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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
The first stage of Eth2, called Phase 0, is planned to launch in 2020
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.
DevCon 3 Developers Conference was held in Cancun, Mexico.
The planned Byzantium hardfork is successfully released. The upgrade provides support for zk-snarks, account abstraction, and other changes.
EEA is a consortium of companies developing standards for working with Ethereum distributed ledger technology.
Ethereum becomes the second cryptocurrency after bitcoin to be added to the coinbase exchange.
Alex van de Sande
Anthony Di lorio
Evan Van Ness
Accounts, transactions, gas, and block gas limits in Ethereum
Basic terminology for Ethereum — from gas to dapps (distributed apps)
Building Ethereum Dapps : Decentralized applications on the Ethereum blockchain
Ethereum Casper 101
Ethereum Design Rationale
Ethereum Foundation research initiatives — primary topics in both pure and applied research
Ethereum scalability research and development subsidy programs
Ethereum sharding: overview and finality
Ethereum Whitepaper: A Next-Generation Smart Contract and Decentralized Application Platform
Ethereum Yellow Paper: Ethereum: A Secure Decentralised Generalised Transaction Ledger
Exploring Ethereum Dapps
How does Ethereum work, anyway?
Making sense of Ethereum’s Layer 2 scaling solutions: state channels, Plasma, and Truebit
Andreas M. Antonopoulos, Gavin Wood
The history of Casper
Vitalik Buterin, creator of Ethereum — Unchained: big ideas from the worlds of blockchain and cryptocurrency
What is Ethereum? The Most Comprehensive Guide for Beginners
June 27, 2019
Documentaries, videos and podcasts
Decentralizing Everything with Ethereum's Vitalik Buterin | Disrupt SF 2017
Sep 18, 2017
Ethereum DApps in Motion
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
What is Ethereum?
Jun 4, 2014
- Cluster: Blockchain and cryptocurrencyA cluster of topics related to blockchain and cryptocurrency.
- CryptocurrencyA cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency. Cryptocurrencies are a subset of alternative currencies, or specifically of digital currencies.
- BlockchainA blockchain is an append-only digital ledger storing a set of time-ordered transactions grouped in blocks that are linked together using cryptographic hashes.
- CompanyA company, abbreviated 'co.', is a legal entity made up of an association of people, be they natural, legal, or a mixture of both, for carrying on a commercial or industrial enterprise.
- BitcoinBitcoin is a cryptocurrency and a digital payment system invented by an unknown programmer, or a group of programmers, under the name Satoshi Nakamoto. It was released as open-source software in 2009.
- UrbitUrbit is a stack that allows for a decentralized filesystem address space created by startup Tlon.
- Basic Attention TokenBasic Attention Token (BAT) claims to improve the efficiency of digital advertising by creating a new unit of exchange between publishers, advertisers and users.
- Initial Coin Offering (ICO)An initial coin offering (ICO) is a means of crowdfunding the release of a new cryptocurrency.
- CoinbaseCoinbase is a digital asset exchange company headquartered in San Francisco, California. It operates exchanges of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin.
- Show More