Decentralization is important
Back in 2016, the Ethereum blockchain ending up forking due to a massive DAO hack, resulting in stolen funds. Two factions formed, and Vitalik Buterin took the side of returning the funds and Ethereum subsequently forked, with the group who opposed Vitalik keeping the legacy chain. The old chain is now Ethereum Classic, while the forked chain is now known as Ethereum.
Ethereum Classic is centered around the pillars of immutability, decentralization, and security. ETC is hard money like Bitcoin but with the smart contract capabilities of Ethereum, allowing for secure, trust minimized DeFi.
Unfortunately, there have been some 51% attacks on Ethereum Classic in the past. However, the ETC core developers have since patched the various vulnerabilities and the network hash rate has increased enough to the point where there's been no other attacks since.
These days, many people talk about metrics like TPS over things like number of validators. The thing is, when a chain advertises a high TPS number, the network is typically centralized. Solana is a perfect example of this; there are only 19 validators on the mainnet and unsurprisingly, they have supposed 60,000+ TPS. Ethereum Classic is decentralized enough to the point where you can mine in a pool with mid-tier laptops.
An old laptop of mine began having some issues, but the graphics card, an Nvidia 1660 TI Max Q, has held up perfectly. After doing research on various coins to mine, I decided on dual mining ETC and ZIL.
ETC has a similar efficient mining algorithm to Ethereum's ETHash called ETChash, which is ASIC resistant. Zilliqa is another trust minimized L1 smart contract blockchain, which utilizes Proof of Work to prevent DOS attacks and establish sharding on its network. I mine using ezil.me, and it works by mining ETC for the first 55-58 minutes every hour and mining ZIL for the last ~5 minutes. I prop the laptop up so that the air vents cool well. It's better than letting it go to waste!
The best ways to get into ETC 🍀
Before I got interested in Ethereum Classic, I knew a fair amount about Bitcoin. I enjoy Nick Szabo's stuff and noticed he worked with a man named Donald McIntyre in the past on some crypto business. Mr. McIntyre has a past in business development and finance on Wall Street. After checking out his blog, Etherplan, that Szabo recommended, I learned a great deal about Ethereum Classic that caused me to research further.
Articles like this one provided all the knowledge I needed to know about ETC and its future. McIntyre does a lot of business work to help Ethereum Classic thrive. He's active on the ETC Discord and his Twitter is always a good read as well. McIntyre frequently goes on the informative Patient Money YouTube channel, which focuses mostly on ETC content.
The Ethereum Classic subreddit is another helpful resource to navigate the ecosystem and participate in the community.
Ethereum Classic, like any other chain, is not without its flaws. Even though ETC arguably ranks high in the decentralization and security department, performance is mediocre, like Bitcoin. This will likely be solved through layer 2 scaling in the future also like Bitcoin.
However, performance is the least important factor when you consider that a centralized blockchain can be regulated out of existence by the SEC, and a single exploit can grind a blockchain to a halt.
Another valid criticism is that there aren't many Dapps. The only popular Dapp appears to be a DEX called HebeSwap, which is excellent. This will change over time as more developers come over from other chains.
A bright future
The Ethereum Classic team recently announced compatibility with the Ethereum Virtual machine (EVM), allowing thousands of Ethereum dapps to port over to ETC. They also revamped their website with an emphasis on DeFi. This is all huge news.
Despite some performance issues, ETC has a strong community of HODLers that will attract a new wave of investors who dislike Ethereum's proof-of-stake approach with ETH 2.0.