Why Ethereum, when we already have Bitcoin?

Part 2 of The Product Manager’s Guide to the Blockchain series as I continue to explore blockchains, Ethereum and the possibilities these technologies offer.

Abhishek Chakravarty
11 min readJul 7, 2017


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When evaluating or learning about a new shiny technology, one of the first things one should seek to understand are the problems that necessitated it’s development. So when I first learnt about a new blockchain called Ethereum, my immediate question was

Why do we even need Ethereum — another blockchain — when we already have a blockchain that powers Bitcoin?

Looking for answers, the thing I quickly realized was that this was not a very accurate question.

Ethereum wasn’t just another blockchain, its in fact much much more than that.

Ethereum is a Platform

Ethereum is a Platform. Underneath the platform is a custom-built blockchain that enables new applications to be built on top of it. Ethereum’s blockchain promises that these applications will run securely forever without any censorship or downtime.


My favorite analogy to thinking about platforms is the American Interstate Highway system (or the highway system of any country, really).

These highways are governed by a set of defined rules that everyone has to follow when using them. For example, getting in and out only through exits, no stopping anywhere, lane discipline and speed limits, no drunk driving etc. As long as you are following these rules, you can use the highway network to go wherever you…