Ethereum (ETH) may now present advantages to institutional investors over Bitcoin (BTC), according to Fidelity’s Director of Research, Chris Kuiper.
During an interview with the Bankless podcast on Wednesday, Kuiper argued that legacy finance is “getting past the Bitcoin point” in terms of its understanding of crypto at large, opening its minds to other digital assets.
Institutions Moving Beyond Bitcoin
According to Kuiper, one of the key factors boosting Ethereum’s attractiveness to investors is its maturation as a protocol.
“It has set itself apart from Bitcoin even more,” said Kuiper. “The switch to proof of stake and all of these things coming up… it’s making its differentiated use case, and that helps with the diversification narrative with institutional investors as well.”
Ethereum completed its “merge” upgrade roughly 12 months ago, shifting its consensus mechanism from proof of work to proof of stake. The upgrade’s benefits have been manifold: reducing Ethereum’s electricity consumption by 99%, dramatically reducing Ether’s inflation rate, and preparing the network for future scaling through ‘sharding.’
Bitcoin, by contrast, upgrades far less frequently and boasts no particular development roadmap or centralized development team. In January 2022, Fidelity highlighted this as one of Bitcoin’s star qualities, as the protocol’s decentralization gives credibility to the scarcity of its underlying asset, making it the ultimate “monetary good.”
Ether As Money
During Wednesday’s interview, however, Fidelity remarked Ether may also be an emergent form of money – especially given its deflationary tokenomics after the merge.
“The various upgrades from Ethereum have made the token (or the asset) more scarce,” said Jack Neureuter, a research analyst for Fidelity Digital Assets, during the interview. “That has driven this sort of store of value attribute as being potentially more attractive around Ethereum.”
That said, the analysts noted that Ether’s theoretically bullish new burning mechanism is yet to be reflected in its price. While supply has indeed gone down since the merge, demand for Ether is another story.
“It doesn’t have the first mover advantage and the network effect of Bitcoin,” said Kuiper. “You also have maybe some people maybe doubting whether or not that will continue in the future just because it has changed so many times in the past.”
Beyond Bitcoin and Ethereum, the analysts said there simply isn’t much institutional demand. “The juice isn’t worth the squeeze for them, as they say,” Kuiper added.