Ether Maximalists: Everything to Know

By  Beluga Research August 6, 2023

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  • Cryptocurrency ether maximalists are advocates who believe that ether (ETH) is the superior and dominant digital asset in the crypto market
  • They argue that Ethereum's robust infrastructure, scalability, network effects and upgrades make it the leading blockchain platform with unique qualities and capabilities
  • Ether maximalists highlight Ethereum's diverse use cases, decentralization and active developer community as advantages that set it apart from other cryptocurrencies and platforms.
  • However, they also acknowledge challenges such as scalability concerns, gas fees, environmental impact, and competition from other blockchain platforms


Cryptocurrency ether maximalists are advocates who believe that ether (ETH) is the superior and dominant digital asset in the crypto market. They argue that ether, which serves as the native currency of the Ethereum blockchain, possesses unique qualities and capabilities that set it apart from other digital currencies. While they acknowledge the existence of various cryptocurrencies, Ether maximalists contend that Ether is the only cryptocurrency worth investing in and building upon.

A Brief History

To understand the rise of ether maximalism, it is crucial to examine the history of Ethereum and its native cryptocurrency, ether. Ethereum was conceptualized by Vitalik Buterin in late 2013, with the network going live in July 2015. Unlike Bitcoin, which aimed to revolutionize the financial system, Ethereum was designed as a decentralized platform for building decentralized applications (Dapps) and smart contracts.

Ether, initially released as part of Ethereum's initial coin offering (ICO) in 2014, quickly gained traction within the crypto community. Its primary purpose was to fuel transactions and computations on the Ethereum network. Over time, ether evolved to become the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, second only to bitcoin. This growth, coupled with the increasing popularity of decentralized finance (DeFi) applications built on Ethereum, contributed to the emergence of ether maximalists.

Ether Maximalists: Everything to Know

  • Ethereum's Superiority: Ether maximalists argue that Ethereum's robust infrastructure, flexibility, and scalability make it the superior blockchain platform. They believe that Ethereum's ability to execute complex smart contracts and support a wide range of decentralized applications gives it an edge over other blockchain networks.
  • Network Effects: Ether maximalists recognize the significant network effects that Ethereum has achieved. With a large developer community, extensive ecosystem, and widespread adoption, they contend that Ethereum's network effects create a virtuous cycle that reinforces its dominance in the cryptocurrency space.
  • Ethereum's Upgrades: Ether maximalists closely follow Ethereum's development and eagerly anticipate its upcoming upgrades. The transition from the proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism to a more energy-efficient proof-of-stake (PoS) system is a crucial milestone that excites ether maximalists. They believe that these upgrades will enhance Ethereum's scalability, security, and overall performance, further solidifying ether's position as the leading cryptocurrency.
  • DeFi and Beyond: Ether maximalists recognize the pivotal role that Ethereum plays in the thriving DeFi ecosystem. They argue that Ethereum's smart contract functionality and high transaction throughput make it the ideal platform for decentralized finance applications. Moreover, they believe that Ethereum's potential extends beyond DeFi, envisioning a future where Ethereum powers decentralized governance, social networks, and various other industries.
  • Criticism of Other Cryptocurrencies: Ether maximalists are often critical of other cryptocurrencies, especially those that directly compete with Ethereum. They may argue that Bitcoin's limited scripting capabilities hinder its potential for innovation or that alternative smart contract platforms lack the network effects and developer community that Ethereum enjoys.

Getting Started

To understand the rise of ether maximalism, it is essential to grasp the basics of Ethereum, the blockchain platform that powers ether. Ethereum was conceptualized by Vitalik Buterin and launched in 2015 as a decentralized platform for executing smart contracts. Unlike Bitcoin, which primarily serves as digital money, Ethereum enables developers to build decentralized applications (Dapps) on its blockchain. Ether, the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network, is used to facilitate transactions and incentivize participants.

Ether's journey began with an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in 2014, where participants could purchase ether tokens. Since then, Ethereum has evolved into a robust and influential blockchain ecosystem, hosting a multitude of innovative projects and decentralized finance (DeFi) applications. The growth and success of Ethereum have played a pivotal role in shaping the beliefs of ether maximalists.

