Ethereum (ETH) vs. Ethereum Classic (ETC): A Comprehensive Comparison

Komodo Team
Komodo Team

Ethereum (ETH) vs. Ethereum Classic (ETC): A Comprehensive Comparison
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC) are two cryptocurrencies that share a common origin but have diverged significantly over time.

Understanding the split between these two is crucial for anyone involved in cryptocurrency, as it highlights key philosophical and technical differences that have shaped their development and usage.

Key Takeaways

  • Ethereum and Ethereum Classic originated from the same blockchain network but split following the DAO hack in 2016.
  • Ethereum (ETH) reversed the hack through a hard fork, focusing on user protection and adaptability, leading to significant developments like Ethereum 2.0.
  • Ethereum Classic (ETC) retained the original blockchain, emphasizing immutability and the principle that "code is law."

Background of Ethereum

Ethereum was founded in 2015 by a group of developers led by Vitalik Buterin. It introduced a revolutionary concept in the form of decentralized applications (dApps) and smart contracts, which are self-executing contracts with the terms directly written into code. These innovations allowed Ethereum to become a versatile platform capable of supporting a wide range of applications beyond simple financial transactions.

Key features of Ethereum include its robust smart contract functionality, which has enabled the creation of numerous dApps across various industries, from finance (DeFi) to gaming and beyond. Ethereum’s development has been marked by continuous upgrades, such as the transition to Ethereum 2.0, which aims to improve scalability, security, and sustainability.

Background of Ethereum Classic

Ethereum Classic (ETC) emerged in 2016 following a significant event known as The DAO incident. While Ethereum Classic retains the original Ethereum blockchain, it has distinct features and a separate development trajectory. Ethereum Classic maintains the principle of "code is law," meaning that the blockchain should be immutable and unalterable, regardless of the circumstances.

Key features of Ethereum Classic include its adherence to the original Ethereum protocol and its commitment to maintaining a decentralized and immutable ledger. Despite facing challenges in terms of development and market adoption, ETC continues to be supported by a dedicated community.

The DAO Incident

The DAO, or Decentralized Autonomous Organization, was an ambitious project built on the Ethereum blockchain, designed to function as a venture capital fund for the crypto and decentralized space. In June 2016, a hacker exploited a vulnerability in The DAO’s code, resulting in the theft of approximately $50 million worth of Ether.

The incident had a profound impact on the Ethereum community, sparking intense debate about how to respond. The financial losses were substantial, and the event threatened to undermine confidence in the Ethereum platform. Community reactions ranged from calls for intervention to maintain trust in the ecosystem to arguments for preserving the sanctity of the blockchain’s immutability.

The Decision to Fork

In the wake of The DAO hack, the Ethereum community faced a critical decision: whether to implement a hard fork to reverse the hack and return the stolen funds or to leave the blockchain unchanged. The options considered included doing nothing, implementing a soft fork, or executing a hard fork.

After extensive debate, the decision was made to proceed with a hard fork, creating a new version of the Ethereum blockchain where the stolen funds were returned. This resulted in two separate blockchains: Ethereum (ETH), which implemented the hard fork, and Ethereum Classic (ETC), which continued on the original chain without modifications.

Comparing Ethereum (ETH) vs. Ethereum Classic (ETC)

Today, Ethereum and Ethereum Classic are two cryptocurrencies that have noticeable differences. The comparison is very similar to Ethereum vs. Bitcoin.

Creation of Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC)

The creation of ETH and ETC stemmed from the differing philosophies within the Ethereum community post-DAO incident. Ethereum (ETH) represents the chain that reversed the hack, prioritizing security and user trust. Ethereum Classic (ETC) represents the original chain, adhering to the principle of immutability and the idea that the blockchain should remain unchanged.

Differences in Principles and Philosophies

The core difference between ETH and ETC lies in their guiding principles. ETH operates under a philosophy of adaptability and user protection, willing to make changes to rectify significant issues. ETC, however, stands firm on the belief that the blockchain is immutable and should not be altered under any circumstances.

