Ether ($ETH) is the fuel that powers the Ethereum network, which is a custom-built, decentralized blockchain that runs decentralized applications. ETH seeks to have a platform with zero downtime that does not allow censorship or fraud to be committed. Since ETH is decentralized, it removes the possibility of third-party interference. The decentralized applications (dapps) that are created on the platform are also protected from third-party interference (4).

PROS

  • There are already established examples of working Dapps. Example: Cryptokitties
  • Anyone can make an application on the network
  • Other tokens depend on the Ethereum network to operate

CONS

  • No supply cap and a 25% increase of the initial supply every year. This means ETH is inflationary.
  • Proof-of-Work makes the transactions dependent on miners, which can lead to scalability issues.

Deeper Dive

Ethereum’s mission is to empower developers with the tools to create decentralized applications. Those developers then create a more “free and trustworthy internet.” Having a decentralized network allows data and information to run applications, rather than centralized third-parties. In other words, the ETH platform removes the need for middlemen (11).

The Ethereum platform also allows users to create ERC20-based tokens to run on the Ethereum network. The token works as an independent token, but utilizes the Ethereum network. This eliminates the need for every token to have its own blockchain. Instead, it can piggyback on the Ethereum network (12).

The whitepaper lists the three main applications of the platform:

  • Financial applications
    examples: wills or savings wallets
  • Semi-financial applications
    example: self-enforcing bounties for solutions
  • Non-financial applications
    example: voting (6)

The key terms from Ethereum’s stated mission are:

  • Accessibility
  • Freedom
  • Trustworthiness (11)

Due to anticipated scalability problems, Ethereum has plans to eventually change from Proof-of-Work consensus to Proof-of-Stake consensus. The development team is also researching ways to store private information on the blockchain. Currently, all data on the Ethereum network is public (3).

Key terms for the Ethereum roadmap include:

  • Phase 3: Metropolis
    – Will make the Ethereum lighter, faster, and more secure.
  • phase 3.1: Byzantium (Oct. 2017)
    – Byzantium was a hard fork that made improvements to privacy.
  • phase 3.2: Constantinople (Expected in 2018)
    – Constantinople is intended to make Ethereum lighter and faster.
  • Phase 4: Serenety (To be announced)
    – Introduces the Casper protocol, which is the Proof-of-Stake consensus protocol.

Ethereum was released on the 30th of July in 2015, after a successful pre-release earlier in May. Release phase 2.0 launched in March the next year, followed by phase 2.1 later in November (9).

The Ethereum network can be described as a foundation for a market without middlemen, with un-biased, autonomous systems and other applications where imagination is the only limit (4).

Other ongoing projects: https://www.stateofthedapps.com/

Vitalik Buterin is the creator of Ethereum. Buterin wrote the white paper in 2013. He is now the head of the Ethereum’s research team (11).

Information on Vitalik can be found at:
http://www.vitalik.ca/
https://twitter.com/vitalikbuterin
https://github.com/vbuterin/

One of the founders of Ethereum is Jeffrey Wilcke. He has been the head of the Go team since 2013, when the Go client launched on the 30th of July in 2015 (11).

More information on Jeffrey Wilcke can be found at:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreywilcke
https://github.com/obscure

ETH on social media:
https://www.reddit.com/r/ethereum
https://github.com/ethereum
https://www.youtube.com/user/ethereumproject
https://twitter.com/ethereumproject
https://www.facebook.com/ethereumproject

Sources:
(1) http://www.ethdocs.org/en/latest/
(2) https://www.cryptokitties.co/
(3) https://blog.ethereum.org/2015/08/01/introducing-casper-friendly-ghost/
(4) https://www.ethereum.org/
(5) https://www.stateofthedapps.com/
(6) https://github.com/ethereum/wiki/wiki/White-Paper
(8) https://github.com/ethereum/wiki/wiki/White-Paper#applications
(9) https://github.com/ethereum/wiki/wiki/Releases
(10) https://blog.ethereum.org/2015/03/03/ethereum-launch-process/
(11) https://www.ethereum.org/foundation
(12) http://support.exodus.io/article/108-what-is-an-erc20-token

 

If you would like to talk about ETH, or any other cryptocurrencies, join us on our discord! https://discord.gg/Hr3EUH9

Contributed by Carl Utterström.
Find Carl on Discord: @DumdumSillsill#9142