Ethereum is a decentralized blockchain platform that allows for the development of smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps). It was proposed by Vitalik Buterin in 2013 and launched in 2015. Unlike Bitcoin, which primarily serves as a digital currency, Ethereum expands its capabilities to support programmable transactions and dApps.
One of the notable features of Ethereum is its ability to execute smart contracts. These are self-executing contracts with predefined rules and conditions. By eliminating the need for intermediaries, smart contracts have found applications in various industries such as finance, supply chain management, and real estate.
Ether (ETH) serves as the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network. It acts as the fuel for the platform, compensating participants who perform computational tasks or validate transactions. Additionally, Ether is used for deploying and running smart contracts. Ethereum's transition from a Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism to Proof of Stake (PoS) is underway, aiming to improve energy efficiency and scalability.
Ethereum has a thriving and dynamic development community, with numerous projects and dApps built on its platform. Its flexibility, programmability, and the ability to create new tokens through Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and Initial Exchange Offerings (IEOs) have contributed to its widespread adoption. Overall, Ethereum has emerged as a leading blockchain platform, enabling the creation and execution of smart contracts and dApps with diverse real-world applications.