Every time a public figured talks about bitcoin on Twitter, it is only a matter of time until controversy ensues. Erik Voorhees recently stated how he is keeping a supply of ETH on hand for regular payments, as bitcoin’s network congestion is getting out of hand. A rather unusual statement that will create a bit more friction between the two communities.
Is Ethereum A Viable Payment Option?
That is the big question that needs to be answered first and foremost. Even though bitcoin is far from a major mainstream payment option right now, it is seemingly impossible to think any alternative currency would be more useful in the long run. Ethereum is focused on creating technical blockchain use cases, rather than being a payment method of its own. This makes Erik Voorhees’ statement even more strange, although it does make some sense.
Using Ethereum directly for payments, either online or in real life is virtually impossible without converting it to bitcoin first. If that is the only option, it seems highly unlikely Ethereum will overtake bitcoin anytime soon in this regard. Erik Voorhees, who runs the Shapeshift platform, knows that most people make Ethereum payments by going through bitcoin first, sometimes even by using his own company. Converting Ethereum to bitcoin only adds more transactions to the network, and can end up delaying other transactions.
I'm finding myself holding some extra ETH to use as payments, since Bitcoin is becoming too expensive/delayed 🙁
— Erik Voorhees (@ErikVoorhees) February 10, 2017
It is true bitcoin transactions are becoming more expensive unless one wants to wait a few hours before it is confirmed. Using a higher fee is not a viable option for most people, which is perfectly understandable. Then again, most wallet solutions will determine the appropriate fees without overcharging its users. In most cases, people should never pay US$0.50 or more for any bitcoin transaction, albeit your mileage may vary.
The statement issued by Voorhees is greeted with a mix of support and disbelief right now. Ethereum has had plenty of issues of its own already, making it look far less appealing to both cryptocurrency users and retailers accepting bitcoin payments who look for an alternative. Moreover, Ethereum was never designed to be a payment network like bitcoin. Scalability can also be an issue for Ethereum if people were to use it as a payment method, as gas transaction prices would soon skyrocket.
While statements like these will set some people on edge, it is evident bitcoin has some issues that need to be solved sooner rather than later. Scalability – and its associated transaction fees – are a big problem that needs to be resolved. Whether either SegWit or Bitcoin Unlimited is the solution, remains to be seen at this time. Ethereum may look somewhat appealing to some people, yet it is doubtful ETH would ever overtake bitcoin as a cryptocurrency payment option.
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