Ethereum: A Next-Generation Decentralized Computing Engine

Image of an ETH token.
Ethereum: A Next-Generation Decentralized Computing Engine — VegaX Holdings

Ethereum: Ranked second (after Bitcoin) in terms of overall market capitalization, it is the undisputed leader of the altcoins (a term used to describe the thousands of coins and tokens developed following the initial success of Bitcoin).

Launched in July 2015 by a small group of blockchain enthusiasts, Ethereum has become one of the most innovative financial platforms in existence in a relatively short time. So how much do you really know about this blockchain project, its founders, and why it is so highly regarded within the industry? Let’s take a closer look.

Who Founded Ethereum And Which Founders Are Still Working There?

Of the original eight founders of Ethereum, only Vitalik Buterin still has an active role working on the project. Charles Hoskinson founded Cardano, generally considered to be an Ethereum rival. Gavin Wood created Polkadot, another Ethereum rival. Anthony Di Iorrio went on to found Decentral and Jaxx and announced his intention to quit the crypto industry in July 2021 citing safety concerns.

Amir Chetrit and Jeffrey Wilcke left to pursue other interests. Mihai Alisie left to turn his attention to Akasha, a social framework for Ethereum. Finally, Joseph Lubin launched Consensys, an incubator for blockchain startups and a developer of full-stack Ethereum product which has also helped recruit new Ethereum partners.

It should be noted that, although only one of the founders still directly works for Ethereum, a couple of the others have developed blockchain companies that contribute to the overall Ethereum ecosystem and have actively helped contribute to making Ethereum what it is today.

What Exactly Is Ethereum?

Ethereum is a blockchain based platform that is used to support the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, Ether. Although this is the primary reason that the Ethereum platform was built, the long term vision of the project is for Ethereum to give users more control over their finances and online data.

Although it wasn’t launched until July 2015, the concept for Ethereum was first proposed by Vitalik Buterin in 2013 when he was just 19 years old. The goal for the project is to ultimately change how apps work by replacing the centralized intermediaries that currently exist on the internet with smart contracts that automatically institute rules.

Daaps And Smart Contracts

One of the major differences between Ethereum and Bitcoin is that Ethereum allows other blockchain projects to build on top of the Ethereum blockchain. In this process, decentralized applications, commonly referred to as daaps, are run on the Ethereum blockchain rather than on their own blockchain. A daap is technically just an app built on a decentralized network (like Ethereum) that combines a smart contract with a frontend user interface.

Smart contracts are programs that run on the Ethereum blockchain and are made up of code and data that live at a specific address on the Ethereum blockchain. Smart contracts also allow the regulations set in place that determine the outcome of transactions on the network to take place automatically via code, without the need for a third party to oversee the transactions.

Projects Built On The Ethereum Blockchain

Ethereum is at the forefront of the decentralized finance (DeFi) movement, considering that many of the most prominent DeFi projects are on the Ethereum blockchain. There are also many cryptocurrency projects on the Ethereum blockchain that are not necessarily associated with DeFi. Some of the top projects that run on the Ethereum blockchain are:

What Makes Ethereum Different From Bitcoin?

By developing such a strong network of companies all connected to the Ethereum ecosystem, Ethereum itself becomes a more influential platform. Most of these companies are strong brands themselves, so having them connected to Ethereum strengthens the Ethereum brand as well.

These companies have built applications (daaps) that run on the Ethereum blockchain in the same way that software runs on a computer. Each of these applications has the ability to store and transfer personal data and complete financial transactions. This is one of the main ways that Ethereum differs from Bitcoin. As Ken Fromm, Director of Education and Development at the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance stated,

“Ethereum is different from Bitcoin in that the Ethereum network can perform computations as part of the mining process. This basic computational capability turns a store of value and medium of exchange into a decentralized global computing engine and openly verifiable data store.”

In this way, Ethereum goes beyond Bitcoin’s primary use cases as a store of value and medium of exchange with the development of a decentralized computer with different “software programs” running on top of it. So you could say that the Ethereum Network represents the evolution of blockchain technology, taking Bitcoin’s original concept and expanding on it greatly, to the benefit of technological innovation.

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