Technical Differences and Key Features

Post-fork, Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC) have diverged technically. Ethereum has continued to innovate, moving towards Ethereum 2.0, which introduces proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus to improve scalability and reduce energy consumption. In contrast, Ethereum Classic has retained the proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism and supports cryptocurrency mining, emphasizing stability and adherence to the original protocol.

Community and Developer Support

Ethereum (ETH) has garnered significant community and developer support, becoming the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Its extensive ecosystem of dApps, developer tools, and institutional backing has propelled its growth. Ethereum Classic (ETC), while supported by a loyal community, has struggled to attract the same level of developer engagement and adoption.

Market Performance and Adoption

In terms of market performance, Ethereum (ETH) has consistently outperformed Ethereum Classic (ETC). ETH’s broader adoption, continuous upgrades, and robust ecosystem have contributed to its dominance. ETC, while maintaining a presence in the market, has faced challenges in achieving similar levels of adoption and value growth.

Current State and Future Prospects

Now, let's look at both recent developments and potential future developments for both blockchain networks and their respective cryptocurrencies.

Recent Developments in ETH and ETC

Ethereum (ETH) has recently made significant strides with the rollout of Ethereum 2.0, aiming to address scalability issues and transition to a more sustainable PoS consensus mechanism. These developments are expected to enhance the platform’s performance and attract more users and developers.

Ethereum Classic (ETC) has also made progress, focusing on improving security and resilience. The network has implemented several upgrades to mitigate the risk of 51% attacks, which have been a significant concern for ETC.

Potential Future Directions

For Ethereum (ETH), the future looks promising with ongoing advancements in Ethereum 2.0 and increasing institutional interest. The platform’s ability to support a wide range of applications, from DeFi to NFTs, positions it well for continued growth.

Ethereum Classic (ETC) is expected to maintain its niche by adhering to its principles of immutability and decentralization. Future developments will likely focus on enhancing security and stability, ensuring that ETC remains a viable option for users who prioritize these values.


Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC) offer distinct approaches to blockchain technology, shaped by their response to The DAO incident. ETH’s focus on adaptability and user protection has driven its development and widespread adoption, while ETC’s commitment to immutability and stability appeals to a dedicated subset of the crypto community.

Understanding these differences is essential for anyone navigating the cryptocurrency landscape, as it highlights the diverse philosophies and technical paths that shape the blockchain ecosystem.


Is Ethereum Classic as secure as Ethereum?

Ethereum Classic has faced several security challenges, including multiple 51% attacks, which have raised concerns about its security compared to Ethereum. Ethereum (ETH) has a larger and more active developer community, which contributes to regular updates and security improvements, making it generally considered more secure than Ethereum Classic (ETC).

However, Ethereum Classic continues to work on enhancing its security measures to protect the network and its users.

Which is a better investment: Ethereum or Ethereum Classic?

The choice between investing in Ethereum (ETH) or Ethereum Classic (ETC) depends on individual investment goals and risk tolerance. Ethereum (ETH) is widely regarded as a more stable and secure investment due to its larger community, continuous development, and broader adoption.

On the other hand, Ethereum Classic (ETC) may appeal to investors who value its adherence to the original blockchain principles and potential for growth. As with any investment, it is crucial to conduct thorough research and consider market trends before making a decision.

What are the future plans for Ethereum and Ethereum Classic?

Ethereum (ETH) is focused on transitioning to Ethereum 2.0, which includes shifting to a Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, improving scalability, and reducing energy consumption. These upgrades aim to enhance the overall performance and security of the network.

Ethereum Classic (ETC) continues to prioritize maintaining the original blockchain principles, with efforts to improve network security and stability. Both cryptocurrencies have active communities and development teams working on various initiatives to ensure their continued growth and relevance in the blockchain ecosystem.

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Komodo Wallet is a non-custodial wallet, decentralized exchange, and crypto bridge that supports both Ethereum and Ethereum Classic, plus cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin, and much more.

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