Official Website: https://www.ethereum.org/
Like other blockchains, Ethereum has a native cryptocurrency called Ether (ETH). ETH has many of the same features as Bitcoin, like that it is purely digital and can be sent to anyone, anywhere in the world near enough instantly. Ether (ETH), like some other coins, currently has no limited supply but are looking to change this in the near future. Where Ethereum differs from a lot of other coins, is that it is programmable. This means that developers of other Cryptocurrencies and more can use it to build new kinds of applications.
Ethereum also implements a more developed version of smart contracts than Bitcoin uses. They can help you exchange anything of value, like money, property or shares. This exchange, however, is done so without the services of a middle man, giving the transaction transparency, trust and lower fees.
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19-year-old Vitalik Buterin, a programmer from Toronto, first grew interest in bitcoin in 2011. Only 2 years later, he published the first Ethereum white paper, describing it as ‘an alternative platform designed for any type of decentralized application developers who would want to build.’ Soon after, at the beginning of 2015, the original Ethereum development team, that consisted of founders: Vitalik Buterin, Mihai Alisie, Anthony Di Iorio, and Charles Hoskinson, then announced its start of development. Later that year in August they had raised $18.4 million through launching a crowdfunding campaign, where participants purchased Ether (ETH) that function as shares in the project.
Co-founder Dr Gavin Wood composed the Ethereum yellow paper, otherwise known as “the technical bible”. This outlines the specification for the Ethereum virtual machine (EVM), which runs the smart contracts and engages with the state of the ledger.
Since its initial release in 2015, Etheruem has been a platform for decentralised applications, serving as a powerful computer with no risk of downtime or third-party interference. As mentioned earlier, the network provides the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which executes scripts through a public node network. As with most coins, The Ethereum team have made many updates and adjustments to the system throughout the years to keep the system on par with the level expected of it. Fortunately, Ethereum do have a roadmap and this has been split into 4 different development stages. These stages are intended to symbolise different periods of progress: Frontier, Homestead, Metropolis and Serenity.
1. Frontier (July 2015) - At first, the Ethereum platform was designed mainly for developers, not for the end users, as the platform only featured command-line interfaces. The platform brought substantial potential that made blockchain developers enticed. This was the time for experimentation, allowing developers to mine ETH and begin building dApps. Unfortunately, it was still unstable, and improvements were necessary. Different elements of the network were fixed and adapted to allow the end users to start using the network. This was the first public version of Ethereum, and it was named Homestead.
2. Homestead (March 2016) - Ethereum Homestead, the first production release, also a hard fork, introduced several protocol and network improvements. One improvement was removing Canary Contracts, allowing the team at Ethereum the chance to stop certain activities within the network. This helped the platform to become more autonomous. New codes and a programming language called ‘Soldility’ were also introduced, which provided the ability to do further upgrades and speed up transactions.
3. Metropolis (October 2017) - In the last quarter of 2017, Metropolis introduced a new consensus mechanism called Proof-of-Stake (PoS). This differs from the old Proof-of-Work (PoW) method, similar to Bitcoin (BTC), where transactions are confirmed by blockchain miners. This was the main purpose of the upgrade, but along with this the network saw security updates, as well as an increase in smart contract automation. In addition to this, programmes that do not require downloading the entire blockchain locally, made it simpler for beginners.
4. Serenity (To be Announced) - The developers at Ethereum are consistently attempting to improve their blockchain, giving different possibilities and updates. By the end of the Serenity stage, Ethereum hope to have the platform reach its full potential, moving entirely to their Proof-of-Stake consensus algorithm.
Ethereum requires mining just like Bitcoin (see our guide to Bitcoin if you haven’t already https://www.bcbitcoin.co.uk/bitcoin-services/coin-guide/bitcoin/). However, while conceptually the two are much alike, there are significant technical differences. For example, Ethereum blocks are added every 15 seconds, while bitcoin blocks are added at an average of every 10 minutes. As a reward, Ethereum miners receive 2 ETH, plus all transaction and code-processing fees. As for the mining algorithm, Ethereum uses a hashing algorithm known as Ethash, which is different than Bitcoin’s hashcash. Ethash is a memory-hard algorithm, designed to resist the development of powerful Ethereum-mining ASICs. Instead, Ethash is deliberately best-suited to GPU-mining, in the hope of making mining more widely available to different users.
A smart contract, regarding the Ethereum network, is neither a smart nor a legal contract. Nonetheless, they are computer programmes that run deterministically as feature of the Ethereum network protocol (on the decentralized Ethereum world computer). Similarly, the fact that you need energy to power something, you also need Ether to run the smart contracts and applications on the Ethereum blockchain.
DApps stands for decentralized application. Just like with applications in different app stores, developers can build on top of Ethereum’s blockchain infrastructure/network. Ethereum is arguably the best platform for building dApps, as you will see from the vast amount of ERC20 tokens available. This is thanks to its very own language (Solidity) that enables developers to form smart contracts using the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).
Examples that have been built of the Ethereum Virtual Machine. https://media.consensys.net/40-ethereum-apps-you-can-use-right-now-d643333769f7
The current supply of Ethereum (ETH) is at 107,345,217, with no max supply limit. Each time a new block is mined, the current reward is 2 ETH, and this is won by the entity or individual who solved the equation. However, since having no limit has raised concerns about inflation throughout the Ethereum community, co-founder Vitalik Buterin brought in an Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP), as of April 2018, with the hope ‘to ensure the economic sustainability of the platform under the widest possible variety of circumstances.’ Suggesting a cap of 120 Million ETH. At this time this has still not been accepted.
https://ethereum.org/use/#3-what-is-a-wallet-and-which-one-should-i-use provides a few different wallets through their site for the storage of ETH. You can find mobile, browser and desktop wallets from 5 different providers all featured on the site. Most of these wallets are unofficial and developed by the community to improve and provide services on the open-source network. Leading hardware wallet providers Trezor and Ledger are integrated with Ethereum and ETH wallets will come as standard on their devices.
Dedicated Wallet providers such as Exodus are also great for storing, sending and receiving any ETH you may already have or are looking to purchase. It is always recommended that you ensure using a secure wallet, create back-ups and store any sensitive recovery information. As well as, complete your own research and due diligence.
You can Buy & Sell Ethereum (ETH) by heading over to the Buy Coins page of our website. Ethereum (ETH) is available on BC Bitcoin trading against major fiat currencies: GBP and EUR. Buying ETH has never been easier, simply place your order and provide your wallet address. Once your payment arrives ETH will be sent directly to your wallet. If you choose to Sell Ethereum (ETH) you can send us the coins and receive a payment to your bank account. Details and valuation can be found on the ‘Sell Coins’ page.
Ethereum stands out from other cryptocurrencies because of its versatility. Unlike other networks Ethereum is the world’s leading programmable blockchain, with many ERC20 tokens currently being supported on the Ether network. You can build on top of it, just as many have done so already. The team have a well-established plan for the future offering stability and a sense of direction for the coin. Ethereum has been one of the top 3 crypto’s in terms of market capitalisation and doesn’t look to lose its place anytime soon. They are also looking to move into a Proof-of-Stake/Proof-of-Work algorithm which will be interesting to see what happens as they slowly try to move over to Proof-of-Stake.
Ethereum Website: https://www.ethereum.org/
Ethereum Block Explorer: https://etherscan.io/
Ethereum GitHub: https://github.com/ethereum
Ethereum Whitepaper: http://blockchainlab.com/pdf/Ethereum_white_paper-a_next_generation_smart_contract_and_decentralized_application_platform-vitalik-buterin.pdf