Ethereum is the runner-up Blockchain in terms of market capitalization. Market capitalization is the market value of a cryptocurrency listed at exchanges. Market capitalization is equal to the price of a cryptocurrency multiplied by the number of its units being traded.
Ethereum was created in 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, the software developer, and globally launched two years later. Ethereum was created as a decentralized computing platform for a wide range of applications. It is a decentralized Blockchain that has its own cryptocurrency, Ether. It is also a platform for many other crypto projects /assets, also known as tokens. The functionality of smart contracts enables the product development in such business segments as finance, gaming, advertising, Internet, identity management and supply chain management.
Ethereum also includes dollar-linked currencies: 1:1 called stablecoins and DeFi (Decentralized Finance) applications. These applications are operated under smart contracts, specifying the contracting terms between parties which, when fulfilled, are automatically executed. The contracting terms between the parties are written directly in the lines of code that control the execution and the transactions are traceable and irreversible.
Due to smart contracts, secure transactions can be made and contracts can entered into by and between anonymous parties without banking supervision or the legal system. One example of a smart contract is HEX which takes coins as a pledge for a user-specified period of time and gives them back with interest once the terms of the contract have been fulfilled.
Ether is the native token used in the Ethereum network. It is referred to as the ETH or simply Ethereum. Transactions involving Ether take place in a similar manner to that made with Bitcoin. Ether has another important function played in the Ethereum network because it is the fuel that guarantees the functioning of the entire system. ETH is referred to by many experts as the digital oil and Bitcoin as the digital gold.
Ethereum is often referred to as the World’s Computer made up of many individual computers running Ethereum software. As with Bitcoin, keeping these computers running requires participants to invest in hardware and electricity. Many other crypto-assets are currently operated as Ethereum-based tokens.
According to Bloomberg News, Ethereum was the most frequently used Blockchain in 2020 and it had the highest number of followers of any cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin, according to the New York Times. Ethereum is currently implementing Ethereum 2.0, which includes but is not limited to a move to Proof of Stake (PoS) and enhanced transaction throughput. Ethereum has increased in value by approximately 30,000 times in six years, from $0.15 in 2015 to almost $5,000 in 2021.