3.5 k views

The Beginner’s Guide to Ethereum – All You Need to Know

Ethereum is a public computing network for decentralized applications that operate globally.

Ethereum is often thrown into the same basket as Bitcoin by crypto neophytes. However, besides its cryptocurrency token, Ether (ETH), there are very few similarities.

Ethereum has a more far-reaching use of blockchain technology. It enables users to develop and run almost any type of code, store it on the ledger, and let it gain authenticity through smart contracts and the entire platform’s participation.

Ethereum empowers people from everywhere worldwide to deal with them without intermediary actors. As a result, monetary transactions and the exchange of services, information, knowledge, and goods can occur at a lower cost and without traditional centralized institutions’ impositions.

Ethereum in a Nutshell

  • They were initially released in 2016 by Vitalik Buterin.
  • It is a decentralized ledger, constantly verified and updated
  • It enables developers to run any code they want
  • It uses Ether – a cryptocurrency second only to Bitcoin
  • It enables the creation of self-executing codes called smart contracts
  • It allows the development of venture capital funds as decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs)
  • It is a public, stateless platform that uses internal Turing-complete software called Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)
  • You can either mine for Ether or buy it in exchange for standard currency or other cryptos

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum is an open-source, trustless, decentralized computer network that uses a unique coding language and blockchain technology to exchange applications for cryptocurrency tokens of value called “Ether.” There are over 8,000 computers (operators) worldwide engaged in this process at the moment.

The entire Ethereum network works like a programmable blockchain. It uses a peer-to-peer protocol to allow users to create applications or “smart contracts,” which they can add to the blockchain and execute by sending Ether.

The platform’s website says: “on Ethereum, you can write code that controls digital value.” The codes are called “smart contracts,” Since the network is public and global, anyone can create and run a smart contract by paying the Ether operators.

A decentralized platform means that each smart contract is stored on computers in multiple locations. The veridicality of these contracts is proven by the entire network and not by an all-governing authority. It is the case with software and applications that do not rely on blockchain technology.

Ethereum is not under the control of any governmental authorities or banking institutions. Instead, the Ethereum platform is fully autonomous, and its authenticity is given by the thousands of computers and volunteers that work on it around the world.

What are the Ethereum Smart Contracts?

Ethereum Smart Contracts are pre-defined self-executing codes that users add to the blockchain and signal an agreement between two or more parties. They run on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), the totality of all the Ethereum nodes (computers) worldwide.

When smart contract requirements are met, the code is executed without approval from a third entity.

For example, you could build a freelancing-like platform on top of Ethereum. There, independent professionals and businesses could meet to exchange services through smart contracts. For example, an agreement could be written to say that when a content creator meets a particular service, the payment agreed upon by the contracting business transfers to the freelancer’s account without the need for the platform’s approval and, more importantly, without the platform taking a commission fee from the contract like all real-life freelancing platforms do.

This is an example, but smart contracts have endless possibilities and purposes. For example, more and more companies use Ethereum and its interpretation of blockchain technology to develop apps, games, and programming software.

What are Ether Tokens?

Ether is a digital currency, a token, or a virtual property that is associated with Ethereum.

Developers that wish to create apps on top of Ethereum have to pay the nodes on the network a certain amount of Ether. The people who later want to use those apps may also need to pay for them in Ether.

Additionally, you can pay for services in Ether or ask for them as payment outside the platform. Finally, like other cryptocurrency forms, you can exchange Ether for cash or other cryptos (ex., Bitcoin).

Some services and cryptocurrency exchange websites tend to alternate the name of these tokens between Ether and Ethereum, although they represent the same thing.

What is DAO?

Also known as a decentralized autonomous organization, the DAO was a stateless venture capital fund that aimed to provide a business platform for companies that adhered to a decentralized financial venture model. It was founded in 2016 on the Ethereum blockchain through the most extensive crowdfunding campaign in history, which amassed more than $150 million.

The DAO creators reported a recursive call bug within the software and told the members who had already financed more than 50 projects that their investments were not at risk. However, while the Ethereum network was still impenetrable, the DAO platform became the victim of a hack attack on June 18 2016 that saw the transfer of 3.6 million Ether tokens into a “child DAO” – a platform with a similar structure to DAO.

The hack dropped Ether from $20 to $13 and drained almost a third of the total number of tokens. The value of lost Ether was estimated at $50 million. In the aftermath, two sides emerged. One claimed that the working algorithm of Ethereum was unbreakable, and another asked for a hard fork in the protocol that would return the stolen funds to the investors and prevent future hack attacks.

