Toward the end of 2017, the competition is on between cryptocurrencies to provide a number of transactions that could indeed install them as "the internet of tomorrow". For now, most transactions in Bitcoin and some altcoins are related to payment systems.
But Ethereum goes a step further and handles more connections and transactions than all other major cryptocurrencies, recent research shows.
At the moment, just a few test decentralized products offer an extremely high number of transactions per second- IOTA, and possibly EOS, though still only in theory. Older coins, such as Litecoin, Decred and Vertcoin seek an additional layer for handling a larger influx of transactions. The standard for cryptocurrency networks is to achieve results comparable to the VISA system, which works through 2000 and up to 24,000 transactions per second.
At themoment, Bitcoin can in theory handle up to 7 transactions per second, but in reality the rate is between 2 and 4 transactions per second.
Ethereum works through between 10-30 transactions per second in its current proof-of-work stage, but expects to increase capability by adopting proof-of-stake and an approach called sharding, where validation happens in clusters, without clogging the whole network.
The number of transactions reflects the different nature of Ethereum's network. The coin is made to move actively, while other digital assets have lower activity or are rarely moved.
Ethereum has indeed shown it can attract massive interest, as developers still flock mostly to the Ethereum blockchain to develop decentralized projects. As the network load grows, the importance of Ethereum as an asset to pay for transactions may increase.
And after a few months hovering around $300, Ethereum is on the move again, eyeing $400 levels for the first time since the summer months. ETH trades around $381.69, up 16% in the past days as it moved from the recent lows.
The Ethereum hash rate has grown in one great leap, increasing four times between July and October. But since then, the hash rate has stalled as the Byzantium hard fork decreased the block reward to 3 ETH and another mining ice age is coming, planned in the next 18 months. If the mining freeze is not delayed again artificially, miners may move to other coins as Ethereum is calculated by GPUs and those can be used on other digital assets.