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Why the “Russian Ethereum” Is Trouncing Shiba Inu Right Now

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You know how important Ethereum (CRYPTO:ETH) is when some refer to other cryptocurrencies as the “[fill in the blank] Ethereum.” That’s exactly what is happening with Waves (CRYPTO:WAVES). Some cryptocurrency enthusiasts have dubbed it the “Russian Ethereum.”

Whatever nickname you want to give to Waves, there’s no question that it’s sizzling hot. Last year’s big winner, Shiba Inu (CRYPTO:SHIB), has fallen close to 30% over the past month. But Waves has soared more than 140% during the same period. Why is the so-called “Russian Ethereum” trouncing Shiba Inu right now?

A nickname that stuck

Let’s first address why Waves is referred to as the “Russian Ethereum.” The connection with Russia comes in part from Waves’ founder, Alexander (Sasha) Ivanov. He was born in Ukraine but earned a degree from Russia’s Moscow State University.

The company behind Waves also has ties to Russia. Although it’s registered in Switzerland and operates an office there, the company is headquartered in Moscow. Ivanov stated in a 2019 interview: “We can’t totally separate from our Russian roots, even if they might impede the business a bit. I think we should become the main blockchain tech advocate in Russia.”

What about the linking to Ethereum? Unlike many popular cryptocurrencies, Waves wasn’t originally built on the Ethereum blockchain. However, Waves’ roadmap includes support for the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).

Probably the main reason Waves is compared to Ethereum is the functionality of its underlying blockchain. Like Ethereum, Waves supports smart contracts and decentralized apps. 

A person looking at a chart on a laptop while holding a phone displaying another chart.

Image source: Getty Images.

Behind Waves’ surge

There are at least three key reasons for Waves’ big recent gains. First, the Russian invasion of Ukraine brought Waves into the spotlight for many investors. Ivanov’s ties to both countries partly accounted for the increased interest. Speculation that Russians would turn to cryptocurrencies in the wake of the ruble’s plunge was another factor.

Second, top cryptocurrency exchange Binance announced on March 2 that it added several cryptocurrencies as collateral assets on its Loans platform. Waves was one of the new digital tokens supported.

Third, Waves announced its aforementioned roadmap. Support for the EVM is just one of the capabilities on the way. Waves also plans to launch a new DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) governance model this year. It’s building bridges to all EVM-compatible chains and between digital metaverse worlds.

Another part of this roadmap that probably excited investors was Waves’ establishment of a U.S. company, Waves Labs. This new company is headquartered in Miami. The Waves team stated that the United States “is a key market to drive mass adoption in 2022” and added that a $150 million fund and incubation program for the U.S. market will be announced this spring.

Ebb and flow

While all this activity was going on for Waves, Shiba Inu was weighed down by investors’ concerns about the increased level of risk in the crypto market. There was some good news for Shiba Inu over the past month. For example, a revelation that ShibaSwap 2.0 will support the burning of tokens was seen as a big potential catalyst. However, even this positive development wasn’t enough to completely overcome the overall crypto market headwinds.

Will Waves continue to outperform Shiba Inu this year? Maybe, but there’s certainly no guarantee. In addition to ShibaSwap 2.0, Shiba Inu also has other possible catalysts on the way, notably including the anticipated launch of the Shibarium layer-2 blockchain. 

Shiba Inu could rebound over the next few months while Waves declines. Or not. Every cryptocurrency has periods of ebb and flow.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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