Ethereum vs. Ethereum Classic

Curious about the difference between Ethereum and Ethereum Classic? You’re not alone. These two crypto assets share many similarities apart from just their names.


In fact, Ethereum Classic was created because a group of users chose not to upgrade to new code recommended by Ethereum developers in light of the DAO hack, and chose to run the Ethereum blockchain unaltered.  


Let’s dive deeper into the differences between Ethereum and Ethereum Classic. 

Ethereum vs Ethereum Classic


Ethereum was built to be a kind of operating system for any number of custom assets and programs.  A majority of its users upgraded its software to restore funds to those who lost them during the DAO hack.

Ethereum Classic


Ethereum Classic is a continuation of the older Ethereum software with the record of the theft. By continuing to run this code, the users effectively created a new cryptocurrency.

To further understand how these two complex networks work, read below for a side-by-side comparison of Ethereum vs Ethereum Classic so you can start to better understand and appreciate the differences yourself.

The difference between Ethereum and Ethereum Classic



Ethereum was created with the intention of becoming a global, open-source platform for custom assets and new kinds of economic applications. 


Considered to be one of the most ambitious blockchain projects to date, Ethereum seeks to leverage blockchain technology to decentralize products and services in a wide range of use cases beyond money. 


To date, Ethereum has seen a few distinct phases that have emphasized different aspects of its capabilities.


First, entrepreneurs flocked to Ethereum in 2017 during its famous “ICO boom”, where creators would try to raise money for new projects using new assets on the Ethereum blockchain.During this time, Ethereum was seen as something of a global capital allocator and funding mechanism.


A new phase of Ethereum, called decentralized finance (DeFi), has started garnering attention in 2020. This movement saw the creation of decentralized applications (dapps) intended to automate financial services like lending or borrowing without the need for a traditional bank or intermediary.


Ethereum Classic

When Ethereum Classic (ETC) emerged, it challenged the idea about how blockchains could be launched, altered and upgraded.


Rather than copying and modifying an existing cryptocurrency software, or writing a new software from scratch, a minority of users continued to maintain the older Ethereum software with the record of the DAO hack after the software, now known as Ethereum, was upgraded. 


Thus, the Ethereum Classic fork occurred over an ideological dispute among Ethereum users over the “immutability” of the software, or the inability of any user to alter transactions that have been added to the blockchain’s history.


Ethereum Classic users saw the code proposed by Ethereum’s developers in the wake of The DAO as violating an essential guarantee of the software. Project developers tended to view the code as a one-time fix for a beta software.

Useful resources

If you are interested in learning more about Ethereum and Ethereum Classic, please visit Kraken’s “What is Ethereum?” and “What is Ethereum Classic?” pages.


If you want to learn more about the consensus mechanisms that power each blockchain, then the “Proof of Work vs. Proof of Stake” page is where you want to go!


Want more in depth information on specific cryptocurrencies and blockchain projects? If so, visit our Learn Center to further your education on this ever-growing space.