Does (Can) Bitcoin run on Ethereum? Here Is The Difference

  • by

Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency, but the sea out there is filled with altcoins as good as it or even better.

One of them is Ether, which inspired many altcoins to use similar technology. But, can Bitcoin run on the Ethereum network?

Does Bitcoin run on Ethereum?

No, it doesn’t. Bitcoin is older than the Ethereum network and uses different technology. Each blockchain is separate and functions with a different algorithm. Bitcoin uses SHA-256, while Ethereum uses ethash.

It seems that a question such as “does X crypto coin run on Y blockchain?” presupposes a few things.

One of them is that crypto coins can run on different blockchains. Or, perhaps, one might think that some cryptos are hard forks of others.

Each different cryptocurrency runs on its own blockchain.

Bitcoin was the first successful attempt at a decentralized monetary system based on blockchain technology.

Soon after, many others came by, including Ether (Ether is the coin while Ethereum is the whole network on which it runs).

So, Bitcoin and Ether are two different currencies. They are incompatible, technically speaking.

Although each one runs on a different blockchain, what unites them is that both of them have a monetary value.

So, you can exchange your Ether coins and get access to bitcoins or any other altcoin.

We mentioned hard fork, and that is one of the few cases where different coins run on the same network (but not exactly).

A hard fork happens when the blockchain gets updated but only a part of the network of miners adhere to such updates.

When the miners upgrade their systems to accept the new version of the blockchain, the new version rejects all older transactions.

This creates a new branch on the blockchain. However, some users can opt not to download the new version and keep using the old system.

That way, two (or more) parallel sets of transactions happen on a system that before was only one blockchain.

Can Bitcoin Run On Ethereum?

No. As already explained, the two coins have different algorithms.

The Ether transactions will get validated on the Ethereum network, while the Bitcoin transactions will get validated on their own network.

You can trade your Ether coins and get access to bitcoins, but it is impossible to put a coin or token in a blockchain it doesn’t belong to.

Why are Bitcoin and Ethereum correlated?

Because the two cryptocurrencies are usually among the top three traded.

The price of a single Ether coin is much below Bitcoin’s, but it is still eminently attractive for many people.

Ethereum’s technology is exciting, and the network has already consolidated itself as highly popular.

That is one reason why the two coins are generally presented together, sometimes in opposition to each other.

Bitcoin was the first successful cryptocurrency, and Ether appeared later with innovative and exciting technology.

Read Do All Cryptocurrencies Work The Same?

Is Ethereum Better Than Bitcoin?

The two networks have differences among them.

First of all, the two coins have differences in how easy it is to mine them. The ease goes all the way from the equipment you need to get.

Nowadays, to mine Bitcoin, you will need to get powerful hardware known as ASIC. And even with the proper hardware, the network is already crowded with professional miners.

On the other hand, Ether protocol is ASIC-resistant, so Ether mining is still an inviting enterprise for GPU miners.

Read Does Bitcoin Mining Consume GPU?

Bitcoin is sought after because of its price. As this article is getting written, its price is around $58,000.

Ether, on the other hand, trades for about $4,200. You need to get more Ether blocks to make a profit.

However, Ethereum doesn’t serve just as a monetary currency. Its ambitions go well beyond that, as we are going to show throughout this article.

What is the difference between Bitcoin Blockchain and Ethereum Blockchain?

There are many differences between the two blockchains. The first we already mentioned: the algorithm.

But the differences go way further than that. The blockchain supporting Bitcoin can be imagined as a database of wallets/accounts in which each of them stores a certain amount of coins.

Between the release of Bitcoin and Ether, many cryptocurrencies emerged trying to improve on Bitcoin.

With the release of Ether, though, the cryptocurrency world saw a very sophisticated new cryptocurrency.

Beyond acting as a monetary option which is very safe, the Ethereum network supports smart contracts and decentralized applications (DAPPS).

Ethereum is a wide network offering much more than Bitcoin. It has its own language running on the blockchain, allowing developers to build and run distributed applications.

Even for transactions, Ether has an advantage which is the time of validation.

