I’ll be the first to admit that I was initially skeptical about cryptocurrencies. Some of legendary investor Warren Buffett’s criticisms of crypto seemed to make sense. For example, the legendary investor has stated that “cryptocurrencies basically have no value and they don’t produce anything.”
Now, my view is that Buffett is missing the mark — at least with some cryptocurrencies. However, I’m still somewhat reluctant to dive in with some digital coins that I think have real growth potential because of my earlier reservations. But that’s not the case across the board. Here’s the one cryptocurrency I’d buy right now without any hesitation.
A cryptocurrency that produces
I suspect that Buffett wasn’t all that familiar with Ethereum (CRYPTO:ETH) when he has made negative comments about cryptocurrencies in the past. The Ethereum blockchain is used to produce things. Plenty of them.
So far, the Ethereum ecosystem includes thousands of decentralized applications. Over 4,000 developers actively work on the Ethereum platform — way more than any other blockchain. In fact, more than 40 of the top 100 cryptocurrencies based on market cap are built on top of Ethereum.
The key to Ethereum’s success is its support of smart contracts that automatically execute when specified events meeting contractual agreements are completed. Smart contracts make a wide array of applications possible, including non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and decentralized finance (DeFi) apps.
It’s not surprising at all that Ethereum ranks as the second-largest cryptocurrency on the market based on market cap, trailing behind only Bitcoin. Ethereum seems destined to gain ground on Bitcoin and could eventually even claim the top spot.
Bigger and better things on the way
Nothing is perfect, though. Ethereum has its drawbacks. In particular, the blockchain isn’t nearly as fast as it could be. Its network can become congested. Ethereum’s transaction fees are also high.
These flaws have attracted competition. Several newer blockchains are gaining adoption even faster than Ethereum is by addressing some of these limitations. This would give me pause about buying Ethereum if I didn’t know that bigger and better things are on the way.
I like that the developers of Ethereum haven’t stuck their heads in the sand and ignored the problems. Instead, they’ve laid out a clear path to fix the issues with the Ethereum 2.0 upgrade.
The first phase of the major upgrade has already been completed. The Beacon Chain, which supports staking on Ethereum and paves the way for future improvements, is live. Next on the plan is to merge this Beacon Chain with the Ethereum mainnet later this year. The final phase, which should be completed in 2023, will introduce shard chains that expand Ethereum’s scalability.
When these upgrades are finalized, Ethereum will be much faster, cheaper, and more scalable. And it should be even more attractive to developers.
Are there any reasons to be hesitant about buying Ethereum? Over the short term, the answer is clearly “yes.” I think the single biggest risk for Ethereum (and other cryptocurrencies) is a prolonged environment where investors shift to less risky assets.
If I focused only on the short term, this would definitely make me hem and haw. However, my view is that a long-term perspective is needed when investing in anything. For long-term investors, a “risk-off” period where Ethereum’s price is lower presents a great buying opportunity.
There are some cryptocurrencies that I’d be worried about lasting for the long term. I think, though, that Ethereum has staying power. With the Ethereum 2.0 upgrade in progress, this cryptocurrency should be a winner over the next decade and beyond.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.