Ethereum is an open-source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform featuring smart contract (scripting) functionality, which facilitates online contractual agreements. It provides a decentralized Turing-complete virtual machine, the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which can execute scripts using an international network of public nodes. Ethereum also provides a cryptocurrency token called “ether”, which can be transferred between accounts and used to compensate participant nodes for computations performed. Gas, an internal transaction pricing mechanism, is used to mitigate spam and allocate resources on the network.
Ethereum was proposed in late 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, a cryptocurrency researcher and programmer. Development was funded by an online crowdsale during July–August 2014. The system went live on 30 July 2015, with 11.9 million coins “premined” for the crowdsale. This accounts for approximately 13 percent of the total circulating supply.[when?]
In 2016 Ethereum was forked into two blockchains, as a result of the collapse of The DAO project. The two chains have different numbers of users, and the minority fork was renamed to Ethereum Classic. The majority fork has retained the name Ethereum (the subject of this article).
On traditional server architectures, every application has to set up its own servers that run their own code in isolated silos, making sharing of data hard.
If a single app is compromised or goes offline, many users and other apps are affected.
On a blockchain, anyone can set up a node that replicates the necessary data for all nodes to reach an agreement and be compensated by users and app developers.
This allows user data to remain private and apps to be decentralized like the Internet was supposed to work.
Build unstoppable applications
Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference.
These apps run on a custom built blockchain, an enormously powerful shared global infrastructure that can move value around and represent the ownership of property. This enables developers to create markets, store registries of debts or promises, move funds in accordance with instructions given long in the past (like a will or a futures contract) and many other things that have not been invented yet, all without a middle man or counterparty risk.
The project was bootstrapped via an ether pre-sale during August 2014 by fans all around the world. It is developed by the Ethereum Foundation, a Swiss nonprofit, with contributions from great minds across the globe.