Not your average Crypto!
Ethereum, or Ether, is not just the second-ranked cryptocurrency by market capitalization on CoinMarketCap, (as of 4/22/2018.)
Co-created by a Russian-Canadian writer and programmer named Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum is both a cryptocurrency coin, (Ether,) and a platform, (Ethereum,) for a new kind of software called a DAPP.
What is a DAPP?
DAPP is an acronym for “Decentralized application.” A decentralized application is a software program that generally runs on the Ethereum network, which is peer-to-peer.
This means that any DAPP launched on the network is not run on a single machine, server, entity, or company. The entire network runs the program using the resources of the whole peer-to-peer network. If a traditional program uses the traditional methods of directing their serves to communicate to other traditional servers using programming language, a DAPP uses the entire blockchain to communicate and store information.
How do smart contracts fit in?
If the DAPP were a website, the Smart Contract is what allows the site to connect to the internet, or in this case blockchain. Smart contracts connect the DAPPs to the blockchain often with the ability to set strict guidelines that can be set and are unalterable. Smart contracts enable DAPPs to not only be executable by a predetermined set of parameters, but they also allow for a unique level of almost complete trust due to the fact that the entire blockchain would have to be tampered to change DAPPS settings, functions, or outcomes. A blockchain is an extremely, almost impossible, structure to change, tamper, or alter, due to the fact that the entire peer-to-peer network holds the blockchain’s history and structure throughout the network.
A little Blockchain clarification
Blockchain technology is revolutionary in the way that data is stored, shared, and trusted. Instead of data being collected and stored on a secure server in one place, (like a bank, hospital or business server,) an inherently insecure way, Blockchain technology data is distributed among the entire network. Unchangeable even by its own operators. To change or alter data on a blockchain, a person would have to change hundreds, even thousands of pieces of data on countless computers around the world simultaneously. A nearly impossible feat. This is exactly why blockchain technology is more secure than any stationary data servers.
Why are so many cryptocurrencies run on the Ethereum platform?
The Ethereum blockchain technology is open-source. This means that it is free to copy, change and use for countless different applications in the real world. All someone needs are the desires to apply the benefits that Blockchain technology offers and hire a coder. You can even start to raise funds for the project using the ERC-20 tokens easily created through the Ethereum network. This is why there has been an explosion of ICO’s over the last few years.
Why are there two Ethereum coins?
The DAO or Decentralized autonomous organization was a set of smart contracts built on the Ethereum platform which had raised $150 million as of Summer 2016. At some point, the DAO had been exploited, and $50 million worth of Ether were re-appropriated to an unknown party. Conflicting views in the community sprang up on how to fix the misappropriation, resulting in a Fork, or split into two blockchains. Ethereum, (ETH) started on the newly forked blockchain, while Ethereum Classic, (ETC) continued on the original blockchain. Both blockchains have the same history up until this spit, whereas they each went there separate ways.
Ethereum is known as a second-generation cryptocurrency whereas Bitcoin is the first gen. Ethereum blocks are created in roughly 14 to 15 seconds as opposed to Bitcoins 10 minutes per block.
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