Updated: Jan 13
Ethereum is an open source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform and operating system featuring smart contract (scripting) functionality. It supports a modified version of Nakamoto consensus via transaction-based state transitions.
Ethereum provides a decentralized virtual machine, the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which can execute scripts using an international network of public nodes. The virtual machine's instruction set, in contrast to others like Bitcoin Script, is Turing-complete. "Gas", an internal transaction pricing mechanism, is used to mitigate spam and allocate resources on the network.
Ethereum was proposed in late 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, a cryptocurrency researcher and programmer. Development was funded by an online crowdsale that took place between July and August 2014. The system then went live on 30 July 2015, with 72 million coins "premined". This accounts for about 68 percent of the total circulating supply in 2019
Ethereum is the foundation for a new era of the internet:
An internet where money and payments are built in.
An internet where users can own their data, and your apps don’t spy and steal from you.
An internet where everyone has access to an open financial system.
An internet built on neutral, open-access infrastructure, controlled by no company or person.
Launched in 2015, Ethereum is the world’s leading programmable blockchain.
Like other blockchains, Ethereum has a native cryptocurrency called Ether (ETH). ETH is digital money. If you’ve heard of Bitcoin, ETH has many of the same features. It is purely digital, and can be sent to anyone anywhere in the world instantly. The supply of ETH isn’t controlled by any government or company - it is decentralized, and it is scarce. People all over the world use ETH to make payments, as a store of value, or as collateral.
But unlike other blockchains, Ethereum can do much more. Ethereum is programmable, which means that developers can use it to build new kinds of applications.
These decentralized applications (or “dapps”) gain the benefits of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. They can be trustworthy, meaning that once they are “uploaded” to Ethereum, they will always run as programmed. They can control digital assets in order to create new kinds of financial applications. They can be decentralized, meaning that no single entity or person controls them.
Right now, thousands of developers all over the world are building applications on Ethereum, and inventing new kinds of applications, many of which you can use today:
Cryptocurrency wallets that let you make cheap, instant payments with ETH or other assets
Financial applications that let you borrow, lend, or invest your digital assets
Decentralized markets, that let you trade digital assets, or even trade “predictions” about events in the real world
Games where you own in-game assets, and can even make real money
The Ethereum community is the largest and most active blockchain community in the world. It includes core protocol developers, cryptoeconomic researchers, cypherpunks, mining organizations, ETH holders, app developers, ordinary users, anarchists, fortune 500 companies, and, as of now, you.
There is no company or centralized organization that controls Ethereum. Ethereum is maintained and improved over time by a diverse global community of contributors who work on everything from the core protocol to consumer applications. This website, just like the rest of Ethereum, was built - and continues to be built - by a collection of people working together.