Crypto Scholar

Ethereum

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ETHEREUM (ETH)

Current Market Price

$ 1,669.52
0.06202013 BTC
Marketcap
$ 200,656,908,254
Volume (24h)
$ 11,071,923,247
Circulating Supply
120,237,299 ETH
Total Supply
120,236,031 ETH

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum is a decentralized open-source blockchain system that utilizes its own cryptocurrency. Ethereum is also the first blockchain to utilize smart contracts that are self-executing with the terms of the agreement between buyer and seller being directly written into lines of code.

In addition to smart contracts, Ethereum’s blockchain is able to host other cryptocurrencies, called tokens. In fact, this has been the most common use for the ETH platform so far: to date, more than 280,000 ERC-20-compliant tokens have been created. Over 40 of these make the top-100 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, for example, USDT, LINK and SHIB.

The Ethereum Foundation officially launched the blockchain on July 30, 2015, under the prototype codenamed “Frontier.” Since then, there have been several network updates: “Constantinople” on Feb. 28, 2019, “Istanbul” on Dec. 8, 2019, “Muir Glacier” on Jan. 2, 2020, “Berlin” on April 14, 2021, and most recently on Aug. 5, 2021, the “London” hard fork.

The average time it takes to mine an Ethereum block is around 13-15 seconds with a reward of 2 ETH per block. There is no cap on the circulating supply but the most recent upgrade EIP-1559 introduced a fee-burning mechanism. As of September 2021, there were around 117.5 million ETH coins in circulation. 72 million coins were issued in the genesis block, the first ever block on the Ethereum blockchain. Of these 72 million, 60 million were allocated to the initial contributors to the 2014 crowd sale that funded the project, and 12 million were given to the development fund. One of the major differences between Bitcoin and Ethereum’s economics is that the latter is not deflationary, i.e. its total supply is not limited.

In August 2021, the Ethereum network upgrade called the London hard fork contained the Ethereum Improvement Protocol, EIP-1559. Instead of the first-price auction mechanism for transactions where the highest bidder wins, EIP-1559 introduces a “base fee” to be included in the next block. Users that want to have their transaction prioritized can pay a “tip” or “priority fee” to miners. As the base fee adjusts dynamically with transaction activity, this reduces the volatility of Ethereum gas fees, although it does not reduce the price, which is notoriously high during peak congestion on the network.

Ethereum’s goal is to become a global platform for decentralized applications, allowing users from all over the world to write and run software that is resistant to censorship, downtime and fraud.


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Ethereum FAQs

Ethereum was first mentioned in the 2013 whitepaper by Vitalik Buterin. Buterin, along with seven other co-founders, secured funding for the project in an online public crowd sale in the summer of 2014. The project team managed to raise $18.3 million in Bitcoin, and Ethereum’s price in the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) was $0.311, with over 60 million Ether sold.

Russian-Canadian Vitalik Buterin is perhaps the best known of the group. He authored the original white paper that first described Ethereum in 2013 and still works on improving the platform to this day. British programmer Gavin Wood is arguably the second most important co-founder of ETH, as he coded the first technical implementation of Ethereum in the C++ programming language, proposed Ethereum’s native programming language Solidity and was the first chief technology officer of the Ethereum Foundation.

Among the other co-founders of Ethereum are:

– Anthony Di Iorio, who underwrote the project during its early stage of development.

– Charles Hoskinson, who played the principal role in establishing the Swiss-based Ethereum Foundation and its legal framework.

– Mihai Alisie, who provided assistance in establishing the Ethereum Foundation.

– Joseph Lubin, a Canadian entrepreneur, who, like Di Iorio, has helped fund Ethereum during its early days, and later founded an incubator for startups based on ETH called ConsenSys.

– Amir Chetrit, who helped co-found Ethereum but stepped away from it early into the development.

Ethereum has pioneered the concept of a blockchain smart contract platform. Smart contracts are computer programs that automatically execute the actions necessary to fulfill an agreement between several parties on the internet. They were designed to reduce the need for trusted intermediates between contractors, thus reducing transaction costs while also increasing transaction reliability.

Ethereum’s principal innovation was designing a platform that allowed it to execute smart contracts using the blockchain, which further reinforces the already existing benefits of smart contract technology. Ethereum’s blockchain was designed, according to co-founder Gavin Wood, as a sort of “one computer for the entire planet,” theoretically able to make any program more robust, censorship-resistant and less prone to fraud by running it on a globally distributed network of public nodes.

As of August 2020, Ethereum is secured via the Ethash proof-of-work algorithm, belonging to the Keccak family of hash functions. There are plans to transition the network to a proof-of-stake algorithm instead of proof-of-work tied to the major Ethereum 2.0 update.

