In my opinion, Ethereum has a native coin (crypto-currency) called "Ether". On the other hand, Ethereum allows user to create crypto-token, such as ERC-20, using smart contracts.

From my point of view, the definitions of crypto-currency and crypto-token are as follows:

  1. crypto-currency (coin): It has a price based on fiat/formal currencies such as USD. For example: 1 Ether = x USD or 1 BTC (bitcoin) = y USD, whereas, we do not have an equivalent of USD (or other fiat/formal currencies) for a crypto-token (such as ERC-20)

  2. crypto-token: Some blockchains such as Ethereum allow users to provide functions other than making payments using smart contracts by developing themselves arbitrary crypto-tokens (such as ERC-20 in Ethereum).

While, crypto-currencies are used in financial payment transactions, crypto-tokens can be used in non-financial and can hold a non-financial value (for example, The amount of energy consumed by a user etc ...)

However, I wondered when Sara Tucci-Piergiovanni (as a blockchain specialist) in a Blockchain workshop persisted that:

Ethereum does NOT have a crypto-currency unlike Bitcoin !

Some other people in the workshop confirmed what she said. They weren't agreed with my argument as I explained in this question (that Ether is a crypto-currency and NOT a crypto-token). Because of their persistence on their opinion, I doubted that maybe they are really right.

I'd like to know if they are right and Ethereum blockchain does NOT have any crypto-currency and instead it has a crypto-token?

Important Note: Please note that although maybe we first define a precise definition for currency and then cryp-currency and then answer to this question that if Ether is a crypto-currency or crypto-token. However, if someone believes that Bitcoin is a crypto-currency, they should accept Ether is a crypto-currency as well, unless someone believes that both Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether are not crypto-currency. In that case, the situation is different. If we believe that Ether is not crypto-currency, unlike BTC (Bitcoin), but also Ether is a crypto-token, then we will believe that Ether is not an "altcoin".


The more common definition (Not the only one) is that a crypto-currency is an asset native to a chain, while a token is usually an asset created on top of another blockchain. By that definition, Ether is a crypto-currency.

But the definition you provided is different:

We can summarise your definition as such "a cryptocurrency is used in financial payment transactions" and although Ether is used as a payment mechanism within the Ethereum network, it wasn't designed to act as such. Ether was designed to be the gas which powers the Ethereum network, not to act as currency. Maybe, the speaker was referring to that.

Depending on your definition, the answer can change. I don't think we can give you a definite answer in stackexchange.

NOTE: Your exact definition of "has a price based on fiat/formal currencies" would also involve any ERC20 token which has a fiat pair on any exchange, qualifying any popular token like BAT, as a crypto-currency

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.