In many ways, Ethereum is similar to Bitcoin. It’s a public, peer-to-peer network or blockchain with its own digital currency called Ether. Ethereum was created by Vitalik Buterin in 2014 and the purpose of Ethereum is to be a platform on which smart contracts can be built and run.
Put very simply, Ethereum is intended to be a world computer.
Where Bitcoin stores a list of balances and transactions on its blockchain, the Ethereum blockchain is designed to store different types of data. This data can be accessed and used by computer programs running on the Ethereum blockchain. These programs are called decentralized apps, or dapps.
Developers around the world can build and run decentralized applications on the Ethereum blockchain. The purpose of these is to improve the industries of finance, personal information storage, governance and more by using the transparent nature of a blockchain.
Ethereum is the second-largest cryptocurrency in the world.
The total value of “Ether” in the global marketplace is more than $53 billion.
While that still pales in comparison to the $205 billion value on Bitcoins circulating around the world, ethereum is well ahead of other major digital currencies such as Ripple ($21 billion), Litecoin ($10 billion), and IOTA ($9 billion).
Is Ethereum safe?
Ethereum has been deployed in different phases. Currently the Ethereum project is in the 2nd phase, called “Homestead”. The 4 planned phases for the growth of the Ethereum network are, in order: Frontier, Homestead, Metropolis, and Serenity. Ethereum Homestead clients are working smoothly after being in beta for several months without any major incidents. However, Ethereum is still an experimental technology. Since it allows for programs to run on a virtual machine, it’s still possible that some things may still go wrong, such as poorly written smart contracts that contain bugs.
Why would I use Ethereum?
While Bitcoin allows you take part in a global financial network, using Ethereum you can participate in a global computational network. This is done by means of smart contracts, which are scripts of code that can be deployed in the Ethereum blockchain. Although smart contracts are still a very new technology, they have a wide range of potential applications in many different areas, such as voting, global supply chains, medical records, the financial system, and possibly others that have yet to be discovered.