While Bitcoin takes minutes to validate new transactions, the same process takes only seconds on Ether.

The Ethereum network is so versatile that developers can create new crypto coins or tokens using the same protocol as Ether.

They can represent shares, voting rights, or prove identity/credentials.

What other coins run on Bitcoin Blockchain?

Bitcoin is not as versatile as Ethereum, meaning that you can’t create new currencies inside the Bitcoin network.

However, there have been some forks throughout Bitcoin’s history.

We can count them as running on Bitcoin, although each of them has its parallel blockchain with a different transaction history.

Bitcoin XT

Bitcoin XT intended to expand Bitcoin’s block size and make transactions faster.

Bitcoin Classic

Bitcoin Classic appeared in the 8 first months of Bitcoin as an increase of the maximum size block from one megabyte to two megabytes.

In 2016, the limit was removed from the software rules and moved the responsibility to miners and nodes.

Bitcoin Unlimited

Bitcoin Unlimited allows miners to configure the size of the blocks as they wish.

They can keep processing regular-sized blocks, but when a block larger than 1MB gets mined, they follow the chain with the most work.

Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin Cash is a fork of Bitcoin that appeared in 2017.

Its existence is due to the preference of certain miners to use Bitcoin primarily as a medium of exchange for commerce rather than a store of value.

Bitcoin SV

Bitcoin SV is another fork of Bitcoin Cash. The fork originated from a divergence of opinions regarding the block size of Bitcoin Cash.

Some promoted Bitcoin ABC (Adjustable Blocksize Cap), a software that would keep the block size at 32MB. Others defended Bitcoin SV, a software that would increase the block size limit to 128MB.

Bitcoin Gold

Bitcoin Gold is a fork of Bitcoin that aims to make Bitcoin accessible to GPU miners. Bitcoin Gold is the only variation of Bitcoin that can’t get mined with the use of ASICs.

What Other Coins Run On Ethereum Blockchain?

Plenty of other coins run on the Ethereum network. They are ERC-20 (Ethereum Request For Comments 20) tokens.

All of them are fungible, meaning that they are interchangeable within the Ethereum network.

Since all of them run on the same network and are interchangeable, they share the same rules. Let’s check some examples of ERC-20 tokens.

Chainlink

Chainlink (or Link) is a decentralized oracle network and cryptocurrency that provides real-world data to blockchains.

It is one of the main sources of data used to feed information to applications in decentralized finance.

Tether

Tether is an attempt at creating a stablecoin. Most cryptocurrencies have a non-stable, volatile value.

Tether advertises itself as always valuing $1.

That way, instead of being an appeal for financial investments, it appeals to people that want privacy while knowing how much their tokens are worth.

Wrapped Bitcoin

So, here is a twist for the leading question of this article. While regular Bitcoin and its forks all run in the Bitcoin network, Bitcoin holders can, in some way, use their coins in the Ethereum network.

Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) is an ERC-20 token backed 1:1 by Bitcoin. It is a tokenized version of Bitcoin. To get it, you need to trade your bitcoins with merchants that issue your WBTC coins to run on the Ethereum network.

So, strictly speaking, bitcoins still don’t run on the Ethereum network. You just trade one coin for another with the same value.

USD Coin

As the name goes, USD Coin is a stable coin. Every USDC token equals one dollar exactly. It is similar to Tether.

The differences, however, are in how secured the tokens are. There is controversy surrounding Tether, while USDC is genuinely backed by the American dollar.

NFTs

NFTs don’t use ERC-20, but they run on Ethereum. They are very popular right now as a way of artists selling their art.

However, NFT stands for “non-fungible token”. This means you can’t trade them for each other.

Final Thoughts

Comparing Bitcoin and Ethereum is useful to take a look at the two biggest cryptocurrency networks out there and have a bit of a history lesson about them.

While Bitcoin was born as a means of digitalizing money and decentralizing the authority over it, Ethereum does that and much more.

Of course, Bitcoin is still very popular and will continue to be for a long time.

But Ethereum brings innovation and allows for everyone to use their creativity to make new tokens and other ingenious uses of the network.