Ethereum is an open-source, public, distributed blockchain computing platform featuring smart contract (scripting) functionality, which facilitates online contractual agreements.

Ethereum provides a decentralized Turing-complete virtual machine, the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which can execute scripts using an international network of public nodes. Ethereum also provides a cryptocurrency token called "Ether", which can be transferred between accounts and used to compensate participant nodes for computations performed. Gas (Ethereum), an internal transaction pricing mechanism, is used to prevent spam and allocate resources on the network.

The Ethereum network runs on a blockchain which is secured by miners. These miners run a Proof-of-work system consensus algorithm called Ethash. There are future plans to move to a Proof-of-stake consensus algorithm.



Vitalik Buterin proposed the ethereum protocol in his 2013 whitepaper with the goal of creating a general purpose blockchain platform to support decentralized applications and smart contracts. Buterin had previously contributed within the Bitcoin developer community and found limitations to the Bitcoin scripting language including lack of Turing-completeness, value-blindness, lack of state, and blockchain-blindness. Ethereum was formally announced at the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami, Florida.

In early 2014 additional developers joined Buterin, including Gavin Wood and Jeffrey Wilcke listed as Lead C++ Developer and Lead Go Developer respectively as well as Anthony Di Iorio, Mihai Alisie, Joseph Lubin, and Stephen Tual in primarily non-development roles. The Ethereum Foundation (Stiftung Ethereum) was founded in July 2014 in Switzerland.

By April 2014, Gavin Wood published the Ethereum Yellow Paper describing the formal definition and technical specifications of the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).


Ethereum was funded by an initial coin offering (ICO) launched in July 2014. According to the Ethereum foundation, within the first two weeks more than 50 million ETH were sold. In total, the 42-day public ether pre-sale raised 31,591 bitcoins worth approximately $18 million dollars at the time.


Prior to the official launch of Ethereum, a series of proof of concept versions of were released culminating in the beta release named Olympic on May 9th, 2015. The purpose of Olympic was to engage the community to stress test the network, build decentralized applications, and start running nodes. Total rewards of 25,000 ethers were distributed to community members for contributions in the four categories of transaction activity, virtual machine usage, mining prowess, and general punishment.

Frontier release

The initial public launch named Frontier was released on July 30, 2015. This release provided instructions for generating the first block in the ethereum blockchain known as the genesis block, which was created with a unique parameter from the hash of the ethereum testnet block #1028201 and contained all transactions from the ethereum crowdsale.

Homestead release

The second major release of ethereum named Homestead went live on March 14th, 2016 on block 1,150,000. Homestead included protocol changes providing changes to the network giving increased ability for further upgrades, improved transaction speed, and improved security.

Metropolis (Byzantium)

The Metropolis release will be split into two parts - the first of which called Byzantium was released on block 4,370,000 on October 16, 2017. The Byzantium release introduced privacy features zk-snarks and zero-knowledge proofs to the ethereum blockchain, a feature added due to collaboration with the developers of Zcash including Zooko Wilcox. Additionally, the Metropolis release will include account abstraction, returndata, and revert capabilities. The release date for second part of metropolis named Constantinople has not yet been determined.

Ethereum 2.0 (Eth2)

The last planned release of Ethereum originally named Serenity plans to include features to transition ethereum from a proof-of-work consensus protocol to the a proof-of-stake based on the Casper protocol being developed by Vitalik Buterin, Vlad Zamfir, and others. Ethereum 2.0 is planned to come in four phases that incrementally adds features such as the Beacon Chain (Phase 0), Shard Chains (Phase 1), Sharded Mainnet (Phase 1.5), and Fully Formed Shards (Phase 2).



Ethereum 2.0 Phase 0

The first stage of Eth2, called Phase 0, is planned to launch in 2020

April 4, 2018

Bitmain develops Ethash ASIC

The mining firm Bitmain starts selling the Antminer E3, an ASIC capable of mining Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies using the hashing algorithm ethash. The revelation inspires an EIP within the Ethereum developer community to open discussion on "bricking" these ASICs by changing the hash function to stop these specific ASIC units from working on Ethereum.

November 1, 2017

DevCon 3 takes place in Cancun

DevCon 3 Developers Conference was held in Cancun, Mexico.

October 16, 2017

Metropolis (Byzantium) hardfork upgrade

The planned Byzantium hardfork is successfully released. The upgrade provides support for zk-snarks, account abstraction, and other changes.

May 18, 2017

AVATrade adds Ethereum trading

March 1, 2017

Enterprise Ethereum Alliance launches

EEA is a consortium of companies developing standards for working with Ethereum distributed ledger technology.

February 23, 2017

eToro adds Ethereum trading

July 28, 2016

Ethereum Foundation community disassociate themselves from ETC

July 21, 2016

Coinbase adds Ethereum trading

Ethereum becomes the second cryptocurrency after bitcoin to be added to the coinbase exchange.

July 2, 2016

Ethereum splits into two groups: Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC)

The decision to perform a hardfork of the network is made via a CarbonVote whereby 97% of the network supported the hardfork and returning of funds lost in the DAO. Ethereum argued for decentralized decision making and conflict resolution using an extra protocol. Ethereum Classic argued for 'code is law' and blockchain immutability.

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Alex van de Sande

Anthony Di lorio

Bob Summerwill

Charles Hoskinson

Christian Reitwiessner

Evan Van Ness

Fabian Vogelsteller

Gavin Wood

Hudson Jameson

Jeffrey Wilcke

Joseph Lubin

Mihai Alisie

Ming Chan

Nick Johnson

Péter Szilágyi

Stephan Tual

Taylor Gerring

Vinay Gupta

Vitalik Buterin

Vlad Zamfir

Further reading


Accounts, transactions, gas, and block gas limits in Ethereum

Hudson Jameson

Basic terminology for Ethereum — from gas to dapps (distributed apps)

Matt Condon

Building Ethereum Dapps : Decentralized applications on the Ethereum blockchain

Roberto Infante

Ethereum Design Rationale

Vitalik Buterin

Ethereum Foundation research initiatives — primary topics in both pure and applied research

Ethereum Foundation

Ethereum scalability research and development subsidy programs

Vitalik Buterin

Ethereum sharding: overview and finality

Hsiao-Wei Wang

Ethereum Whitepaper: A Next-Generation Smart Contract and Decentralized Application Platform

Vitalik Buterin

Ethereum Yellow Paper: Ethereum: A Secure Decentralised Generalised Transaction Ledger

Gavin Wood

Exploring Ethereum Dapps

Roberto Infante

Making sense of Ethereum’s Layer 2 scaling solutions: state channels, Plasma, and Truebit

Josh Stark

Mastering Ethereum

Andreas M. Antonopoulos, Gavin Wood

Vitalik Buterin, creator of Ethereum — Unchained: big ideas from the worlds of blockchain and cryptocurrency

Laura Shin

What is Ethereum? The Most Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

Akash Takyar


June 27, 2019

Documentaries, videos and podcasts


Decentralizing Everything with Ethereum's Vitalik Buterin | Disrupt SF 2017

Sep 18, 2017

Ethereum in 25 minutes

Oct 10, 2016

Ethereum Vs. Bitcoin: What Sets Them Apart? | CNBC

Jun 23, 2017

Ethereum: The World Computer

Jul 30, 2015

Vitalik Buterin explains Ethereum

Jul 29, 2014




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