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One of the biggest bitcoin startups just took 'bitcoin' out of its Twitter bio

Enter Ethereum.

Newest Innovations In Consumer Technology On Display At 2015 International CES Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

For the last four years, a heavily funded startup called Coinbase has been all about the digital currency bitcoin. And its Twitter bio said it all: "The easiest way to buy bitcoin."

But earlier this week, that tagline changed. "Our mission is to create an open financial system for the world," it now reads.

That swap of a few words is significant. It underscores the crisis recently facing the bitcoin movement and the rapid rise of a potential competitor network called Ethereum.

Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam laid out this inflection point in a long blog post yesterday. He talked up why he was excited about Ethereum, which is less than a year old, and why Coinbase is now supporting it.

"While Ethereum is less battle tested," he wrote, "it is moving faster, has better leadership and has more developer mindshare. First mover advantage is challenging to overcome, but at current pace, it’s conceivable."

A spokesman confirmed to Recode the reason for the change. "Coinbase is supporting Ethereum, so moving from ‘bitcoin company’ to digital asset company."

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