The second side won, and in July 2016, Buterin confirmed the hard fork, which did not please some of the Ether miners. They did not adhere to the newly created chain (Ethereum) and followed the old Ethereum Classic protocol (ETC).

Currently, the Ethereum community is still divided, but new investors, developers, and miners choose to run codes on the new, forked Ethereum chain. As a result, both Ethereum, and ETC remain two popular cryptos actively developing and strengthening their positions in the market.

How Does Ethereum Work?

The Ethereum network is run by the Ethereum Virtual Machine that executes scripts and enables developers to run any code they want, from smart contracts to DAOs.

The Ethereum protocol is subject to periodic upgrades that improve its architecture and security. It has a universal value that allows users to build and run any smart contract or transaction type. One can develop games, businesses, apps, p2p modules, or organizations without censorship or discrimination.

How is Ethereum Different from Bitcoin?

It is easy to confuse Ether or Ethereum with Bitcoin if you are new to cryptocurrency, but there are essential technical differences between the two virtual coins.

Bitcoin was the first-ever cryptocurrency that used blockchain technology to create a fully decentralized, global peer-to-peer network. It enabled people to make currency transactions without the supervision of traditional intermediaries like governments or banks. It was a flickering light in the overwhelming darkness looming over our financial understanding and intelligence.

Think of Bitcoin as Gutenberg’s printing press, an invention that sparked a revolution and changed the publishing world forever. Many other inventors and publishers took Guttenberg’s example and created new presses using his proposed technology. Some improved on his work, while others used the same concepts to build different types of presses.

Ethereum is very much like that. It uses the same technology (blockchain) that Bitcoin uses to create an alternative form of cryptocurrency, but it enhances its applicability for a broad range of diverse purposes. It is not better or worse. It is different.

One of the main differences between Bitcoin and Ethereum is that the last-mentioned takes blockchain technology to create an entire network with a unique coding language, a custom-made payment system, and its Internet browser. Additionally, it enables users to produce decentralized applications on its blockchain and run almost any code they want.

A Brief History of Ethereum

In November 2013, a 19-year-old Russian-Canadian programmer named Vitalik Buterin published the Ethereum whitepaper. His proposal was that of a platform that could use blockchain technology to store and implement computer programs through an international web of distributed nodes.

In January 2014, at the head of a stellar development team that included Mihai Alisie, Anthony Di Iorio, and Charles Hoskinson, Buterin announced the Ethereum platform’s development publicly. Simultaneously, the team started an ICO project that amassed $18.4 million in less than seven months.

In May 2015, the first Ethereum testnet, “Olympic,” was released and was followed by “Frontier” as the first stage of development in July of the same year.

March 14, 2016 marked the official release of Homestead – the first stable Ethereum. Unfortunately, less than three months after its release in June, Ethereum suffered the infamous DAO hack that saw $50 million worth of Ether – almost 15% of the total Ether in circulation at the time – disappear.

From 2016 through 2019, Buterin and his team announced several updates to strengthen and secure the original Ethereum protocol: The Classic fork (October 25, 2016), The Metropolis Byzantium hard fork (October 16, 2017), and The Metropolis Constantinople hard fork (February 28, 2019).

How to Own Ether

You can acquire Ether by mining or buying it for traditional currency or other cryptos. In both cases, you will need an electronic wallet for cryptocurrency to store the tokens.

If you wish to mine for Ether, you must set up a Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) and join an Ethereum mining pool. The process is similar to Bitcoin mining, except that the Ethereum blockchain stores your transactional history and the network’s current state.

The Benefits of Using Ethereum

Ethereum brings significant changes to blockchain technology and provides essential benefits to its users, such as:

  •       The Ethereum network cannot be turned off, which means that apps and businesses that use it can never turn off
  •       It is impenetrable to modifications from third parties
  •       The network’s security is given by the users’ consensus on proof of work and the cryptographic protocol at the base of all transactions.
  •       Ethereum cannot be tampered with by intermediary actors like governments or banking institutions.

The Downsides of Using Ethereum

While the DAO hack of 2016 alerted users about potential hacks and vulnerabilities to smart contracts, Ethereum remains a highly dependable and secure computing network. On the other hand, the obsession with keeping security protocols running at maximum capacity harms mainstream users looking to run new applications on the blockchain. As a result, the cost of Ether remains high and inaccessible to many developers.

Final Thoughts

The cryptocurrency industry has its superstar player that enjoys worldwide popularity in Bitcoin. However, Ethereum is not lagging far behind the famous crypto. On the contrary, it is rapidly developing a loyal community of developers who embrace the option to run any code they want on its blockchain.

