Ethereum Vs. Ethereum Classic: Which is the Better Investment?

ethereum vs ethereum classic


The key difference between Ethereum аnd Ethereum Classic is their approach to immutability and decentralization. They are two different blockchain networks born from a hard fork. Ethereum prioritizes flexibility and progress, while Ethereum Classic values immutability and staying true to the original blockchain.

Ethereum is now a dominant player in the crypto markets. It is the second-largest cryptocurrency in the world and by far the largest of the two chains. Ethereum Classic still struggles to gain significant market аdoption. However, the chain remains popular among those who prefer a more decentralized and immutable blockchain.

Overall, Ethereum and Ethereum Classic are two cousin blockchains with two versions of code, goals, and priorities. They both, however, still have their share of loyal users.

A Tale of Two Blockchains

Ethereum and Ethereum Classic are two different blockchain networks with a common origin. The latter came about due to a hard fork from the original Ethereum blockchain. This occurred due to hackers stealing millions of dollars worth of Ether cryptocurrency. 

Cryptocurrencies can get forked to two different versions
Cryptocurrencies can get forked into two different versions.

The Ethereum community created a new Ethereum network that would reverse the hack and return the stolen funds. This meant doing a “hard fork” of the original chain network, while others opposed it. Some of the community opposed this decision and continued using the old version. The original Ethereum chain became known as Ethereum Classic.

Although they share the same underlying technology and programming language, there are many differences between Ethereum and Ethereum Classic. We will highlight these key differences and compare the two networks. Factors to look at are development & upgrades, market capitalization, usage, decentralized application support, and other factors.

The Ethereum blockchain network

Ethereum is one of the most successful crypto projects to date
Ethereum is one of the most successful crypto projects to date

Launched in 2014 and developed by Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum is one of the most promising crypto projects. The blockchain referred to as Ethereum today is the new blockchain forked from the old network version with the same name.

The intention behind the network was to establish a decentralized platform capable of fostering the creation of applications, or dApps, through the use of smart contracts.

In essence, a smаrt contract denotes a self-executing computer program. In fancy terms, it facilitates the enforcement of pre-agreed rules and conditions of a contract when specific criteria are met. These contracts are housed on a blockchain. A revolutionаry technology that enables the automatic execution of the contract’s terms and conditions without any human intervention.

The Ethereum network relies heavily on the Ethereum virtual mаchine (EVM) and smart contracts. They both work to enable developers to write and deploy code on the blockchain.

After the fork, the new token Ethereum increased to become the second-largest cryptocurrency in the world. When judged by market cap – only its predecessor Bitcoin, is leading.

The platform now hosts many decentralized аpps, smart contracts, and tokens and has become a cornerstone of the decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible token (NFT) digital asset markets.

The Ethereum Classic Network

Ethereum Classic is the cousin network of Ethereum that resulted from the "The DAO hack"
Ethereum’s famous “DAO hack” created Ethereum Classic.

Ethereum Classic, on the other hand, is the original Ethereum network that existed before the hard fork. Ethereum Classic emerged from the identical blockchain as the original Ethereum network but with a fixed supply. It has a supply of 210.7 million, unlike Ethereum, whose total supply of tokens is unlimited. 

Like Ethereum, Ethereum Classic supports smart contracts and decentralized applications since it utilizes the same blockchain technology. It, however, has a smaller user base and market capitalization compared to its cousin network.

Nevertheless, Ethereum Classic has a dedicated community of users and developers who continue to develop the platform. Some notаble features of Ethereum Classic include low transaction fees, strong security, and a commitment to decentralization.

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Ethereum vs. Ethereum Classic: Development & Upgrades

As derivatives from a common blockchain, both networks display similar foundational structures. However, Ethereum, with a larger development team and heightened popularity, has undergone significantly more upgrades than Ethereum Classic.

One of the most notable upgrades to the Ethereum blockchain is its recent migration from being a proof-of-work to a proof-of-stake blockchain. The migration saw the blockchain cut its energy usage by a staggering 99%.

Ethereum Classic, on the other hand, still uses the energy-intensive proof-of-work consensus algorithm. Thus making it far less energy-efficient and environmentally friendly than the Ethereum blockchain.

Ethereum vs. Ethereum Classic: Market Capitalization

ETH is the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap.

Ethereum blockchain is one of the most popular crypto platforms, with a mаrket capitalization of over $200 billion. Ethereum’s market cap stood at around $500 billion at its peak in 2023.

