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Ethereum (ETH) Cryptocurrency – Everything you need to know
- Ethereum is a decentralised smart contract platform which allows other cryptocurrency projects to build applications on top of it. Ethereum has its own dedicated blockchain.
- Smart contracts receive and distribute assets. This enables users to trade anything of value without the need for trust or the services of a middleman.
- A huge number of cryptocurrency projects are being built on smart contract platforms. Ethereum is currently the overwhelming market leader with over 500 projects being built on it’s network.
- Ether is the currency that powers the Ethereum network and can be viewed as programmable money.
- Ethereum has the largest developer team in the cryptocurrency space.
- The application CryptoKitties demonstrated the slowdown the ethereum network could experience with a high volume of transactions. Solutions to solve this scaling problem are being worked on.
- The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance has well known members such as Deloitte, Credit Suisse, Intel, J.P.Morgan, Microsoft, Santander, The Central Bank of Canada and many more.
What is Ethereum?
Ethereum was founded by Vitalik Buterin in 2014 and the Ethereum blockchain was launched in 2015. The Ethereum platform has its own separate public blockchain and is a decentralized platform with the ability to run smart contracts. Decentralised applications (Dapp’s) such as CryptoKitties have then been built and deployed to run on the Ethereum network. Ethereum’s decentralisation means that any Dapp built on Ethereum is not controlled by any one person. To date over 500 cryptocurrency projects run on the network.
What is a Smart Contract?
Smart contracts allow for the collection and distribution of assets in a predefined and trustless way with no need for a middleman. A simple way to think about smart contracts is that they in essence work the same as a vending machine. A vending machine is programmed to give you a product on the condition that a user gives the machine $1; if the condition is met the vending machine executes the trade automatically. A smart contact works in the same way, it simply receives and redistributes assets and theoretically customisation from developers mean anything of value can be traded this way.
Ethereum allows developers to create any operations they choose. This means that there can be almost unlimited applications that we simply cannot conceive of yet.
Why is Being Decentralised a Big Deal?
Ethereum being decentralised means that any application built on it also shares that feature.
- Immutability: Data cannot be changed once recorded in the public ledger or transactions reversed. This means no third party can distort data on the Ethereum network.
- Secure: Ethereum has no central failure point and apps built on Ethereum are secured through cryptography. This means Dapp users and builders can be safe in the knowledge that they are very protected against hacks and fraud.
- Corruption Proof: Ethereum has been formed around the consensus mechanism, which makes centralised censorship or corruption impossible.
Ethereum and Traditional Businesses
Companies like J.P.Morgan and Microsoft are exploring the possible benefits that Ethereum can bring their businesses. The exciting thing for Ethereum investors is that these companies have a very wide reach and any consumer product that Microsoft may integrate or build on the back of Ethereum will then distribute network usage to tens of millions of people around the globe.
The more users the Ethereum network has, the more valuable it becomes.
A simple example would be; if there was one phone in the world, how valuable is it? It’s worth nothing as the phone has no function (I cannot ring anyone). But then I give a phone to my friend and we can talk. His phone has actually made my original phone more valuable due to the network effect.
As more and more people use the Ethereum network the more valuable it becomes. This is why many people in the Cryptocurrency space are excited about current members of the The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance and what they may do with the technology in the future.
Should You Invest?
Ethereum is currently the second biggest cryptocurrency, the king of decentralised smart contract platforms and has the biggest development team in cryptocurrency. The majority of decentralised apps are already built on Ethereum and moving away from Ethereum to another platform takes effort.
There are scaling issues; the network is not currently able to process transactions fast enough for applications like CryptoKitties to run smoothly. It is hard to see an exciting future for Ethereum if this problem cannot be solved. This said, they have the largest and one of the most impressive teams in the Cryptocurrency space and are working on a solution right now.
Ethereum and smart contracts have almost unlimited potential to disrupt thousands of industries including finance, recruitment, healthcare, logistics, healthcare, legal, insurance and many more. It’s a question of whether large companies (like those in The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance) start properly adopting the Ethereum network in their core businesses and the success of the Dapps built on Ethereum.
If we look at the technology sector in the stock market: which companies typically have the highest valuations? It’s the platforms like Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook. As the current king of decentralised smart contract platforms, Ethereum has set itself up in prime position to be one of the mega platforms of the future.
How To Buy Ethereum?
The good news is that it is relatively simple to buy Ethereum. Unlike other cryptocurrencies you can buy and store Ethereum all through the easy to use Coinbase platform. Simply create a Coinbase account, deposit your EUR, USD or GBP and buy Ethereum within minutes.
Need help to buy Ethereum on Coinbase? Just check out our comprehensive Coinbase guide!
🔒 Safest Ethereum Wallets
Hardware wallets are the safest crypto storage solutions available. These wallets store your private keys and do not expose them to the outside world, this means your crypto is as safe as possible. Maybe you should treat your crypto like the million dollars it could well be worth one day?
👍 Best Free Wallets
- MyEtherWallet – Struggling? We cover everything in our MEW step by step walkthrough.
- Exodus – Need help? Just check out our dedicated Exodus wallet guide.
📈 Best Apps To Track Your Ethereum Investment
- Official site
- Ethereum white paper
- Bitcointalk message board
- Block explorer service
- Official Twitter
Want to do a deep dive into Ethereum? Just check out the Ethereum white paper.