Bitcoin live price
Btc
Bitcoin
$28.110
price
4.76549%
price change
TRADE NOW

As it stands, Ethereum is one of the most important revelations of blockchain technology and probably the no.1 platform for future decentralized applications.

Stay up to date with our latest articles

More posts

A Guide to the Impact of US Fed’s Interest Rates on Crypto

The US Federal Reserve's interest rate is one of the world's most influential economic indicators. These rates profoundly affect global markets and investments.  But what impact does this have on cryptocurrencies? Today, we’ll explore how Fed interest rate changes affect crypto prices and why traders need to pay attention to them. We will also discuss how quickly these rates are increasing and what this means for cryptocurrency investors.  Observing the connection between US Fed rates and crypto assets allows you…

Unveiling the ERC-4337 Account Abstraction Standard – What You Should Know

The Ethereum blockchain is always changing and adding new features to make it easier to use. One of the latest developments is the introduction of ERC-4337. This account abstraction standard promises to revolutionize how users interact with Ethereum. This guide will tell you about ERC-4337. We'll explain what it is, how it works, and the good and bad things about it. We'll also talk about why you should use this new standard for smart contracts. By the end of this…

How to Evaluate a Roadmap Before Investing in a Crypto Project

Investing in a cryptocurrency project can be a risky business. After all, the crypto market is volatile, and projects can fail due to a lack of planning or poor execution. That's why it's important to understand how to evaluate a crypto project's roadmap before investing your money. By looking at the details of a project's roadmap, you can get an idea of its direction. Moreover, you’ll manage to understand whether or not it has to stay in business.  In this…

How Can Crypto Projects Use Telegram and Discord to Grow

Crypto projects have an excellent opportunity to reach and engage with their audiences using two popular messaging platforms: Telegram and Discord. How can they make the most of these channels? Today, we'll explore the differences between Telegram and Discord and show you a few successful examples on both platforms. Furthermore, we'll provide strategies for growing your crypto community. We will conclude this guide with tips for engaging your audience, combining the strengths of both platforms. Why Telegram and Discord are…

The Role of a Valid Go-To-Market Strategy in a Crypto Project Success

In the rapidly evolving world of cryptocurrency, a good go-to-market strategy is essential for any project to achieve success. Unfortunately, it's not enough to create an innovative product. You must also know how to reach your target market and effectively promote it to gain traction.  With careful planning and execution, you can develop an effective launch plan to maximize your chances of success in crypto. This article will discuss the importance of a go-to-market strategy and common mistakes when developing…

How Can a Team Create Market Traction on Its Crypto Project?

Market traction is a must-have if you want to create real, lasting success with your crypto project. But how do you ensure your team achieves the traction needed to drive meaningful growth?  This guide will explore some strategic methods for building and maintaining momentum in the crypto sector. Never underestimate the power of effective market traction – it could be the key to unlocking your project's potential. Why You Need Market Traction in the Crypto Sector The success of any…

Which Features Should a Successful Crypto Team Possess?

Creating a successful crypto team becomes imperative to succeed in this industry. This is particularly true as more people come together and launch their digital currencies or tokens. The right team and set of skills can make a huge difference in the overall success of your crypto project. This guide will explore features a successful crypto team should possess to ensure long-term success. Is There an Ideal Profile for a Crypto Team? A successful crypto team should be composed of…

What You Need to Know Before Investing in a Crypto Project with Anonymous Team

Investing in a cryptocurrency project can be an exciting way to grow your wealth, but it can also be risky. Investing in a crypto project with an anonymous team adds complexity and risks. The Phenomenon of Anonymous Crypto Teams If you explore the Internet for financial ideas, you've probably already encountered anonymous crypto teams. Some cryptocurrency teams that stay anonymous are growing successful. Some anonymous crypto teams have succeeded, despite traditional investors' reluctance toward them. For example, to this day,…

The Buyback and Burn Practice Explained

In a constantly evolving and growing crypto market, it is difficult for investors to know where to put their money. One popular investment strategy in the crypto space is buying tokens of teams that conduct a buyback and burn program.  This guide will explore what a buyback and burn practice is, how it works, and its benefits and risks. What Is a Crypto Buyback and Burn Practice A crypto buyback and burn practice happens when a company buys back its…

Should You Sell Off Your Crypto Assets During a Bear Market?

Selling your crypto assets during a bear market can be a hard choice. On the one hand, selling off your assets may seem logical during a down market. But, on the other hand, you may be worried about missing out on potential profits if the market rebounds.  This guide will illustrate the benefits and risks of selling your crypto assets during a bear market. While you should always research, we will share some tips for successfully doing so. What Is…