Ethereum was created in 2015 by Vitalik Buterin, a Russian-Canadian programmer. He conceived the idea for Ethereum after hearing about the Bitcoin cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Buterin believed that blockchain technology could be used to create decentralized applications that would not be subject to the control of governments or financial institutions.
In early 2014, Buterin released a white paper describing Ethereum and its potential uses. The project gained traction, and a development team was assembled. In July 2015, Ethereum was launched as an open-source platform.
Ethereum is based on blockchain technology, a distributed database that allows for secure, transparent, and tamper-proof transactions. Blockchain technology is also used by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
The Ethereum network allows for decentralized applications (apps) to be built on top of it. These dapps can be used for various purposes, such as creating contracts or managing digital assets. The Ethereum network also uses its own cryptocurrency, called Ether. This is used to pay transaction fees and gas costs associated with running smart contracts on the network.
In late 2022, Ethereum underwent a process known as The Merge, which saw the Ethereum network shift from a Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) algorithm. This was done to reduce the amount of energy required to run the network and make it more resistant to 51% attacks.
Ethereum has been used by a number of organizations and individuals for a variety of purposes. One notable example is the creation of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs). These organizations exist on the Ethereum network and are run by smart contracts. The code governing DAOs is open-source, meaning that anyone can create one.
Ethereum prices have been volatile, but have generally trended upwards over time. Investing in Ether or other cryptocurrencies is considered a high-risk investment, as prices can fluctuate rapidly, and the market is relatively new and unregulated.
Ethereum has the second largest market capitalization of any cryptocurrency after Bitcoin. It is considered one of the most promising projects in the blockchain space and has attracted a large number of developers and users.
A selection of cryptocurrencies in the top 50 by market cap.