Ethereum has come a long way since its inception. Originally called Ether, the platform has evolved into a whole new industry: cryptocurrencies. Today, Ethereum is one of the most popular blockchains, and it’s currently supporting over 1000 different cryptocurrencies, including the popular Bitcoin and Litecoin rivals. It is also one of the most well-known networks, having supported numerous groundbreaking inventions and produced several decentralized applications (DApps). With several prominent figures in the blockchain industry backing it, it’s clear that Ethereum is definitely a network to keep an eye on in 2022.
The Birth Of Ethereum
Ethereum began as an idea in the mind of programmer/entrepreneur Vitalik Buterin. Along with a friend, he wrote a white paper discussing concepts that would form the basis of what would eventually become Ethereum. With the help of a group of software engineers, the team worked on developing a more practical implementation of the concepts discussed in the paper. In 2014, they officially launched Ethereum. Its goal was to create a more accessible and user-friendly alternative to bitcoin.
Ethereum’s design focuses on user privacy, flexibility, and ease of use. Its first major offering was the Ethereum Wallet, a web app users can access via mobile or laptop. All transactions made using the wallet are private and do not require users to leave a trace. Transactions can be made in a matter of seconds, and all account balances are shown in real time. Ethereum’s second offering was the Blockchain, a shared ledger that keeps track of all transactions on the platform. This allows for quick and easy verification of any transaction. Finally, Ethereum’s third and major offering is based on BitTorrent’s (BT) peer-to-peer technology. Much like how users can download a file via the p2p protocol, Ethereum users can set up a peer group with which they can exchange and trade digital assets.
Despite its practicality, the whitepaper that launched Ethereum noted that it is possible to run a full node on the blockchain, complete with all the features described above. This means that anyone can verify transaction details and account balances, using nothing more than the internet connection and computer hardware.
Why Do We Care About The Birth Of Ethereum?
Ethereum continues to grow, as does its community. It’s one of the most established and prominent networks among the crypto-sphere. While the general public may not know much about Ethereum, those in the industry recognize it as a network to keep an eye out for.
Ethereum Classic (ETC)
Launched in the wake of the 2017 crypto-crash, Ethereum Classic (ETC) started out as a fork of Ethereum. This means that it shares the same blockchain and underpinnings with Ethereum, with the exception of some minor protocol changes. Most notably, Ethereum Classic doesn’t use the proof-of-work system that underpins most other cryptocurrencies. Instead, it uses a proof-of-stake system, which is based on how often users set aside their digital assets to contribute to network security and validation.
Since its inception, Ethereum Classic has faced a difficult road. Shortly after its 2017 launch, a hacker or group of hackers launched a ‘ransomware attack‘ on the ETC network, causing major damage. This prompted the network’s core developers to hard fork the mainnet and create a new, uncorrupted blockchain. The result was Ethereum Classic (Recovery Version).
This hard fork made Ethereum Classic more attractive to investors. Since then, it has gained over 100% in value, and it is currently the 19th largest cryptocurrency, as ranked by Market Cap
Bitcoin is without a doubt the most popular cryptocurrency among investors and enthusiasts. Since its inception, over 1000 different cryptocurrencies have sprouted up around it. Some of these alternative coins are bigger and more popular than others, but they all share the same basic design and functionality as Bitcoin. One of the more prominent alternatives is Ethereum’s chief rival, Bitcoin cash (BCH).
Bitcoin cash was forked from Bitcoin directly after the original blockchain reached its maximum capacity. This effectively split the currency into two, causing a massive price dip for the smaller cryptocurrency. To this day, BCH is still trading at a significant discount. Another rival to note is Stellar (XLM), which is currently the 16th largest cryptocurrency. Like Ethereum and Bitcoin, Stellar is a cryptocurrency that is built upon the back of blockchain technology. This makes it fairly easy for users to transfer funds to and from their accounts, as all transactions take place automatically, with no need to submit a transaction request.
Blockchain’s Role In Cryptocurrencies
It’s important to point out that not all cryptocurrencies function like Ethereum and Bitcoin. While most offer a similar functionality and use case, many others were specifically designed for use in supply chain management, online auctions, and voting. Several cryptos even provide specialized tools for developers, making it easy for them to create customized blockchain solutions for various industries.
Many blockchain projects out there are looking to solve real-world problems. In many cases, this requires significant customization to work with legacy systems, integrate with other software, and meet specific regulatory requirements. While some solutions exist, it’s usually not a trivial task to create a blockchain application that is ADA compliant, for example. This is one of the reasons why most blockchain protocols were designed to be as flexible as possible, while still adhering to the technical underpinnings of the technology.
Where Can I Buy Ethereum And Ethereum Classic?
Since Ethereum is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies, there are numerous places you can purchase it. You can use a cryptocurrency wallet to store your funds, or you can navigate to one of the cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Binance or Coinbase. Since most traders and investors in cryptocurrency prefer to stay on the safer side, most exchanges offer safe, insured storage for their customers‘ assets. Institutional investors may use high-quality storage facilities, such as offline wallet storage or cold-storage devices. More and more companies are entering the space as well, developing special solutions for storing large amounts of digital currency. For example, hardware wallets like the Ledger Nano S allow for easy storage of larger amounts of cryptocurrency, without having to write down passwords all the time.
Ethereum’s Development Roadmap
Ethereum is currently working on developing versions 7, 8, and 9 of its MainNet, which is due for release in the second half of 2022. Version 7 will introduce sharding, which will exponentially increase the platform’s transaction capacity. Ethereum is also working on a brand new programming language, called Groovy, that will make developing on the platform much more efficient. Finally, the company is also working on getting all its core wallets and browsers updated to be compatible with the latest version of the platform.
At its core, Ethereum is a technology platform that allows for the creation of blockchain applications. While this might not sound that exciting, the potential for this technology to improve almost every aspect of our lives, from how we store and send information to the ability to securely purchase items online, is immensely exciting. With major industries, such as finance, healthcare, and manufacturing, being disrupted by blockchain technologies and the cryptocurrencies that run on them, it’s clear that this is a technology platform that will continue to evolve and grow in importance.