While the cryptocurrency industry is being held witness to tens of new cryptocurrencies every week, it is getting harder and harder for even a seasoned cryptocurrency user to keep track of all the new names that keep cropping up from this financial market.

That is why, when you ask an everyday cryptocurrency user about the top 10 cryptocurrencies by usage or market value, you will get varied answers according to the best of their knowledge.

However, two names will remain constant and will always be integral to that list (at least in the present), regardless of their fluctuation or their current market conditions.

You guessed it. Bitcoin and Ethereum. Two names that will remain synonymous with cryptocurrencies to almost everyone.

But then the question of the “better” cryptocurrency pops up, and many users are not able to decide how to pit the two against each other.

They are not at fault either, since the comparison itself is not between two parallels. It is between two networks that seem similar at first glance, but which actually are not.

While both of them operate as functional, high value cryptocurrencies at the surface while also ensuring that they maintain competition between each other, deep down, they serve different purposes, so comparing Bitcoin and Ethereum would mean that one is comparing apples to oranges.

Bitcoin’s apparent functionalities and purpose

Created by Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin came to surface in 2009 as the first “cryptocurrency” of the world. It utilized the concept of blockchain and brought it to life in a never seen before manner with any technology.

Marketed as a means of “digital cash” that would break the barriers of conventional currency and would allow cross-border peer-to-peer transactions, the concept gradually yet certainly started to grab the attention that it wanted.

Furthermore, with the high level security, transparency, and usability that it provided, Bitcoin went on to become an invention that garnered the interest of other developers and similar minds from all over the world and opened doors to a whole new aspect of innovation, which in its evolved form would go on to become the cryptocurrency industry that we have all grown so passionate about.

One such product of that innovation was Ethereum itself.

How is ethereum different than bitcoin

Developed by Vitalik Buterin and others, Ethereum was launched in 2015. Unlike Bitcoin, its primary purpose was not to serve as a means of “digital cash,” but to provide a platform to allow more use cases of blockchain through its  Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).

The platform allowed its users to create their own coins through its blockchain. This particular functionality holds the most important part of the current cryptocurrency climate: most of the new coins that we know are created on the Ethereum platform.

Ethereum also introduced the functionality of smart contracts, which are used by several non-cryptocurrency based blockchain platforms.

Therefore, Ethereum established itself as not just a cryptocurrency, but a platform which happened to have its own cryptocurrency.

So they are different? What makes them complement each other?

Ethereum did for new cryptocurrencies what Bitcoin did for Ethereum.

Both cryptocurrencies, while differing largely in their purpose, introduced possibilities for innovation that had not been covered by anyone before them. This is one of the most similar aspects of both networks.

Furthermore, while Bitcoin holds its distinction as the prime cryptocurrency with a value like no other and is thus considered an asset, Ethereum does not only serve as a cryptocurrency – with about tenth the value of Bitcoin at press time – but also provides its own development platform.

Both networks in their own right serve different purposes. While it is easy to label both of them as just cryptocurrency platforms and pit them against each other, it is important to remember that they are both serving a different purpose with their focus set on different offerings.

In addition to both networks resolving their scaling issues, where Bitcoin aims to develop more as a cryptocurrency with lower transaction times and costs, Ethereum is aiming to revolutionize the financial world in various ways, one of these ways is through initial coin offerings (ICOs).

With the rumored and some planned updates of side chains and interconnectivity, if both platforms can integrate within each other in some manner, then it will allow further development possibilities where Ethereum could benefit from Bitcoin’s network, with Bitcoin benefitting from Ethereum’s innovation capabilities.

In the world of technology and especially in this niche of cryptocurrencies, healthy competition is necessary, especially when it comes to cryptocurrencies that have different purposes set at their core. The same holds true in this case.

While they can be compared to an extent to maintain competition as cryptocurrencies, a fair comparison could have only been possible if they served the same purpose at their networks’ end as well.

Furthermore, as with most technological innovations, the parallel success of both of these giants is integral to provide better end services to their users (take Apple and Samsung as an example, or IBM and Microsoft for their enterprise solutions). Therefore,  one should be encouraging competition between them rather than comparing for comparison’s sake and bringing one of them down.