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Ethereum’s circulating supply – A ‘silly gotcha’ debate?

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Ethereum has been enjoying one of its most active days in the market, with the crypto-asset’s price spiking on the charts after some time. Despite an active spot and derivatives market, however, the crypto-community on social media seemed to be besotted by one question only – Ethereum’s circulating supply.

According to Ethereum’s founder Vitalik Buterin, its circulating supply can only be roughly known, while other members of the community provided custom scripts, chain explorers, and third-party querying tools to highlight the supply. A few others, however, didn’t seem to mind as they were more invested in benefiting from a pumping coin. All said and done, there still remains no definitive answer to the question.

Naturally, the issue was a hunting ground for Bitcoin maximalists. According to Bitcoin proponent Pierre Rochard, the lack of concern from some Ethereum users stemmed from the pumping price of the digital asset. Rochard noted,

“Crypto went from “don’t trust, verify” to “Who cares – it’s pumping. I’m going to continue to focus on fundamentals, even if it’s not popular.”

This is not the first time, however, that Ethereum and Bitcoin communities have been at loggerheads with each other on questions such as this.

Interestingly, according to Andreas Antonopoulos, this was a “silly gotcha” debate, adding that the questions put forth by these Bitcoin proponents were not very useful in Ethereum’s context. Antonopoulos had previously in a Twitter thread explained the technical differences due to which the process of identifying the exact supply of Ethereum was different than that for Bitcoin.

Further, during a podcast with Laura Shin, Antonopoulos had said,

“The difference is that because of a variety of factors that are different in Bitcoin than in Ethereum. In Bitcoin, there is a specific API method you can ask your node to give you the current sum. In Ethereum it is not easy to do that. That doesn’t mean there is no sum. That doesn’t mean that the sum isn’t validated or part of the consensus rules.”

The answers seem to be not easily accessible, and may also differ on how the user writes the script and the methodology used to come up with the answer. Alas, many like Rochard were quick to dismiss this, while underlining the importance of verifying and not simply trusting. In fact, he also shared Lucas Nuzzi’s recent report on Ethereum’s supply that noted that the figures closely matched with Etherscan’s.

Ultimately, this remains an important metric that needs to be understood by any community. Nuzzi highlighted the same, adding that ETH users may want to get in touch with their local Geth maintainer.

“After all, the need for strong supply assurances is why this industry exists!”


Namrata is a full-time journalist at AMBCrypto covering the US and Indian market. A graduate in Mass communication, while majoring in Journalism, she writes mainly about regulations and its impact with a focus on technological advancements in the crypto space.
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