As lending startup SoFi expands from student loans to full-service banking, it is also venturing into one of the trendiest areas among big Wall Street banks at the moment: blockchain.
Yet while Bitcoin, the original blockchain, commands the lion’s share of attention—and also the biggest valuation of any cryptocurrency—SoFi sees much greater potential in its younger sister, Ethereum.
That’s because bitcoin, although designed to be used as a currency, is not a very practical one, whereas the Ethereum blockchain can be used to facilitate all sorts of other financial transactions, SoFi CEO Mike Cagney said Wednesday.
“If the dollar didn’t exist, and all we had was Bitcoin, we would be fine. But the fact that it trades [in dollar terms] and its value fluctuates so significantly makes it nearly impossible…to use as currency,” Cagney said at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, CO. “The blockchain on Ethereum, on the other hand, has absolutely fascinating infrastructure applications.”