Have the prices of Ethereum or Bitcoin performed better over the years?
Ethereum was born in 2015, while Bitcoin in 2009, so for the first six years the comparison cannot be made.
The first year that can be compared is 2016.
This year was actually a very special year for Bitcoin, because it was the year following the worst year ever for its price performance, namely 2015.
It was also the year of the second halving, so the upward pressures were particularly high.
It opened the year at around $434 and ended it at $970, more than doubling in price. However, $434 was far too low, due to the very disappointing performance in 2015, and the July halving had a significant impact.
It was also a decidedly peculiar year for Ethereum, as it had been in existence for so short a time that its initial price was still terribly low.
In fact, ETH started at $0.94 and ended up at $8.17, an increase of about nine times.
So the comparison of price performance in 2016 is not particularly apt.
By contrast, 2017 was a year of comparable performance.
BTC started the year at $998 and ended it at $13,600, passing the record price of $20,000 on December 17th.
Thus the increase was as much as 13 and a half times.
ETH started at $8 and ended at $755, a 94-fold increase.
Thus, the price performance of ETH in 2017 far exceeded that of BTC.
However, if we were to calculate the increase from the first absolute listing, the results would be the opposite, as BTC started in 2010 at around $0.06, while Ether started in 2015 at $2, but this soon dropped to $0.6.
In other words, from its debut on the markets to December 31st, 2017, the price of Bitcoin has increased 226,666 times, while that of ETH has increased 1,258 times.
2018, on the other hand, has been a year of losses for both.
BTC recorded -73%, while ETH as much as -82%, after passing through a high of $1,400.
By contrast, 2019 was once again a positive year for Bitcoin, which closed with +100%, while ETH’s was neutral, closing essentially at parity.
In 2020, thanks in part to Bitcoin’s third halving, performance was again remarkable, with BTC closing at +280%, after recording new all-time highs surpassing those of 2017, while ETH closed as high as +461%.
So the only year in which both closed with a loss was 2018, with a more pronounced loss for Ethereum, while the only year in which performance dissociated was 2019, with BTC making a strong gain and ETH breaking even.
Bitcoin vs Ethereum, who grew the most
In all other years, the performance of both was positive, but higher for Ethereum.
If we compare the final prices on December 31st, 2020 with those of, for example, January 1st, 2016, we find that Bitcoin’s price has only increased 62 times, while Ethereum’s has increased 776 times. ETH has therefore significantly outperformed BTC over the past four years.
However, if we compare them with the starting prices, Bitcoin has increased 451,666 times and Ethereum 1,216 times.
By contrast, if we limit ourselves to the last three years, i.e. since the last big speculative bubble formed, the price of BTC has gained 99%, while that of ETH has remained essentially unchanged.
So far in 2021, Ethereum is outperforming Bitcoin.