The Ethereum platform was launched in 2015 and has since become one of the leading blockchains in the world. In fact, it is the second most well-known, after Bitcoin.
Ethereum is often referred to as a "world computer" because it allows anyone to run decentralized applications (dApps) on its platform. Personally, I don't like the wording "world computer" that much. I would rather say it is a decentralized network of computers. This is in contrast to traditional centralized computing systems, where a single computer or server is running an application.
By using Ethereum, developers can build dApps that are resistant to censorship, fraud, and other forms of interference, and can be used by anyone with an internet connection. It allows users to "do business" with each other or interact, without a middleman. I'll explain later.
Ethereum was first proposed in 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, a young programmer who was interested in Bitcoin but saw its limitations. He proposed building a new platform with a more general scripting language that could be used to build a wide range of applications beyond just digital currencies.
Buterin was born in Russia and immigrated to Canada with his family when he was six years old. He became interested in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency at a young age and began writing about these topics for various online publications. Some of the publications he wrote for include Bitcoin Magazine. There, he served as a co-founder and lead writer. He also wrote for the Russian-language website Bitcoin.ru.
Buterin also contributed articles to other publications, including the online magazine Hackernoon and the blog of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. His writing focused on a range of topics related to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, including news, technical, and commentary on the broader implications of these technologies.
In 2013, he proposed the idea for Ethereum. Buterin led the development from its early stages and played a key role in its launch in 2015. He has since become one of the most well-known figures in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space.
There were a number of other individuals and organizations involved in the founding and early development of Ethereum. One of the key figures in the early development of Ethereum was Gavin Wood. He is a British computer programmer who was the first to get an Ethereum testnet up and running and published the Ethereum Yellow Paper, which served as a technical elaboration of Vitalik Buterin's initial whitepaper on Ethereum.
Wood also proposed Ethereum's native programming language, Solidity, and later served as the CTO of the Ethereum Foundation. However, Wood eventually became disillusioned with the centralized aspects of Ethereum's functioning and founded Polkadot. Polkadot is yet another decentralized, open-source blockchain. It is designed to be more flexible and modular, allowing developers to easily create and customize their own blockchain networks to meet their specific needs.
Other individuals who played key roles in the founding include Joseph Lubin, a Canadian entrepreneur who is best known and the founder of ConsenSys. The company is focused on building decentralized applications (dApps) and other blockchain-based technologies. One of the most well-known apps they built was MetaMask. ConsenSys has grown to become one of the leading companies in the blockchain space, with a large team of developers in multiple countries around the world. Lubin first became involved in the cryptocurrency space in 2013, when he met Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, and became interested in the potential of blockchain technology to disrupt traditional industries. He joined the Ethereum project in 2014 as a co-founder and played a key role in the launch in 2015.
Another person involved in the development of Ethereum was Charles Hoskinson, who later co-founded Cardano. Hoskinson is an American entrepreneur who first became involved in the crypto space in 2011, when he co-founded the Bitcoin education company Bitcoin Development. Hoskinson joined the Ethereum project in 2013 and played a key role in the early development of the platform. However, he left the Ethereum project in 2014, before the platform was launched in 2015.
The reasons for his departure are not publicly known, but it is believed that there were differences of opinion among the Ethereum co-founders about the direction of the project. In an interview with CoinDesk in 2016, Hoskinson said that he left Ethereum because he "could not come to an agreement on the direction of the project with the other founders and stakeholders." He went on to say that there were "different visions for the project" and that he "agreed to disagree and move on."
After leaving Ethereum, Hoskinson founded Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK), a blockchain research and development company, and launched Cardano in 2017. Cardano is a decentralized, open-source blockchain platform that is designed to be more secure and scalable than previous generations of blockchain technology. It is focused on enabling the development of complex decentralized applications (dApps) and has gained significant popularity since its launch.
In addition to these individuals, a number of organizations and companies were also involved in the founding and early development of Ethereum, including the Ethereum Foundation, a Swiss non-profit organization, which was responsible for managing the early development of the platform, and various venture capital firms that provided funding and support to the project.
Some of the firms that invested in Ethereum include Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, and Pantera Capital. These firms helped to fund the development of the Ethereum platform and supported the growth of the Ethereum community.
So what is the difference between Bitcoin and Ethereum?
In very simple words, Bitcoin is like an electronic version of money that you can use to pay for things online. It's kind of like using a credit card, but without the need for a bank to be involved. You can buy things with Bitcoin just like you would with regular money, but it's all done through the internet and with no middleman. Bitcoin was originally created as a digital currency and a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. Today, Bitcoin is primarily used as a store of value.
Ethereum is a little bit different. It's not just a way to pay for things, but it's also a way for people to build special kinds of programs and apps that can do all sorts of things. These programs are called "decentralized apps," or "dApps" for short. They can be used for lots of different things, like keeping track of records, or helping people make agreements with each other. All without a middlemen.
So, while Bitcoin is mostly used as a way to buy and sell things, Ethereum is used as a platform for building and running these special dApps.
Both Bitcoin and Ethereum use blockchain technology to make sure everything is secure and works the way it's supposed to, but they have some different features that make them useful for different things. That's of course just the beginning. There is so much more to say about Ethereum and its entire story.