Last year, thanks to stratospheric rises in value, lots of people became aware of the
existence of Bitcoin, as well as another often-cited up-and-coming cryptocurrency, Ethereum.

By market cap they are the two most valuable cryptocurrencies – as of writing (and please note that these numbers fluctuate quite a lot), the total value of all the Bitcoin in existence is $143 billion, while Ethereum sits at $88 billion.

For perspective – that means Bitcoin is currently held at around the same value as Unilever, whereas Ethereum has around the same market value as Starbucks or Walgreens Boots Alliance. I know that you can’t really compare a digital currency to a company but it gives some perspective.

Also, before we go any further I just want to reiterate that investing in cryptocoins or tokens is highly speculative and the market is largely unregulated. Anyone considering it should be prepared to lose their entire investment.

While to many Bitcoin and Ethereum are both simply examples of cryptocurrencies – digital money transfer systems which use blockchain technology and encryption – there are subtle differences in how they work and what they can be used for.

If you are looking to invest for speculative reasons, or even more so if you are considering using either platform for business – it’s important to understand those differences, because they could be the deciding factor in which coin (if either) goes on to become a widely accepted standard, and which will disappear into obscurity and worthlessness.