Ethereum is not just Bitcoin 2.0. Nor is it actually just a cryptocurrency like bitcoin. It is also a programming language, like C++ and Java. Plus, Ethereum is actually the blockchain technology that it uses. Bitcoin uses blockchain technology while Ethereum is its own programming language and blockchain code.
This means that applications can use Ethereum to run programs and can be paid in Ether, which is Ethereum’s cryptocurrency name. Another function that it does is to make transactions not only faster but smarter as well. It started active trading in the market on August 7, 2015. It opened at the price of $2.83. It reached an all-time high of $416.17. Current market capitalization as of 9/12/17 is $28.43 billion dollars.
What is so special about it?
Ethereum takes advantage of smart contracts, which is a programming scripting function that allows a contract or a program to be delivered or executed without much risk of fraud.
For instance, a smart contract would place conditions or promises on its protocols, by which the Ether or payment will not be sent until said conditions will apply.
It could also put a condition that only a specific individual can sell it, meaning that even if someone else possesses the item embedded with smart contract, they cannot dispose of it.
This concept of a smart contract is now almost synonymous to cryptocurrencies, especially for the usage of blockchain technologies which lessens fraud or corruption.
Entities using Ethereum
Another special quality of Ethereum is its Blockchain technology.
In fact, J.P. Morgan Chase is developing a blockchain with Ethereum named Quorum. This allows the regulating bodies to see transactions in real time without risking anonymity of the individual doing transactions. If there are irregularities found, regulators can just contact J.P. Morgan Chase with the specific blockchain information and have J.P. Morgan do its own audit.
The Royal Bank of Scotland is also using Ethereum, specifically its blockchain technology, to make a digital clearing house. This is done to promote faster transactions while keeping identities and underlying securities safe.
Some applications that run on Ethereum’s programming language are:
- Weifund, which is a crowdfunding platform that also takes advantage of the smart contract technology of Ethereum
- Blockapps, which allows corporations and businesses to build and use blockchain applications so that transactions are both publicly known and privately secured.
- Provenance, which offers services that traces supply chains of products.
Ethereum was initially conceptualized by Vitalik Buterin, who was a programmer affiliated with bitcoin. He wanted to make a scripting language to improve bitcoin and have other useful features.
The core Ethereum team was Vitalik Buterin, Mihai Alisie, Anthony Di Iorio, and Charles Hoskinson. The development of the Ethereum Software began in 2014 through Ethereum Switzerland GmbH and was connected to Ethereum Foundation, a non-profit foundation.
Ethereum Switzerland GmbH and Ethereum Foundation are Swiss entities.
The current and latest version for the Ethereum Software is Homestead, which was released on March 14, 2016. Next update planned would be Metropolis, expected to be announced September 2017. This coming update is supposed to reduce the complexity and give more flexibility for the makers and users of smart contracts.