Ethereum is the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. It is a decentralized open-source blockchain featuring smart contract functionality. Or, to put it simply – it’s programmable digital cash.
A common misunderstanding is that Ether and Ethereum refer to the same thing. Remember that Ether is simply the cryptocurrency used for payments in the Ethereum ecosystem.
- Ticker symbol: ETH
- Subunits: 1 Wei = ETH 0.000000000000000001
- Total Supply: Not capped
- Block time: 13 seconds
- Transaction validation scheme: Proof of Work
- Original Author(s): Vitalik Buterin, Gavin Wood
- Official whitepaper: Ethereum Whitepaper
- Official Website: www.ethereum.org
What are smart contracts?
A smart contract is a contract in the form of computer code that is executed on the Ethereum blockchain when certain conditions are met. Smart contracts can facilitate the exchange of money, content, property, shares, and almost everything that has measurable value.
What makes smart contracts unique is the fact that they can’t be broken or falsified since they are coded and immutable when deployed on the Ethereum blockchain. They also eliminate most intermediaries in any deal, involving the exchange of money or property, since they are entirely digital.
A brief chronology of the most important events in the history of Ethereum
- November 2013 – Vitalik Buterin publishes the Ethereum whitepaper.
- January 2014 – The development of the platform is announced publicly. The original developers of the Ethereum project were Vitalik Buterin, Mihai Alicie, Anthony di Lorio and Charles Hoskinson.
- August 2014 – Ethereum concludes an ICO (public offering) and raises $ 18.4 million.
- May 2015 – The beta network of Ethereum – Olympic (Ethereum 0.9) is released
- July 30, 2015 – The first stage of the development of Ethereum – “Frontier” was launched.
- August 30, 2015 – The Kraken Exchange is the first to offer Ether for trading, with a starting price of $ 2.77 for Ether.
- March 14, 2016 – The first stable version of the network – Homestead goes live.
- June 2016 – The DAO project created on Ethereum is hacked. Ether worth $ 50 million is stolen, which is 15% of the total supply at the time.
- October 25, 2016 – The first hard fork (radical change) of Ethereum is proposed. The network splits in two and Ethereum Classic is born due to division of public opinion, a consequence of the DAO hack.
- October 16, 2017 – The Metropolis Byzantium hard fork is completed and is adopted unanimously.
- January 13, 2018 – Ether reaches a price peak of $ 1,432.88 per Ether.