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Ethereum Logo
Original author(s)Vitalik Buterin, Gavin Wood
Developer(s)Ethereum Foundation
Initial releaseJuly 30, 2015; 6 years ago (2015-07-30)
Stable releaseMuir Glacier / January 1, 2020; 1 year ago (2020-01-01)
Development statusActive
Software usedEVM 1 Bytecode
Written inGo, Rust, C#, C++, Java, Python
Operating systemCross-platform
Platformx86-64, ARM
Size300 GB (2020-03)
TypeDistributed Computing
LicenseFree software licenses
Total users91,994,515 (2020-03)
Active hosts7,546 (2020-03)

Ethereum is a decentralized smart blockchain with smart contract and computer processing capabilities. The Ether (ETH) cryptocurrency rewarded to Ethereum blockchain miners is the second most valuable cryptocurrency by market capitalization as of 2020.


Ethereum provides a decentralized virtual machine, called the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), that provides a turing-complete instruction set. Using the virtual machine requires "gas" payments in Ether (ETH) crypto-currency. The "gas" price is set by a internal transaction pricing mechanism.


ETH addresses consist of the prefix 0x followed by the rightmost 20 bytes of the Keccak-256 hash of the address owners ECDSA public key.

Differences from Bitcoin

The Ethereum is completely different from Bitcoin and Bitcoin-forks like Litecoin.

  • Ethereum has a block-time of only 13 seconds, making it very fast compared to Bitcoin's 10 minute block-time.
  • Ethereum mining generates new ETH currency at a mostly constant and consistent rate. There is no block halving (Bitcoin mining rewards halve every 4 years).
  • Ethereum uses a proof of work algorithm called Ethash. It is in theory ASIC-resistant.
  • Transaction feeds (The "gas" price) depend on storage needs, computational complexity and bandwidth use. Bitcoin transactions are only dependent on the transaction size in bytes.

Ethereum Network Tokens

It is possible to create Ethereum "tokens" for currencies, stocks and other things on the Ethereum blockchain.

Currency tokens on the Ethereum blockchain have been practically useless for day to day transactions due to high network fees since September 2020.

While there are some who still argue that Ethereum is still somehow great for tokens and smart contracts, it's just not competitive with other payment systems as long as the gas price is such that a transaction using a currency token like BAT has a transaction fee in the $6 to $10 range.


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