Smart Contract Platform, Ethereum Ecosystem
Ethereum is a decentralized open-source blockchain-based distributed computing platform and operating system featuring smart contract (scripting) functionality.
It supports a modified version of Nakamoto consensus via transaction-based state transitions. Ethereum was proposed in late 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, a cryptocurrency researcher and programmer. Development was funded by an online crowdsale that took place between July and August 2014.
The system went live on 30 July 2015, with 11.9 million coins "premined" for the crowdsale. This accounts for about 13 percent of the total circulating supply.
In 2016, as a result of the collapse of The DAO project, Ethereum was split into two separate blockchains – the new separate version became Ethereum (ETH), and the original continued as Ethereum Classic (ETC). The value of the Ethereum currency grew over 13,000 percent in 2017. Ethereum is used to build decentralized applications (dApps) through the use of smart contracts, which are essentially self-executing contracts written in code that can be deployed on the Ethereum blockchain.
These dApps can be used to create decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), decentralized autonomous applications (DAPPs), and other types of distributed applications that are not controlled by any single entity or organization. Smart contracts enable developers to create markets, store registries of debts or promises, move funds according to instructions given long in the past (like a will or a futures contract) and many other things that have not been invented yet, all without a middleman or counterparty risk.