Let’s start with taking a closer look at each of the three cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is the oldest cryptocurrency that is most commonly used in transactions and many physical stores, in addition to online, have only adopted Bitcoin as a way of payment. Moreover, Bitcoin is the most valuable cryptocurrency, having recently passed the $8,000 mark, which gives it a total value of $148.33 billion. Bitcoin’s supply is limited at 21 million coins and the current circulating supply is at around 16.70 million.
Litecoin is a cryptocurrency very similar to Bitcoin in many ways. When it was launched in 2011, its founder wanted to make Litecoin as an alternative to Bitcoin (comparing it with silver to gold). In this way, Litecoin has a bigger supply, of 84 million coins, it requires less time to confirm a transaction (2.5 minutes compared to 10 minutes for Bitcoin). Litecoin also has a simpler proof-of-work, which is based on scrypt, which results in simpler and less energy-consuming mining. There are 53.99 million Litecoins in circulation, which have a total value of $4.71 billion.
Now, when it comes to Ethereum, the situation changes, because Ethereum is not a cryptocurrency strictly-speaking. Ethereum represents an open-source, blockchain-based platform that provides smart contract functionality. The platform provides the Ethereum Virtual Machine, which can run scripts using a network of nodes. Ethereum also has a cryptocurrency token called Ether, which is publicly-traded and currently has a value of around $460 and a total market capitalization of $44.13 billion, which makes it the second most-valuable cryptocurrency after Bitcoin. Ether tokens are also obtained through mining and then can be converted into other cryptocurrencies or fiat money. Ether is essential for those who want to use the Ethereum Network to run smart contracts, which automatically creates demand for the cryptocurrency. The total amount of Ether tokens is unlimited, but the system is set in such a way that no more than 18 million Ether tokens are issued every year. Another difference between Ether and other cryptocurrencies is that Ether’s block time is around 12 seconds (vs 10 minutes for Bitcoin and 2.5 minutes for Litecoin)
Now that we have presented some of the basics about each cryptocurrency, let’s proceed to the next page, were we will focus strictly on the differences between them and identify, which one is better.