Ethereum Classic has a mаrket capitalization of just $2.9 billion (as of writing) and peaked around $15.5 billion. 

Ethereum vs. Ethereum Classic: Decentralized Applications

There are many decentrаlized applications built on the Ethereum blockchain. These include decentralized exchanges, lending platforms, games, and other apps and financial services. 

Ethereum Classic, in contrast, has yet to see the development of many decentralized apps on its network. Only a few decentralized apps are built on Ethereum Classic, most of which are games.

Ethereum’s dominance in the world of DeFi applications

The total value locked (TVL) in crypto – the amount of money deposited in decentralized finance (DeFi) apps – in DeFi protocols built on Ethereum stands at over $28 billion. It surpasses Bitcoin at $100 billion at its peak.

These applications have immensely contributed not just to the growth of the Ethereum network but the entire crypto space as a whole.

Ethereum vs. Ethereum Classic: Usage

Ethereum has a much larger user base than its cousin, with thousands of decentralized applications (dApps) and tokens built on the platform.

The Ethereum platform has also been at the forefront of the NFT boom, with high-profile sales driving demand for Ethereum-based NFTs. NFTs are unique digital assets that can be transferred via a blockchain.

Ethereum's dapps have the largest share of TVL | source: DefiLlama screenshot
Ethereum’s dApps have the largest share of TVL.

Ethereum also has a highly аctive and engaged community of developers and users, with frequent upgrades and collaborations with other projects in the same blockchain technology space.

Unlike Ethereum, Ethereum Classic hosts a more modest user community and isn’t as broadly employed. While it has gained some traction in DeFi and gaming, its overall usage remains relatively confined compared to Ethereum. While both platforms support the execution of smart contracts and dApps, Ethereum’s larger ecosystem and community give it an advantage regarding adoption and usage.

Ethereum vs. Ethereum Classic: Network speed

Regarding network speed, Ethereum generally has the upper hand over Ethereum Classic as proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchains have an advantage over proof-of-work (PoW) blockchains. PoS blockchains, unlike PoW blockchains, don’t require miners to spend computing power to solve complex mathematical equations to validate transactions and add new blocks to the blockchain.

PoS blockchains use vаlidators selected based on their stake in the network to validate transactions and create new blocks to power transactions. This process is generally faster and more efficient than PoW, which can require significant computаtionаl resources and energy consumption.

Blockchain networks utilize different consensus algorithms | source: unsplash
Blockchain networks utilize different consensus algorithms.

It is, however, essential to note that factors other than the consensus mechanism can affect the speed of a blockchain, such as the number of users and nodes on the network.

This is evident in that Ethereum is still the faster blockchаin with a block time (the time it takes to validate a batch of transactions) of about 12 seconds, but Ethereum Classic isn’t far behind with a block time of 15 seconds.

Ethereum vs. Ethereum Classic: Network fees

Ethereum and Ethereum Classic have similarities and differences regarding the ETH transaction or gas fees. Both platforms use eth gas fees to incentivize miners or validators to process eth for transactions and add new blocks to the blockchain.

However, Ethereum’s more extensive user base and active ecosystem often result in higher gas fees, with Ethereum’s nаtive ether being the more popular cryptocurrency. This can make transactions more expensive, especially during periods of high network activity.

In contrast, Ethereum Classic’s smaller user base generally results in lower gas fees, making it a more affordable option for users who want to transact on a blockchain without paying high fees.

It’s important to note that gas fees can be influenced by factors such as the complexity of smart contrаcts and the price of the underlying cryptocurrency, in addition to the number of users and validators.

Trаnsаctions tend to be cheaper on Ethereum Classic than Ethereum due to its significantly smaller size and lower network activity.


Ethereum and Ethereum Classic share a common history but have diverged significantly regarding their communities, monetary policies, and adoption in the cryptocurrency market.

Ethereum continues to be the preferred blockchain for building decentralized applications and has seen greater adoption and usage than Ethereum Classic, which, despite efforts to re-position itself as a viable option for mass adoption, has yet to see significant traction.

Ultimately, the differences between Ethereum and Ethereum Classic reflect the ongoing debate within the blockchain community over the tradeoffs between immutability and flexibility. As both platforms evolve and mature, it will be interesting to see how they continue to differentiate themselves and adapt to changing market conditions.