A Case Study in Rebranding of ETC

I’ve decided that the best way to deal with this bear market was to revisit old debates and questions that have always been asked by the community about the fate of ETC’s brand.

I know those questions make many in the community uncomfortable and I’m sure I’ll be upsetting some people reading this right away, but I ask you to hear out my case here.

The TLDR is: “Should Ethereum Classic Be Rebranded?”
Yes and No.

Why Not?

Let’s start with the No.

I think we should NOT rename or rebrand the Ethereum Classic network. We are, after all, the original chain, the Ethereum Classic network, and it’s always going to be a part of our identity. We refused the hardfork after the DAO hack, instead believing in fundamentals of noninterventionism and immutability.

In that sense, we should absolutely stick to the name Ethereum Classic for our network and ETC for the ticker.

Why Yes?

I strongly believe that the name of the currency, ether needs to be changed, while maintaining Ethereum Classic and the ETC brand.

Currently, think about how users would reference Ethereum Classic among themselves in terms of payments. John tells Alice, “Hey, I’m going to send you 10 ethers.” Ether confuses people because it’s also the word for the currency used on the Ethereum network, ETH.

I’ve even seen stakeholders in the Ethereum Classic space repeatedly refer to ETC as ether, even though they want to differentiate ETC from ETH. It’s not only very confusing for those not in the space, but also for those who are knowledgeable about ETH and ETC.

So, what would be the solution? I tried to go for saying “Let me send you 10 classical ethers.” The issue is classical ether is too long of a word.

You can argue against me and say that many other countries outside the U.S. use the term “dollar” for the name of their country’s currency, even if their names on the Forex markets are known as “Canadian Dollar (CAD)” and “Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)”.

But the issue with making a use case for maintaining the currency name as ether by comparing it to the dollar example is that, in the dollar example I just presented, it’s correlated with location. People in Canada don’t say “Canadian Dollars”. They just say dollars.

In the cryptocurrency example here, Ethereum Classic and the other coins aren’t restricted in their fungibility by location. They can be used worldwide and have their use cases. So, continuing to say “I will send you 10 ethers” when you just meant ETC and the recipient thought it was ETH does become problematic and confuse new users.

Alternatives

So, what’s the good alternative name for ether?

My proposal isn’t spectacular or major, but it tries to differentiate from ether on a chemical level.

I think the currency itself should be called ester.

The simplest way to differentiate the two chemical compounds: “Ether has two Carbons (single) bonded to an Oxygen atom. An Ester has a double Oxygen bond with a Carbon atom.”

I won’t bore you more with the chemical properties of both, only that the basic bottom line is that they’re both similar in the atom types they share yet essentially different in their chemical bond, much like ETC and ETH.

Having a rename from ether helps differentiate ETC more to people in the space as they can be able to use it in their daily speech: “I’m sending you 10 esters” vs. “I’m sending you 10 ethers”.

Now, it’s very important to note here, the change to name ester is only a suggestion. There’s likely many other alternatives to renaming ether, as the whole point of this post is just to get us as a community to really think about it. Using the term ether for the currency causes confusion. This needs to be addressed while we still keep Ethereum Classic as our network name and ETC as our ticker. Those are, after all, our legacy.