have been working on implementing Ethereum 2.0 for a long time now, and it seems that they are closer than ever to completing the process. They also recently introduced an upgrade that brought a new token burning mechanism that will reduce the coin’s supply, and at the same time, reduce the cost of making transactions.
This once again gives ETH the advantage, but we will still have to wait to find out whether this will be enough to stop Cardano from overtaking it.
To learn more about some of the differences between these altcoins, read our Ethereum vs Cardano feature.