What are the characteristics of Ethereum?
Ethereum is a decentralized platform with the primary purpose of creating a shared computing platform which makes it possible to use a blockchain for running decentralized applications, particularly the so-called smart contracts (for example contracts, agreements). It is not a typical cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. This network’s operation is therefore not primarily intended for currency transactions, but it is used for writing one’s own programs – smart contracts and other decentralized applications which carry out the tasks their creators designed them for. The blockchain principle protects it from internal or external interferences with the operation of the platform or the smart contracts.
A fully transparent and a well configured system with clear security count among the main advantages of this platform. The so-called proof-of-work is used for verifying transactions, though this is very energetically demanding. This is why at present, changes to the algorithm are taking place in order to enable the so-called proof-of-stake.
What is a smart contract?
A smart contract is a protocol which can be used to enforce what the protocol’s author anticipates. This can be for example the transfer of stocks or an exhange of funds without the need of interference from lawyers or notaries, concluding a contract, or entering into an agreement. The blockchain’s system ensures that the protocol won’t be changed retrospectively in any way, which means that once a smart contract is entered into, it cannot be changed retrospectively (falsified). This is an important attribute of smart contracts. Of course that a smart contract can be changed in the future, for example after the contractual parties agree to make a change going forward.
The Ethereum network uses Ethereum as a fee paid by the smart contract administrator or the operator of the decentralized application to the miners.
History of Ethereum
The platform’s vision was presented in 2013 by its author, Vitalik Beterin – a very respected personality in the cryptocurrency area. The network started running on July 30, 2015 and it continues to be robustly developed.
Number of Ethereum coins
The total number of coins is 107 950 892 and they have already all been mined. This means that miners only receive fees from transactions. Moreover, the proof-of-stake type of verification is being experimented with – this means that blocks would only be added into the blockchain and verified by owners of large amounts of ethers, which would significantly reduce the energy demands of running the blockchain.
All time high: 1 432,88 USD (13th January 2018).
Ethereum counts among the most widely spread cryptocurrencies, which means it’s not a problem if you want to buy some. Each cryptocurrency exchange sells Ethereum. Ethereum can be purchased at the Binance cryptocurrency exchange with a credit card (up to 2,500 USD with no identity verification) or by exchanging it for a different cryptocurrency. For european users we recommend also Coinmate.
Since Ethereum is the most widespread cryptocurrency in the world, it is fully supported by all available hardware wallets.