Ethereum is not just another type of cryptocurrency. It is an open software platform based on blockchain technology that runs smart contracts. There is a currency that is used inside this system. It is called Ether.
History of Ethereum starts in 2013, when 19-year old Vitalik Buterin proposed a platform that could leverage blockchain to store and execute computer programs across an international network of distributed codes. In 2014 Ethereum underwent crowdsale where more than $14 million was raised. In 2015 the first experimental release was launched. In 2016 the first major Ethereum upgrade was released.
Ethereum allows users to make Smart Contracts. By Smart Contract we actually mean computer code that can facilitate the exchange of anything of value. It is sort of a self-operating program that automatically executes when certain conditions are met. The important point is that Ethereum allows to create any kind of operations. So two parties make a contract. They are anonymous, but the contract itself is a public ledger. Then the triggering event is hit and the contract executes itself.
Ether is different from the most type of cryptocurrencies. We can describe it as a fuel to the Ethereum network. It allows smart contracts to run. In other words it validates blocks on Ethereum blockchain, which contains the smart contract code. Users interacting with applications on this platform are supposed to pay on Ethers.
However, because of the peculiarities of Ethereum, it has a number of disadvantages.
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