If you’re new to the term cryptocurrency, we would recommend reading our Bitcoin workshop first. If you’ve done that already, let’s look at Ethereum.
Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum is not a currency, it’s a platform. The currency itself is called Ether, which was developed in Ethereum. On this platform, you can develop your own de-centralized (not controlled by anyone) blockchain applications. If you want to do that, you’ll have to learn Ethereum’s programming language Solidity.
Fundamentals & Background
Ethereum was proposed in 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, and went live in 2015. Ethereum introduced the concept of “smart contracts,” which are self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement directly written into code. As mentioned before, that code is written in Solidity. These contracts automatically execute when certain conditions are met, without the need for intermediaries. We see a similarity to Bitcoin here as we’re skipping the intermediary part, so that there’s no control over an application.
Ether (ETH) is the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network. It is used to pay for transaction fees and computational services when executing smart contracts. Remember the fun fact on our Bitcoin page? Instead of paying with Bitcoin, individuals and businesses can use Ether to pay for services. Again, looking back on Bitcoin, you can purchase Ether for money and hold in your crypto wallet or trade it on crypto-exchange platforms. Compared to the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, Bitcoin (just about $62,000 per BTC), Ether is much cheaper with a current price of about $3,300 per ETH. However, that makes ETH the second-largest cryptocurrency in the world by market capitalization.
Who uses Ethereum?
Ethereum is now widely used by many big companies to create their own smart applications for literally anything you can imagine. Top airlines like Emirates have been using Ethereum to develop and unlock new methods of travel booking, ticket issuance, and baggage tracking. Even big banks like JP Morgan Chase developed a payment system on the Ethereum blockchain called Interbank Information Network, to make real time cross-border transfers more efficient.
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