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Ethereum's Struggles: Top 3 Factors Behind Its Underperformance Against Bitcoin in 2024

Ethereum’s Struggles: Top 3 Factors Behind Its Underperformance Against Bitcoin in 2024

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86 Listen to this article In the dynamic world of cryptocurrencies, 2024 has proven to be a challenging year for […]

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In the dynamic world of cryptocurrencies, 2024 has proven to be a challenging year for Ethereum (ETH), as it continues to underperform compared to Bitcoin (BTC). Despite being the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, Ethereum’s growth has lagged behind Bitcoin, leaving investors and analysts to ponder the reasons behind this trend. Here, we delve into the top three factors contributing to Ethereum’s struggles in 2024.

1. Regulatory Uncertainty and Legal Challenges

Regulatory scrutiny has been a significant headwind for Ethereum in 2024. Governments and regulatory bodies worldwide have increased their focus on cryptocurrencies, with Ethereum facing particular attention due to its use in decentralized finance (DeFi) and initial coin offerings (ICOs). The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has intensified its efforts to classify certain Ethereum-based tokens as securities, leading to increased legal uncertainties.

In March 2024, the SEC announced investigations into several major DeFi projects built on the Ethereum network, causing widespread concern among investors. This heightened regulatory scrutiny has resulted in caution among institutional investors, who are wary of potential legal repercussions. As a result, the influx of institutional capital into Ethereum has slowed, impacting its price performance relative to Bitcoin, which is perceived as a safer bet amidst regulatory ambiguity.

2. Scalability Issues and Network Congestion

Scalability has long been a challenge for Ethereum, and 2024 has seen these issues come to the forefront once again. Despite the successful transition to Ethereum 2.0 and the implementation of the Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, the network continues to face congestion and high gas fees during periods of peak demand. The explosive growth of DeFi applications, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and other decentralized applications (dApps) has put immense pressure on the Ethereum network.

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In April 2024, a surge in NFT minting and trading activity led to a significant spike in gas fees, making transactions expensive and slow. This has deterred users and developers from using the Ethereum network, pushing them towards alternative blockchains that offer faster and cheaper transactions. Competing platforms like Solana, Binance Smart Chain, and Avalanche have gained traction, further eroding Ethereum’s market share and contributing to its underperformance against Bitcoin.

3. Bitcoin’s Growing Institutional Adoption

Bitcoin’s status as the premier cryptocurrency has been reinforced in 2024 by growing institutional adoption. Major financial institutions, hedge funds, and corporations have continued to embrace Bitcoin as a store of value and hedge against inflation. High-profile endorsements and investments from companies like Tesla, MicroStrategy, and Square have bolstered Bitcoin’s reputation as “digital gold.”

In contrast, Ethereum’s narrative is more complex, focusing on its utility as a platform for smart contracts and decentralized applications. While this versatility is a strength, it also makes Ethereum a more speculative investment compared to Bitcoin’s clear value proposition as a digital asset. The influx of institutional money into Bitcoin has driven its price higher, while Ethereum’s more uncertain regulatory and technical landscape has made it less attractive to these deep-pocketed investors.

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