Developers around the world can build and run decentralized applications on the Ethereum blockchain. The purpose of these is to improve the industries of finance, personal information storage, governance and more by using the transparent nature of a blockchain.
Where did Ethereum come from?
Ethereum was first mentioned in 2013 in a whitepaper by Vitalik Buterin, a developer who was working on Bitcoin at the time.
Buterin believed that Bitcoin should be made more customisable. He believed Bitcoin should go a step further than simply being a store of wealth and that it needed smart contract features to determine automatically when payments should occur, for example. This project was not taken up for Bitcoin, therefore Buterin created Ethereum in 2014 for this purpose.
What’s the difference between Bitcoin and Ethereum?
Bitcoin aims to be a store of wealth, a digital gold if you will, and eventually become a globally adopted currency which could improve or replace conventional money to some extent. The purpose of Ethereum is to become a platform upon which smart contracts and decentralised apps can run.
Another important difference is the supply. Where the number of Bitcoin is capped at 21 million ever to be produced, Ethereum is not capped to any specific quantity. Both Bitcoin and Ethereum are produced in a process called mining. There are plans to shift Ethereum production to a proof of stake model, which should be more environmentally friendly than mining. More information on proof of stake can be found in the links below.
There are several technical differences in the technologies that underpin the Bitcoin and Ethereum platforms but at this early stage of these projects, they may seem very much alike. As these projects grow and mature, however, the differences may become much more apparent and could affect their trajectories quite differently.
How do I get Ethereum?
There a number of ways you can get Ether:
Just like normal money, you can earn it by providing goods or services, and asking people to pay you in Ether. This is often a cheaper and easier alternative to other payment methods, and one of the easiest ways to get your hands on some Ether.
Another way is how most people get it: buy Ether from a credible Ether broker, or from and exchange provider, like Luno. This is similar to how you would buy foreign currency at your bank or shares online and often the easiest way to get Ether because you are virtually guaranteed that someone will be willing to sell their Ether to you on such a platform.
You can also get Ether by mining for it, but this has become very difficult to do for the average person. Most mining is now done by huge companies with very expensive and highly specialised equipment, which a typical person or computer cannot compete with. So unless you have a lot of expertise and a huge amount of money to spend on this, rather buy or earn your Ether.
Ledger Nano S is a Bitcoin, Ethereum and Altcoins hardware wallet, based on robust safety features for storing cryptographic assets and securing digital payments. It connects to any computer (USB) and embeds a secure OLED display to double-check and confirm each transaction with a single tap on its side buttons.
TREZOR is a single purpose device which allows you to make secure Bitcoin transactions. With TREZOR, transactions are completely safe even when initiated on a compromised or vulnerable computer. Because the use of TREZOR is very easy and intuitive we believe it will help Bitcoin adoption among people not familiar with the security issues.