Bitcoin is no stranger to the limelight, but the historically volatile cryptocurrency challenges the adage that all publicity is good. A recent bull run has pushed the token to new all-time highs, setting it up for an almost immediate $1,000 decline. Add to that the abrupt cancellation of the Segwit2x hard fork geared toward doubling the block sizes processed by the network, and the crypto community is reeling once again from the whiplash.
Meanwhile, Ethereum has been quietly improving upon the capabilities of its own network. There are several metrics worth considering on this front, but perhaps most significant is transaction volume. According to Coin Telegraph, “reports by the Ethereum Foundation indicate that Ethereum processed 44 percent more transactions than the Bitcoin Blockchain.” This demonstrates Ethereum’s relative strength as well as its stability, as the number of pending transactions is an impressively low 30 to 300 (the corresponding range for Bitcoin being 39,000 to 47,000).
There have also been a number of compelling use cases for the flourishing cryptocurrency. Initial coin offerings (ICOs) continue to be successful, and new tokens are derived from the network with seeming regularity. This is not to say that there are no challenges for Ethereum to overcome. The threat of attacks by quantum computers, which can circumvent certain anonymity protections, continues to cast its shadow. Reporting from Coin Telegraph suggests that this may have also prevented a Wall Street rush to adoption.
To that end, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin has released a white paper for a new “zero-knowledge” protocol called zk-stark. Built on the foundation of Metropolis’ zk-snark hard fork—and from hashes and information theory alone—the protocol promises the first transactions that are both fully secure and fully anonymous. The upgrade comes with a large data cost, but those involved in transactions that depend on maximum anonymity are willing to accept the trade-off.
Although the specter of quantum computing may have slowed the acceptance rate that tech insiders predicted, the Ethereum network is delivering on its most important promises. Transactions are getting faster, security is improving, and volumes are on the rise. The dynamism of Ethereum has shown that, whatever the challenge, the cryptocurrency is capable of meeting it. As Ethereum successfully lends itself to more and more applications, the coming months are likely to reveal continued market growth.