The First Decentralized Blockchain Applications
“Consensus-based globally executed virtual machine” – Vitalik Buterin (creator)
Information + Resources
Ethereum, by former Bitcoin programmer Vitalik Buterin, is a decentralized network – utilizing a Proof-of-Work system – that allows any applications written in its language to be executed over a secure global blockchain server rather than on hardware – opening so many possibilities, especially in places of poverty. This is done via “smart contracts” with Ether ETH (the token) used as “gas.” Ethereum went live in 2015 and allows for every kind of blockchain application. It is supported by many major development partners.
Many interesting apps are in development on Ethereum, including Weifund, a decentralized crowdfunding program, Augur, a prediction machine with its own rapidly-growing token (REP), BlockApps, a project attempting to streamline blockchain applications, and ZCash, a highly valued cryptocurrency project. There are many other cool projects out there for the platform called ERC20 tokens, like Golem, TransActive Grid, Bancor Protocol, and Basic Attention Token (by the Mozilla founder plus the Java creator). This may very well be what future internet use looks like, as well as how we get the necessary processing power for problems like Artificial Intelligence or an automated resource-based economy.
Here’s a great semi-technical overview by Siraj Raval that highlights the differences between Ethereum and Bitcoin:
It’s worth understanding Ethereum Classic (ETC) as well. Ethereum Classic was Ethereum before a “hard fork” last year. The hard fork (network code change that follows a new block chain) had to do with a major hack in the network causing currency to be stolen, with most of it recovered after the server was split. Ethereum Classic has a very interesting team behind it, and is meant to represent the anti-establishment side (as in no business conglomerates are associated). Time will tell if they manage to establish themselves as an alternative.
Singapore’s Dollar was recently tokenized using Ethereum’s blockchain. Wow! Russia, China, and England may be next. I expect Ethereum to be a major infrastructure in the world if their plan keeps working and so many companies and interest groups keep adopting it. Even Vladimir Putin met with creator Vitalik Buterin, endorsing the project.
In October 2017, Ethereum’s latest update/fork, called Byzantium, occurred as part of the Metropolis update, bringing new security and to the blockchain partly based on ZCash’s work, in the aim of improving the overall reliability and functionality of a tech still in its very early days. The next fork after that will be called Constantinople.
Future: So very bright
// Written May 28, ’17. Price at the time: $170 / ETH
// Edited June 15, ’17. Price at the time: $330 / ETH
// Edited June 19, ’17. Price at the time: $370 / ETH
// Edited June 22, ’17. Price at the time: $336 / ETH
// Edited June 26, ’17. Price at the time: $265 / ETH
// Edited Sept 26, ’17. Price at the time: $288 / ETH
// Edited Oct 20, ’17. Price at the time: $300 / ETH