Ethereum (ETH) is a decentralized blockchain platform that enables developers to build decentralized applications (dApps) and execute smart contracts. Ethereum was launched in 2015 by Vitalik Buterin, a Russian-Canadian programmer. The goal of Ethereum is to create a decentralized, programmable platform for building decentralized applications that are censorship-resistant, transparent, and secure.
Ethereum is the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, after Bitcoin. It is powered by its native cryptocurrency, Ether (ETH), which is used to pay transaction fees and rewards for miners who secure the network. Unlike Bitcoin, which is primarily used as a digital currency, Ethereum is designed to be a platform for building decentralized applications, including decentralized finance (DeFi) applications, supply chain management systems, and social networks, among others.
Ethereum uses a consensus mechanism called Proof of Stake (PoS) to secure the network, which is different from Bitcoin’s Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism. PoS allows users to “stake” their Ether to help validate transactions and create new blocks, earning rewards in return. This mechanism is considered to be more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly than PoW, which requires miners to solve complex mathematical problems to validate transactions and create new blocks.