Unique Aspects

Ether maximalists highlight several unique aspects of Ethereum and its native cryptocurrency that set it apart from other digital assets. One of the key differentiators is Ethereum's smart contract functionality. Smart contracts are self-executing agreements with predefined rules and conditions encoded within the blockchain. They enable the automation of various processes, eliminating the need for intermediaries and enhancing efficiency.

Additionally, ether maximalists emphasize Ethereum's scalability solutions, such as the transition from a proof-of-work (PoW) to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. PoS allows participants to validate transactions and create new blocks based on the number of coins held as opposed to the computational power they contribute, as in PoW. This shift is expected to significantly improve Ethereum's transaction throughput and reduce energy consumption, addressing some of the scalability and environmental concerns associated with PoW-based networks.

Another aspect that fuels ether maximalism is Ethereum's thriving ecosystem of decentralized applications. The Ethereum blockchain serves as a launchpad for countless projects, ranging from decentralized exchanges and lending platforms to non-fungible token (NFT) marketplaces and gaming applications. The extensive adoption and utilization of Ethereum's platform by developers and users alike contribute to the network effect, reinforcing the belief in ether's long-term value.

Furthermore, ether maximalists often point to Ethereum's active and vibrant community as a major strength. The Ethereum community consists of developers, entrepreneurs, investors, and enthusiasts who actively contribute to the growth and development of the ecosystem. This collaborative and innovative spirit is seen as a significant advantage for Ethereum, as it fosters continuous improvement, sparks new ideas, and attracts top talent.


  • Diverse Use Cases - Ether is not limited to being a digital currency; it serves as the fuel for the Ethereum blockchain. This allows for the creation of smart contracts, decentralized applications (Dapps), and the execution of complex computational tasks. The versatility of ether and its underlying platform has attracted developers and businesses to build innovative solutions on top of Ethereum.
  • Network Effect - Ethereum has established a significant network effect, with a large and active community of developers, users and stakeholders. The network effect refers to the value a network gains as more participants join and use it. Ether maximalists believe that Ethereum's strong network effect will continue to attract new users and developers, reinforcing its position as a leading blockchain platform.
  • Decentralization - Ether maximalists appreciate Ethereum's commitment to decentralization. Ethereum aims to be a global, permissionless and censorship-resistant platform, allowing anyone to participate without relying on a central authority. This decentralized nature aligns with the ethos of cryptocurrencies and is seen as a fundamental strength by ether maximalists.
  • Scalability Solutions - Ethereum has been actively working on addressing its scalability challenges. These scalability solutions are expected to enhance Ethereum's performance and enable it to handle a higher volume of transactions.
  • Developer-Friendly Environment - Ethereum provides a developer-friendly environment with robust tooling, documentation, and community support. Ether maximalists appreciate the extensive resources available for building and deploying smart contracts and Dapps on Ethereum. This ecosystem attracts developers who can leverage existing infrastructure and contribute to the growth of the platform.


  • Scalability Concerns - Despite ongoing efforts to address scalability, Ethereum still faces challenges in handling a high volume of transactions. As the popularity of Ethereum and the usage of decentralized applications continue to grow, scalability remains a concern for ether maximalists.
  • Gas Fees - Ethereum's current design requires users to pay gas fees for every transaction and computational operation executed on the network. As Ethereum becomes more congested, gas fees can become prohibitively expensive, especially during periods of high network activity. Ether maximalists acknowledge the need for scalable solutions to reduce gas fees and improve the user experience.
  • Competition - While Ether maximalists have confidence in Ethereum's capabilities, they acknowledge the presence of other blockchain platforms and cryptocurrencies that pose competition. Rival platforms like Binance Smart Chain, Solana and Polkadot offer their own unique features and attract developers and users. Ether maximalists must consider the competitive landscape and ensure Ethereum remains at the forefront of innovation and adoption.
  • Regulatory Uncertainty - The regulatory landscape surrounding cryptocurrencies is constantly evolving and can present challenges for ether maximalists. Uncertainty regarding regulations and potential legal restrictions on cryptocurrencies could impact the growth and adoption of Ethereum. Ether maximalists advocate for clear and favorable regulations that foster innovation and enable the continued development of the Ethereum ecosystem.