Date Launched: July 30, 2014
Amount Raised from ICO: $18.4M
Mineable: PoW, PoS
Founders: Vitalik Buterin, Anthony Di Iorio, Gavin Wood, Joseph Lubin, Jeffrey Wilcke, Mihai Alisie, Amir Chetrit, Charles Hoskinson
Fork: Ethereum Classic
Ethereum is an open software platform based on blockchain technology. Users of the Ethereum platform can build and deploy decentralized applications without building their own blockchain. Through the use of smart contracts, developers can launch their own tokens on Ethereum.
Ethereum uses a decentralized public blockchain similar to Bitcoin. While Ethereum started off with a Proof-of-Work mining algorithm, it is slowly implementing Proof-of-Stake. Vitalik Buterin, along with the rest of the founding team, started the project in 2014. Vitalik is considered the face of Ethereum and often advises projects operating on top of the Ethereum network.
Users of the Ethereum network can create and use smart contracts, which are open-source tools on the Ethereum blockchain. These smart contracts have set rules to abide by and all rules must be visible to the public.
Many supporters of Ethereum believe smart contracts can replace middlemen in traditional industries. Smart contracts have the ability to complete tasks such as matching buyers and sellers, securing insurance payments and executing salary payments to employees.
Ether is the currency used to process all operations on the Ethereum network. All transactions on Ethereum has a fee measured in Gas. The Gas of a transaction measures the amount of Ether that must be used as a fee. The price of Gas can change depending on the demand and volume of transactions.
Many blockchain startups realized that using the Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) was a great way to raise money. Startups could create a token and sell them for some Ether to fund their projects. This token would represent a certain function of the startup. For example, the Golem token can be used to pay for computing power and Filecoin token can be used to pay for decentralized storage.
As the project develops and demand for the token increases, the token become more valuable. Early investors are rewarded for their initial investment when they sell that token for a profit. Ethereum itself raised an ICO, raising over $18 million, selling each Ether at a price of $0.30.
The Ethereum community is the largest and most active blockchain community in the world. It includes core protocol developers, cryptoeconomic researchers, cypherpunks, mining organizations, ETH holders, app developers, ordinary users, anarchists, fortune 500 companies, and, as of now, you.
There is no company or centralized organization that controls Ethereum. Ethereum is maintained and improved over time by a diverse global community of contributors who work on everything from the core protocol to consumer applications. This website, just like the rest of Ethereum, was built – and continues to be built – by a collection of people working together.