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Currencies & Rates

A beginner's look at Ethereum: 7 notable facts

Mar 7, 2018, 2:20:43 PM Published By Wirex Team
For many people, Ethereum is the logical next step after getting the hang of Bitcoin. A couple of months ago, we covered the basics of Ethereum. Today we're bringing you seven extra things you should know about the original altcoin.

Ethereum is a platform for the cryptocurrency Ether

Ethereum is a little more complicated than most altcoins. While Ethereum is often described as a cryptocurrency, its actually a blockchain based distributed computing platform. The Ethereum platform provides a digital token called Ether which users can trade between themselves. But to keep things simple, we generally refer to both the platform and the currency as Ethereum. Youll see it listed as ETH on cryptocurrency exchanges.

Smart Contracts makes Ethereum a 'next level' Bitcoin

Ethereum uses a blockchain, but in a slightly different way to Bitcoin. The Ethereum network is used to make smart contracts and Distributed Autonomous Applications (DApps.) Ethereum also uses its own programming language, called Solidity. The actual cryptocurrency is only a small component of Ethereums importance. While many people buy Ethereum in the hope of making money, it is important to understand the purpose and value of the underlying technology.

Ethereum went live on 30th July 2015

Vitalik Buterin first described his ambitious ideas for Ethereum in a 2013 white paper when he was just 19. He wasnt interested in the potential for financial gain Bitcoin offered - he was interested in the wide-ranging possible applications of cryptocurrency technology. After receiving support from other members of the cryptocurrency community, Buterin launched a crowdfunding campaign. It proved to be the most successful crowdfunding campaign ever, prompting Buterin to drop out of college and focus on Ethereum. Buterin and his small team of close co-collaborators went to work on Ethereum in early 2014. By July 2015, it was ready for release, along with 11.9 million premined coins.

Ethereum is open source, decentralised and public

Vitalik Buterins goal is for Ethereum to initiate the creation of a new global economy without middlemen. The Ethereum blockchain cannot be censored, hacked or in any way messed with by malicious parties.

Ethereum has grown fast and is now the second largest cryptocurrency

Ethereum prices remained low for the first couple of years, hovering below $2 until February 2016. The price then began to climb, reaching $10 by the 4th of March - a 500% increase in a matter of weeks. Things really took off a year later when the price shot from around $20 to $50 in days, then close to $400 by June. Since then, Ether has hit highs of over $1350. By December 2016, Ethereum processed over one million transactions in a day for the first time. Within a few years, Ethereum has become Bitcoins biggest rival (although Ripple and inspired the creation of over a thousand other altcoins. Ethereum split aka forked into two forms:Ethereum and Ethereum Classic.

Ethereum has many proposed practical uses

Numerous uses for Ethereum have been suggested, although not all are considered possible. The potential uses include:
  • Crowdfunding campaigns (similar to Kickstarter.)
  • Storing and sharing medical records.
  • Self-driving cars.
  • Tamper-proof political polls.
  • Safer data storage.
  • Monetizing creative work (such as music.)
  • Decentralised Autonomous Corporation (companies with no individuals in charge.)
Even JP Morgan and the Royal Bank of Scotland are working on Ethereum based projects.  
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