There’s an increasing amount of discussion in the Ethereum community as to whether or not ETH is money.
Not surprisingly, this depends on the definition of money.
ETH Is Money — Similar to Public Company Stock
The Ethereum protocol is an Internet-based, open source marketplace for trustless computation and ETH represents its freely tradable equity.
Similar to how a publicly listed company can use its stock as money in an M&A transaction, the owners of the Ethereum protocol can use ETH as money to pay for different transactions.
Since protocol equity is often freely tradable on the Internet, there are less restrictions for using it as money compared to traditional public company stock.
This tradability also serves to boost the “illusion” of protocol equity as money.
The reason ETH is considered as a premium form of money today — over many other assets — reflects the relative maturity of ETH compared to many other protocol equities in the crypto space.
For example, REP, LPT and ZRX are likewise productive assets, which — once they mature and become more derisked— will gain a similar “monetary status” as ETH has today.
But even when they receive that status, they are still better off being used as collateral to back e.g. MakerDAO’s DAI stablecoin—since a stablecoin is a much better form of money than protocol equity from a pure UX perspective.