Ethereum the foundation for a new era of the internet An internet where money and payments are built-in.
An internet where users can own their data and your apps don’t spy and steal from you.
An internet where everyone has access to an open financial system.
An internet built on neutral, open-access infrastructure, controlled by no company or person.
Launched in 2015, Ethereum is the world’s leading programmable blockchain.
The supply of ETH isn’t controlled by any government or company – it is decentralized, and it is scarce.
People all over the world use ETH to make payments, as a store of value, or as collateral.
But unlike other blockchains, Ethereum can do much more.
Ethereum is programmable, which means that developers can use it to build new kinds of applications.
These decentralized applications (or apps) gain the benefits of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
They can be trustworthy, meaning that once they are uploaded to Ethereum, they will always run as programmed.
They can control digital assets in order to create new kinds of financial applications.
They can be decentralized, meaning that no single entity or person controls them.
Right now, thousands of developers all over the world are building applications on Ethereum, and inventing new kinds of applications, many of which you can use today.
Cryptocurrency wallets that let you make cheap, instant payments with ETH or other assets
Financial applications that let you borrow, lend, or invest your digital assets
Decentralized markets, that let you trade digital assets or even trade predictions about events in the real world
Games where you own in-game assets, and can even make real money
And much more.
The Ethereum community is the largest and most active blockchain community in the world.
It includes core protocol developers, crypto-economic researchers cypherpunks mining organizations ETH holders app developers ordinary users anarchists, fortune 500 companies and as of now you.
Its key innovation is that you can run smart contracts on a blockchain: programs that are triggered to run automatically in a given circumstance.
Transactions and smart contract programs (which they call “apps,” short for “distributed applications”) require gas (a certain amount of the currency token, ether, abbreviated ETH), which is paid to the miner whose computer runs the transaction or smart contract.
This also keeps smart contracts from running forever.
Ethereum-chart has its own home-brewed Proof of Work hash which is designed to be ASIC-resistant, to avoid mining centralization – it requires a few gigabytes of fast memory on hand, so mining is presently GPU-based.
There are loose plans to move to Proof of Stake.
(For a while during the second crypto bubble, you could actually make money mining ether on last year’s video card, which led to
a small gold rush in the video cards themselves, and an ensuing glut of burnt-out cars on the second-hand market.)
Ethereum’s charts pitch has always been ridiculously aspirational.
It’s a “smart contracts platform,” it’s a “worldwide distributed computer,” at one point Wikipedia called it “Web 3.0,” at another a “publishing platform.”
Anything other than a cryptocurrency.
To this day, drive-by editors occasionally swing by the Ethereum chart article in Wikipedia to remove the word “cryptocurrency.”
Of course, the cryptocurrency is overwhelmingly the main use, and that the cryptocurrency will go to the moon is the main hope.
How do blocks make it across the network at that time?
Well, often they don’t (though blocks only being a few kilobytes helps).
A miner can store up to two failed blocks in their block as “uncles,” and the miners of the blocks that became uncles get some reward too; Ethereum chart picks the highest-scoring chain, and uncles give a block a higher score.
This avoids penalizing miners who are further away from the rest of the network, reducing economic pressure to centralize.
The unconfirmed transactions in the uncle will usually stay around until they finally make it into a block.
The existence of a single canonical blockchain is frequently questionable, but somehow it all muddles forth.
As in mid-2017, it’s running about 2-3 TPS, having rapidly risen over 2017 popular apps already fill the blocks and clog the system for hours at a time, such as the Bancor and Status ICOs.
The Ethereum-chart community seems to have faith in the Ethereum chart Foundation, so a fix is more likely to be accepted without a Bitcoin-chart style community civil war, and backward-compatibility-breaking changes in Ethereum chart are a regular occurrence and are mostly managed without controversy.
The developers have always stated that Ethereum charts are explicitly experimental and unfinished (and never
mind the hundreds of millions of dollars in ether swilling around in it), and that the promised fancy functionality will need years of work.
They occasionally boggle at people treating it as much more of a finished product than they do.
Ethereum Chart advocates talk up corporate adoption by Microsoft and other companies – it’s a popular choice of platform for business blockchain trials, and its smart contract functionality is reused by a lot of other blockchain software – but this is adoption of the software to run separate in-house blockchains, not adoption of the public Ethereum Chart and currency.