This summer, Ethereum (ETH 1.32%) is arguably the most exciting cryptocurrency in the world. And for good reason -- its upcoming Merge has enormous implications, not just for the future price of Ethereum but also for the future direction of the broader crypto market. The only problem is that, unless you already have an Ethereum position in your portfolio, you've missed out on this crypto's stratospheric price appreciation. Over its lifetime, Ethereum is up an astounding 155,584.06%.

The good news is that there is another crypto -- Solana (SOL 0.98%) -- that could be just as attractive, if not more so, than Ethereum. And much of the easy money in Solana has not yet been made, with this crypto still trading around $40 right now. While Ethereum has a total market capitalization of almost $200 billion, Solana has a market capitalization of just $14 billion.

The battle for blockchain supremacy

Just like Ethereum, Solana is a Layer 1 blockchain, meaning it is a cornerstone of everything being created in the blockchain world right now. In nontechnical terms, it means you can build on top of Solana, just like you can with Ethereum. Ethereum has NFTs (nonfungible tokens) and NFT marketplaces, and so does Solana. Ethereum has smart contracts, and so does Solana. Ethereum has decentralized finance (DeFi) apps and exchanges, and so does Solana. You get the idea: Anything that Ethereum can do, Solana can do also.

Person doing financial planning on laptop at home.

Image source: Getty Images.

The only difference, of course, is that Solana is faster, cheaper, and more efficient than Ethereum. You see, while Ethereum is converting from a proof-of-work blockchain into a proof-of-stake blockchain, Solana already has a proof-of-stake blockchain. 

The difference between "proof-of-work" and "proof-of-stake" might sound like a minor technical distinction, but it has very important consequences for transaction speeds and transaction fees. It's the reason why Ethereum has gone "all-in" on the Merge. Proof-of-work requires mining, is very energy-intensive, and simply is not scalable for the future. On the other hand, proof-of-stake uses a consensus mechanism for verifying transactions called "staking" and is not energy-intensive at all. There is no need for mining. For now, Solana is superior to Ethereum in just about every regard. For that reason, mainstream media publications routinely refer to Solana as an "Ethereum-killer." 

Rooting for the blockchain upstart

Quite simply, developers and users would rather use a cheaper, faster, and more efficient blockchain. If you've ever used Ethereum, for example, you've probably heard about the onerous "gas fees" associated with just about any transaction. If you're buying an NFT you might pay more in gas fees than for the digital asset. Solana doesn't have those same high crypto gas fees, and that is why Solana is gaining so many new adherents in the world of NFTs.

However, since Ethereum is so entrenched as a dominant market player, many people may not have heard of Solana. That's the perfect situation to be in if you've missed out on Ethereum and are now considering Solana. It means you can gain access to a blockchain upstart with arguably the same prospects as the market leader, all at a discounted price. The time to get in is now, before everyone else figures out why Solana is superior to Ethereum in many ways.

The best blockchain for Web3

Right now, the Internet is still in its Web 2.0 phase. You can think of this as the era of the big Silicon Valley social media giants. But we are about to enter into a brave new phase of development known as Web3. This is the era of completely decentralized apps running on top of the blockchain. It will likely lead to new social experiences, new gaming and entertainment experiences, and new ways of transferring value across the world. 

Obviously, the blockchain that becomes the go-to platform for Web3 is going to get a tremendous boost in the crypto market. Right now, Solana is showing that it can lead and spearhead this new buildout of Web3. Most notably, Solana is going to deliver the first-ever crypto phone soon. This is going to be a mobile device that is completely optimized for the world of crypto and blockchain.  And Solana has completely revolutionized the world of blockchain gaming with the move-to-earn game STEPN, which rewards users in crypto for physical exercise.

A bright, sunny future for Solana

If you missed out on Ethereum, no worries. Solana could eventually provide the same kind of upside when it comes to price appreciation. If Solana ever becomes the Ethereum-killer that everyone thinks it will be, then you'll be glad you waited for this opportunity to get in.