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About Ethereum (ETH)

Ethereum is a blockchain that enables anyone to create decentralized applications (dApps) and run smart contracts. Its native cryptocurrency Ether (ETH) functions as fuel of the platform. 

Ethereum developers have designed the Ethereum blockchain to be flexible and programmable, allowing a wide range of decentralized applications and smart contracts. This means that individuals and organizations can leverage the Ethereum blockchain to build trustless systems without the need for intermediaries.

For example, users can participate in the Ethereum network through an Ethereum node–essentially a program that allows people to interact with the Ethereum blockchain, enabling them to run their own nodes, validate transactions, and even develop their own decentralized applications.

One advantage of using the Ethereum blockchain is that smart contracts can be executed automatically when certain conditions are met, reducing the need for manual intervention. As a result, the Ethereum blockchain is becoming an increasingly popular platform for building decentralized applications.

These decentralized applications have use cases that include finance, cloud computing, messaging and distributed governance, but the primary function of Ethereum is for smart contracts.

For example, Ethereum can be used to deploy smart contracts to pay monthly rent or wages. In this scenario, the conditions would be set so that a recurring amount would be transferred from one party to another when a certain date is reached.

Ethereum price history 

The Ethereum network was launched in July 2015 and its native cryptocurrency, Ether (ETH), started trading on exchanges soon after.

In its first year, 2015-16, the Ethereum price was relatively stable, fluctuating between $0.30 and $2.00.

Ethereum started to gain momentum in early 2016, and by June 2017 the ETH price reached a high of $420. This rise was attributed to increased adoption of Ethereum's technology by businesses and individuals, as well as the growing popularity of initial coin offerings (ICOs) on the Ethereum network.

In mid-2017, the Ethereum price experienced a sharp increase, peaking at over $1,400 in December. This was due to a combination of factors, including the ICO boom, increased mainstream media attention, and growing institutional interest in cryptocurrencies.

However, after its December highs, the price of ETH spent the rest of the year in a downturn, reaching a low of just above $85 in mid-December. It rebounded somewhat during 2019, surpassing $300 in June, before spending the remaining part of the year largely in the range of $100-200.

The price of Ethereum rose in early 2020, reaching a high of over $4,300 in May. This can partly be attributed to the rising adoption of decentralized finance (DeFi), growing institutional interest in cryptocurrencies, and the launch of Ethereum 2.0.

On November 16, 2021, Ethereum reached its all time high at $4,891.70 per token. After this, though, ETH struggled to maintain momentum in 2022 and 2023, largely remaining between $1,100 and $2,100 per token. 

In early 2024, however, the Ethereum price has rebounded somewhat, along with the rest of the cryptocurrency market.

You can see the live Ethereum price at the top of this page.

Who started Ethereum (ETH)?

Ethereum was created by Russian-Canadian programmer Vitalik Buterin. Buterin was introduced to Bitcoin in 2011 and soon became fascinated with the potential of blockchain technology. In 2013, Buterin proposed the idea for Ethereum, a blockchain platform that would allow for the creation of decentralized applications and smart contracts. Buterin's vision for Ethereum was to create a more versatile and programmable blockchain that could support a wide range of use cases beyond digital currency.

In 2014, a group of co-founders including Vitalik Buterin, Anthony Di Iorio, and Charles Hoskinson launched the Ethereum Foundation, a non-profit that supports the development and advancement of the Ethereum ecosystem

How does Ethereum work? 

Ethereum is a blockchain platform that securely executes smart contracts, which are blockchain programs that run when certain conditions are met. Smart contracts allow participants to transact without a central entity.

Ethereum runs on Ether (ETH), which is the native token used as fuel (or gas) for the Ethereum blockchain. Unlike Bitcoin, which has a limited supply, Ethereum does not have a supply cap, meaning a potentially unlimited supply can be mined.

Ether and Ethereum gas fees 

Gas fees are the fees users pay on Ethereum to conduct transactions such as swapping or executing smart contracts. They’re necessary to pay miners and secure the network. 

Users can only pay gas fees in Ethereum’s native token, ETH. The nodes in the Ethereum network earn a fraction of this fee for the computing power they expend to validate and confirm transactions. The remainder of the fee is burned.

Smart contracts

Smart contracts are blockchain programs that run when certain conditions are met. They allow participants to transact without a central entity.

While Bitcoin was the first bona fide blockchain, Ethereum’s blockchain was the first that could run smart contracts. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin says the idea behind Ethereum was to create “a platform that can be used for many more kinds of applications.”

One of the best metaphors for a smart contract is a vending machine. As computer scientist Nick Szabo explains: “The vending machine is a contract with bearer: anybody with coins can participate in an exchange with the vendor. The lockbox and other security mechanisms protect the stored coins and contents from attackers, sufficiently to allow profitable deployment of vending machines in a wide variety of areas.”

If a vending machine is working correctly, then when money is inserted into the machine (a specific input), then a contract for sale will be automatically executed. This is essentially how a smart contract works. 

Ethereum token standards 

Ethereum token standards are guidelines that developers use when they create new digital assets on the Ethereum blockchain. The standards essentially ensure that the tokens created are compatible with the blockchain and can be stored and transacted without any issue.

Here is a list of the most common Ethereum token standards and what sets them apart: 

ERC-20: The most common Ethereum token standard, ERC-20 defines the standards for “fungible” tokens. Fungible tokens are cryptocurrencies like BTC and ETH, whereas non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are unique digital assets stored on the blockchain.

ERC-721: The standard for non-fungible tokens (NFTs)

ERC-1155: The standard for multi-token contracts. ERC-1155 tokens allow the creation of both fungible and non-fungible tokens in a single smart contract.

Ethereum 2.0 

Ethereum 2.0 (ETH2 or ETH 2.0) is the name sometimes used to describe the new Ethereum blockchain following changes made during the Ethereum “Merge”. The Ethereum Merge was a milestone in crypto history that took place on September 15 2022, when Ethereum transitioned from a Proof of Work consensus mechanism to the more energy-efficient Proof of Stake.

Ethereum's Beacon Chain is a Proof of Stake blockchain that was launched as part of the upgrade. The Beacon Chain is a parallel chain that works in conjunction with the existing Ethereum PoW (Proof of Work) blockchain to facilitate the transition from PoW to PoS. 

As an official name, “Ethereum 2.0” was dispensed with partly to prevent confusion among users who may have mistakenly thought that post-Merge Ethereum would get a new “ETH2” ticker. It hasn't. Another reason ETH 2.0 was not made an official name was to prevent users from getting duped into swapping their ETH into fake ETH2 tokens from scammers.

The transition away from Proof of Work will do a lot to mitigate the cryptocurrency energy problem by massively reducing the environmental impact of the Ethereum network. In fact, some estimates show that Ethereum has reduced it's carbon footprint by up to 99.99% post-Merge.

What are Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs)? 

An Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) is a formal document that proposes changes or additions to the Ethereum protocol. EIPs can be submitted by anyone in the Ethereum community, including Ethereum developers, researchers, and users, and are typically reviewed and discussed by other members of the community before being accepted or rejected. Ethereum Improvement Proposals can propose changes to various aspects of the Ethereum protocol, such as transaction formats, consensus rules, gas fees, and Ethereum smart contracts.

What is the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)?

The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) is a sandboxed software environment that runs on the Ethereum blockchain. This means that the code executed within it cannot interact with the outside world, except through predefined interfaces. This isolation provides a secure and reliable environment for executing smart contracts, ensuring that they behave predictably and without interference from malicious actors.

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