In the Blockchain world, currently there are thousands of players, each competing to reap the success that Bitcoin has achieved.
Among these players, my favourite by far is Ethereum.
Ethereum uses the Blockchain as an infrastructure on top of which it creates smart contracts: Software programs which run on a computer which can’t be turned off, which can’t be censored, which can’t be interfered with, and which can’t be tampered with. This planetary computer enables anyone to write programs which will be able to send or receive money in the form of the Ethereum cryptocurrency.
Historically, applications are centralised, each application can only run on one computer. If this computer becomes compromised or turned off by an attacker, many users and other programs are affected. Ethereum, similar to Bitcoin, uses miners and has a cryptocurrency. What ethereum does differently is that the miners, the nodes in the peer-to-peer network not only build blocks listing transactions, can also run programs received and modify the state of the Ethereum computer.
Ethereum allows anyone to:
- Send or receive payments in their ETH cryptocurrency. Currently 1 ETH is worth 68.75 EUR
- Easily create their own cryptocurrency (I created Jamoncoin last July. Currently 1 JMC is worth 0 EUR )
- Create a distributed autonomous organisation (DAO). A DAO can store cryptocurrency and permit transfers in and out of the DAO through a voting governance.
- Use the public Ethereum blockchain, or easily install a private blockchain. (JPMorgan and Santander have left R3 and joined the “Enterprise Ethereum”)
- Build any distributed application you may dream of, here are 5 examples of cool things happening with Ethereum:
- Slock.it allows a physical lock to be unlocked via payment to a smart contract.
- The United Nations have launched a test to distribute aid in Jordan
- Augur or gnosis allow crowdsourcing prediction markets
- Arcade city: Uber meets Tinder to revolutionise ride sharing
- DGX allows you to own gold without the hassle of having to store it
Ethereum is open source, so if you have an idle weekend ahead of you, visit their webpage, and start learning Solidity, the Ethereum programming language 🙂