What is The Flippening

Even if Bitcoin has always been the first crypto by market cap, this condition may change in the future. 

But how could this happen? In this article, we will analyze some possible scenarios that would result in the success of Ether as the first crypto – that’s basically what’s defined as the flippening. 

What is the flippening?

As mentioned, the flippening consists of Ether turning into the first crypto available in the market. 

This possible outcome takes into account the market capitalization of both cryptocurrencies.

Market cap is calculated by multiplying the number of coins by their price. 

This is a fundamental element when analyzing the strength of a crypto project, but it can depend on many things, not only the price of a cryptocurrency. 

Bitcoin price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap.

The flippening explained

The flippening could happen, even if it looks something very far from our actual consideration of the crypto market. 

But consider that the success of Ethereum is not something very common. 

Ether price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

The Ethereum project was born around six years after Bitcoin in 2015. 

If you look at the price chart above, you might find it not as impressive as the chart of Bitcoin, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that what is currently the second crypto by market cap could become the first in the future. 

Actually, if we compare Ether and Bitcoin, it’s easy to notice that the two projects have different goals: while Bitcoin is mainly designed as a digital coin that allows transactions, Ethereum has a broader scope – you can make transactions, build smart contracts, and decentralized applications and exchanges, you can create NFTs (just to mention some of the main use cases of Ether). 

Ethereum is an ever-evolving project – just think about the metaverse and the fact that now exists a new Ethereum-based protocol that allows to even rent NFTs. 

Ethereum has flexibility that Bitcoin doesn’t have, but we need to take into account the perception of traders and investors: in fact, Bitcoin is perceived as a store of value

How the flippening works

As mentioned, it’s not just a matter of price. 

If you consider how market capitalization is calculated, you know that price is not the only element. 

There is also the circulating supply. 

Now, one of the main advantages of Bitcoin – and the principal reason why Bitcoin is considered digital gold – is its scarce supply: only 21 million BTC can be created. On the other hand, Ether doesn’t have a maximum supply. So, reaching a price as high as the price of Bitcoin is extremely hard for Ether. 

As we said, price is not the only factor to consider, so let’s see what the possible scenarios that can lead to the flippening are:

  • Of course, price: if the price of Ether exceeds the price of Bitcoin, the flippening can occur. But also a decreasing price of Bitcoin should be considered: actually, a considerable decrease of Bitcoin price could lead to the flippening, it would have the same result as the increased price of Ether. 
  • Since circulating supply is the other component of market capitalization, let’s consider the other possible scenarios, directly related to this aspect. 

As we said, while Bitcoin has a definite maximum supply, Ether doesn’t. So, an increasing supply can lead to the flippening even if the price of Ether doesn’t exceed the price of Bitcoin, or if the price of Bitcoin doesn’t tragically decrease. 

It looks like a more probable scenario for a possible flippening, since the scenarios related to price seem really too unrealistic – of course, as long as we analyze the market with the knowledge we’ve acquired so far. Still, since the crypto market moves very fast and every day there is an innovative project, everything can happen. 

Blockchain Center realized a tool – the Flippening Index – that allows you to easily visualize constantly updated information regarding the flippening. The main part of this tool analyzes the market caps of Bitcoin and Ethereum as a percentage of the total market, then links them to get another percentage – 100% means that the first two cryptos have the same market capitalization. 

Will the flippening happen?

The flippening is not impossible, but there are a lot of things to consider – and many of them should occur simultaneously for the flippening to occur. 

Bitcoin and Ether market caps charts. 

The image above compares the market caps of Bitcoin and Ether. If you look at the peaks of their market caps, there is a difference of around 500 billion US dollars between the two.

So, the market capitalization of Ether has been quite far from the one of Bitcoin so far.

Despite this, the flippening is still possible. Let’s analyze some developments and considerations related to the two cryptocurrencies. 

There are many reasons why Bitcoin is worth so much, and all of them are related to how a cryptocurrency can gain value – to mention the main of them, its scarcity. But of course, scarcity works as long as the demand is high, or at least stable. In the case of Bitcoin, it is highly probable that the demand remains high: in a sort of virtuous circle, this is mainly due to its scarcity, but also to some of its intrinsic features. 

First off, it’s the first cryptocurrency created. In 2009, it represented a revolution, an innovative system that was valuing privacy and autonomy more than any other financial system known that far, a trustless system that was contrasting a type of economy that resulted in a colossal failure after the crisis. So, timing is very important in the perception that investors have towards Bitcoin. 

But when we compare it to Ether, we realize that the second crypto by market cap is far more flexible. This kind of flexibility makes Ether more suitable for an evolving economy. 

Ether has many more use cases than Bitcoin: with Ether, you can create basically anything. 

A disadvantage of Ether, when compared to Bitcoin, is that Ether doesn’t have a maximum supply. It is a disadvantage in terms of value since it’s harder for Ether to reach the price of Bitcoin. But maybe this wouldn’t be very useful for this cryptocurrency: Ether is aimed at being used worldwide by developers and people who want to access decentralized finance and Web 3.0. So, what could this mean when observed from the perspective of market capitalization?

Consider that the Merge will reduce the supply of Ether, and, at the same time, its demand shouldn’t decrease because of its many use cases. So, in the case of Ether, there are many things that could happen simultaneously: 

  • A reduced supply over time;
  • A constant or increased demand for Ether;
  • The issuing of new coins and broader adoption. 

So, in terms of market capitalization, even if the price of Ether won’t reach or exceed the price of Bitcoin, the mixed intervention of price behavior, massive adoption, and a higher supply if compared to Bitcoin, could still lead to the flippening. 


As mentioned, in the crypto space, everything is possible: every day is a discovery, a new project is born, and an innovative system is created. The crypto space is still in its infancy since this is the condition of its underlying technology – blockchain.

People – especially business people and investors – are discovering more use cases. This brings the crypto market closer to more traditional markets, in the sense that it’s becoming harder to object that cryptocurrencies have no real value. And this is possible mainly because of Ethereum. That’s why the flippening – that is, the rise of Ether as the first crypto by market cap instead of Bitcoin – can occur in the future. On the other hand, Bitcoin is perceived as digital gold, so the flippening is still hard to imagine. If it occurs, it will be an absolute milestone in crypto history!



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