Ethereum could become an ultra-dominant blockchain

If the Ethereum blockchain succeeds “The Merge”, it could overshadow the Bitcoin blockchain as its scope of application is wide, say ecosystem observers.

Ethereum, the “blockchain” which is changing its mode of operation this week, is a pillar of the entire economy which has been built around “block chains”, computer protocols that may herald a new era. of internet.

Ether, the cryptocurrency directly linked to Ethereum, represents only around 20% of the total value of existing virtual currencies, second only to bitcoin (40%). But Ethereum has a much wider scope of applications and serves as a medium for multiple uses.

A much wider field of application

“It is around Ethereum that most of the developments in the cryptocurrency ecosystem are concentrated,” says Simon Polrot, “blockchain” expert and former president of the Association for the Development of Digital Assets (Adan). .

Unlike the Bitcoin “blockchain”, designed above all to exchange units of value – the famous bitcoins -, Ethereum was designed from the outset to be able to support lines of code.

It thus makes it possible to build a kind of global virtual machine, based on all the computers participating in its network – around 9,000 machines or “nodes” on the planet today.

“Ethereum is a bit like Windows or macOS. It’s the operating system on which you can come to build your applications”, summarizes Manuel Valente, from Coinhouse, a French company which aims to become “the future European cryptobank “.

“Anyone can schedule a new asset on Ethereum,” adds Simon Polrot.

The – relative – ease of use of Ethereum has made it, for example, the star “blockchain” for storing NFTs, these digital certificates of authenticity that will perhaps play a key role in future “metavers”.

Speculative madness

For Simon Polrot and Manuel Valente, Ethereum now concentrates probably 90% of the value of all NFTs issued to date. It is on Ethereum, for example, that the sports stickers issued by Sorare, the French company which has just signed a contract with the NBA, are based.

The controversial “Bored Apes Yacht Club” monkeys, which sparked speculative madness and attracted sports and entertainment stars like Neymar, Eminem and Paris Hilton, are also on Ethereum.

Same observation in the field of decentralized finance (DeFi), these applications which make it possible to lend or borrow cryptocurrencies.

According to estimates by the specialized site Defi Llama, Ethereum today represents around 59% of the value committed in all current DeFi operations, far ahead of rivals such as Tron or BSC, the cryptocurrency created by the Chinese crypto giant Binance. .

Some rival “blockchains” have conquered a certain audience, such as Polygon, Tezos, or Avalanche, the latest born which is arousing a lot of interest. But Ethereum is in a strong position and, “if it succeeds in its transformation, it can become ultra-dominant”, explains Manuel Valente.

Ethereum will however have a new obstacle to overcome in 2023 or 2024, warns the expert: it will indeed have to undergo a new mutation, in order to be able to increase the number of transactions it can record per second. At 20 operations per second currently, this capacity remains too limited compared to its ambitions.

Before that, it will be necessary to succeed this week the “Merge”, an update of Ethereum supposed to upset the method of validation on the “chain of blocks”, an essential element of its operation. In this case, to be able to validate operations, it will no longer be a question of having significant computing power but of placing 32 ethers as collateral (about 50,000 euros at the current price), a sum that can be seized in the event of bad conduct of the “validator”. However, what would happen if this novelty failed, for example due to an undetected flaw in this protocol?

“In the short term, it would obviously be a very bad event,” says Simon Polrot. But the expert refuses to catastrophize: “At worst, there would only be a postponement in time of the operation”, he anticipates.

Pauline Armandet with AFP

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Ethereum could become an ultra-dominant blockchain

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