Tuesday, January 23, 2018

What Is eBTC?

We have seen quite a few versions of Bitcoin introduced throughout the years. Although Bitcoin itself is still a factor, we also have Bitcoin Cash and the rumored Bitcoin Gold to contend with. It is likely we will see yet another chain added to the list, thanks to the SegWit2x hard fork in a few weeks. If that wasn’t enough, we now also have eBTC, which is an ERC20 version of Bitcoin. Whether or not such a token needs to exist in the first place is a different matter altogether.



EBTC IS AN UNUSUAL TYPE OF BITCOIN
No one will deny tokens issued on top of the Ethereum blockchain can all have their own value in one way or another. Although not all of those tokens will be widely successful in the long run, most of them are seemingly in a good place right now. eBTC is not a token a lot of people will automatically put on this level, but that is only to be expected. A tokenized version of Bitcoin on the Ethereum blockchain is not all that appealing to anyone.

Granted, the Bitcoin we all know and have used is far from perfect. It is still a cumbersome payment method to deal with and the volatile price swings aren’t improving matters whatsoever. Moreover, it can take a lot of time to get network confirmations once transactions are sent. While most payment processors negate this delay at their own risk, it is not the fastest way to move money around right now. That may all change in the future once the Lightning Network becomes a part of Bitcoin, though.

Until that happens, there will always be people who claim they can create a much better Bitcoin. The creators of eBTC are certainly on this list; otherwise, they wouldn’t have brought this ERC20 token into existence in the first place. Unfortunately, we now have a new currency we have to deal with, even though its chances of success appear to be rather limited at this point. That doesn’t mean eBTC won’t succeed, but it will most likely never dethrone whichever version of Bitcoin is leading the charge in a few months from now.

What makes eBTC most appealing – according to its developer, at least – is that it has a transaction time of 24 seconds. That is certainly a lot faster than Bitcoin itself. Additionally, it purports to offer transaction fees of US$0.50 at most. That’s rather on the cheap side, although there is no longer a reason to pay high transaction fees when using the real Bitcoin either. Plus, eBTC can work with smart contracts. Bitcoin will get the same functionality in a few months, rendering this project a bit moot in the process.

As one would expect, there will be plenty of compatible wallets for this ERC20 token. It does not appear eBTC will get its own wallet, but considering it’s an ERC20 token, there is no real need for one either. This token will be compatible with Parity, Mist, Metamask, imToken, MyEtherWallet, and the standard Ethereum client. With a total supply of 21 million eBTC, the tokenized version of Bitcoin certainly copies the real deal to a T in this regard. That won’t make it successful, though.

Speaking of which, eBTC is currently valued at US$0.20. That means the transaction fee for sending one eBTC across the Ethereum network is as high as the value of the token itself. That’s not the most solid business model we have ever seen, but things will presumably change over time. For now, there is seemingly no reason for this token to exist whatsoever, but there will always be people who take a liking to these types of creations.