Bitcoin (BTC) vs Ethereum (ETH) vs Solana (SOL): Which Is Best?

Bitcoin and Ethereum are the two largest cryptocurrencies by market cap, while Solana has been the fastest-growing chain since 2023. Let’s compare these three chains to determine which one is best.

Written by: Anatol Antonovici   |  Updated March 11, 2024

Reviewed by: Mike Martin

Fact checked by: Ryan Grace

1-Year Performance; TradingView

Bitcoin rules in security, Ethereum leads in DeFi and NFTs, and Solana wins on speed and low costs. So which is best for you? Let’s find out! 🏃

Table of Contents

🍒 tasty takeaways

  • Bitcoin is the largest cryptocurrency by market cap, accounting for about half of the crypto market cap. It relies on a proof of work algorithm to validate transactions.

  • Ethereum and Solana both offer the smart contract feature, enabling developers to build decentralized applications and other tokens on top of them.

  • Ethereum accounts for almost 60% of the decentralized finance market, while Solana and Bitcoin have a 3% share.

Summary

Feature Bitcoin (BTC) Ethereum (ETH) Solana (SOL)
1-Year Performance +250% +172% +733%
Consensus Algorithm Proof of Work (PoW) Proof of Stake (PoS) PoS + Proof of History (PoH)
Best For Store of value DeFi apps, NFTs Enterprise use cases, gaming
Energy Consumption High Moderate Low
Staking No Yes Yes
Transaction Speed ~7 tps Up to 25 tps ~65,000 tps
Transaction Cost ~$7.6 ~$23 Up to $0.005
Scalability Layer 2 solutions Layer 2 chains Native scalability
Ecosystem Limited Large Growing

What Is Bitcoin (BTC)?

  • Name: Bitcoin
  • Ticker: BTC
  • Consensus Algorithm: Proof of Work
  • Best for: Store of value

Bitcoin is the oldest and most widely held cryptocurrency. Launched in 2009 after the publication of the now famous Bitcoin whitepaper, it represents the first use case of blockchain technology. Bitcoin triggered the emergence of a new industry and asset class: digital currencies.

Since its launch, Bitcoin has always been the largest cryptocurrency by market cap, accounting for over 50% of the crypto market as of this writing.

Bitcoin as Digital Gold

While Bitcoin was intended as a decentralized peer-to-peer money system, it became a store of value (SOV) asset, helping investors preserve wealth and hedge against inflation.

🍒 Bitcoin vs Gold: Which is Best?

However, Bitcoin has some downsides: the network is rigid and slow, not open to major upgrades, and doesn’t support applications. Think of it as digital gold.

Bitcoin Pros

  • Thanks to an energy-intensive proof of work (PoW) algorithm and a large network of nodes dispersed worldwide, it is the most secure crypto infrastructure.

  • High liquidity.

  • Offers many related derivatives and investment vehicles, including futures, options, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Bitcoin Cons

  • Slow speed – about 7 transactions per second (tps).

     

  • Doesn’t support applications on its mainnet.

     

  • Coin production requires huge amounts of energy.

What Is Ethereum (ETH)?

  • Name: Ethereum
  • Ticker: ETH
  • Consensus algorithm: proof of stake
  • Best For: Web3

Ethereum has traditionally been the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap and the largest one that offers the smart contract feature. Thanks to smart contracts, developers can create decentralized applications (dapps) and other tokens on top of its mainnet.

Over the last few years, the Ethereum network has gradually upgraded to switch from PoW to a proof of stake (PoS) algorithm (Ethereum 2.0). The new version, adopted in 2022, offers greater scalability and lower costs.

🍒 Ethereum In-Depth

Ethereum’s Ecosystem

Ethereum has many token standards that support various types of assets, including utility tokens, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), stablecoins, and security tokens, among others.

The network dominates the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector, accounting for about 60% of total value locked (TVL) across DeFi Web3 apps.

Ethereum Pros

  • Thanks to the smart contract feature, Ethereum supports the creation of dapps and tokens on top of it.

  • Large ecosystem: Ethereum dominates the DeFi and Web3 space and has a large NFT presence.

  • All dapps and erc20 tokens on Ethereum are interoperable

Ethereum Cons

  • High gas fees.

  • Scalability is lacking, especially given the high demand.

  • Developers have to learn Solidity, a programming language created specifically for Ethereum.

What Is Solana (SOL)?

  • Name: Solana
  • Ticker: SOL
  • Consensus algorithm: Delegated proof of stake
  • Best for: Enterprise use cases, gaming apps, dapps

Solana is a fast-growing blockchain supporting the smart contract feature, which allows it to compete with Ethereum on the DeFi, NFT, and Web3 fronts. It’s widely regarded as the best ‘Ethereum killer’ candidate.

The network relies on a PoS version called Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS), which enables it to achieve greater scalability than Ethereum.

Solana is regarded as the fastest blockchain, with a transaction speed capacity of 65,000 tps. Solana transactions achieve instant finality thanks to its proof of history (PoH) feature integrated into its consensus mechanism.

SOL is the fifth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap.

Solana Pros

  • High speed: about 65,000 tps capacity.

  • Very low transaction fees.

  • Supports multiple programming languages

Solana Cons

  • Less decentralized and secure than Ethereum.

  • Smaller ecosystem and limited adoption across developers.

  • No compatibility with EVM chains.

Secure Your Crypto With Self-Custody

When you store your crypto in a self-custody wallet, you don’t have to trust that an exchange is acting in your best interest. This is because you are the only party privy to your private key, or seed phrase.

Here are some additional benefits you get when you choose to self-custody your digital assets with tastycrypto:

  • In-App Swap: Trade BTC, ETH, wSOL and 1,000+ tokens
  • Generate Yield in DeFi: Stake, lend, and become your own market maker
  • NFTs: Buy, sell, and view NFTs in-app

tastycrypto offers both iOS and Android self-custody wallets – download yours today! 👇

Bitcoin vs Ethereum vs Solana: Comparison

Let’s explore how these three blockchains compare based on several factors:

Consensus Algorithm

  • Bitcoin: PoW
  • Ethereum: PoS
  • Solana: PoS+ PoH


Bitcoin
uses a PoW algorithm that encourages competition among so-called miners, who use advanced computing devices to become the next block validator and get rewarded.

Ethereum and Solana use different PoS versions, with the latter also leveraging the PoH