After the Ethereum 2.0 Beacon Chain (Phase 0) went live in the beginning of December 2020, it became possible to begin staking on the Ethereum 2.0 network. An Ethereum stake is when you deposit ETH (32 ETH is required to activate validator software) on Ethereum 2.0 by sending it to a deposit contract, thus helping to secure the network by storing data, processing transactions and adding new blocks to the blockchain. Ethereum staking rewards are determined by a distribution curve (the participation and average percent of stakers): some ETH 2.0 staking rewards were at 20% for early stakers, but will be lowered to end up between 7% and 4.5% annually.

The minimum requirements for an Ethereum stake are 32 ETH. If you decide to stake in Ethereum 2.0, it means that your Ethererum stake will be locked up on the network for months, if not years, in the future until the Ethereum 2.0 upgrade is completed.

Like most blockchains, Ethereum suffers from what’s called the “scalability trilemma.” This refers to the trade-off between security, scalability and decentralisation. In October 2015, EIP Purpose and Guidelines repository was created to help guide the future plans of ETH. EIP stands for Ethereum Improvement Proposal. An EIP is a design document providing information to the Ethereum community, or describing a new feature for Ethereum or its processes or environment. The EIP should provide a concise technical specification of the feature and a rationale for the feature. The EIP author is responsible for building consensus within the community and documenting dissenting opinions.

Etherueum foundation intends EIPs to be the primary mechanisms for proposing new features, for collecting community technical input on an issue, and for documenting the design decisions that have gone into Ethereum. Because the EIPs are maintained as text files in a versioned repository, their revision history is the historical record of the feature proposal.

For Ethereum implementers, EIPs are a convenient way to track the progress of their implementation. Ideally each implementation maintainer would list the EIPs that they have implemented. This will give end users a convenient way to know the current status of a given implementation or library.

  • Idea – An idea that is pre-draft. This is not tracked within the EIP Repository.
  • Draft – The first formally tracked stage of an EIP in development. An EIP is merged by an EIP Editor into the EIP repository when properly formatted.
  • Review – An EIP Author marks an EIP as ready for and requesting Peer Review.
  • Last Call – This is the final review window for an EIP before moving to FINAL. An EIP editor will assign Last Call status and set a review end date (review-period-end), typically 14 days later.
  • Final – This EIP represents the final standard. A Final EIP exists in a state of finality and should only be updated to correct errata and add non-normative clarifications.
  • Stagnant – Any EIP in DRAFT or REVIEW if inactive for a period of 6 months or greater is moved to STAGNANT. An EIP may be resurrected from this state by Authors or EIP Editors through moving it back to DRAFT.
  • Withdrawn – The EIP Author(s) have withdrawn the proposed EIP. This state has finality and can no longer be resurrected using this EIP number. If the idea is pursued at later date it is considered a new proposal.
  • Living – A special status for EIPs that are designed to be continually updated and not reach a state of finality. This includes most notably EIP-1.

Years in the making, Ethereum 2.0 is the implementation phase of a series of upgrades predominantly intended to help scale Ethereum, while adding improvements to security. This major upgrade will take ETH from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake. This means moving away from the old mining system, in which people mine cryptocurrency with hardware like GPUs, and towards a system where people can mine with staking software and their existing cryptocurrency holdings.

This upgrade will come in three main phases:

  • The Beacon Chain – launched 1 December 2020
  • Sharding – expected in 2021
  • Docking – expected in 2022

The Ethereum Beacon Chain brings proof of stake to the Ethereum network. It’s essentially a separate proof of stake network inside the “old” Ethereum blockchain (Eth1). This allowed users to begin staking their ETH in a smart contract destined for ETH 2.0.

During the sharding phase upgrade, ETH 2.0 will be split into 64 shards. These shards will work in conjunction with the Beacon Chain. When implemented, the most visible upgrade will be improved network throughput. Sharding will also reduce the computational load, allowing more lightweight devices such as laptops or phones to run Ethereum clients. Beyond making Ethereum more generally portable and accessible, this will also reduce the network’s reliance on intermediaries and hosting services, contributing to more effective decentralisation.

The third and final phase, anticipated for 2022, will be docking, when the Beacon Chain and Eth1 are merged together.

Essentially, the Beacon Chain will become the “real” Ethereum blockchain, while Eth1 becomes another shard. At this stage Ethereum will be a fully-fledged high-scalability proof stake blockchain.

Mining will no longer be required at this point, so it’s expected that miners will abandon their machines and reinvest in more cost-effective avenue of staking.

Given the fact that Ethereum is the second-largest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin, it is possible to buy Ethereum, or use ETH trading pairs on nearly all of the major crypto exchanges just like BTC. Some of the largest markets include:

Some of the top markets where ETH trading is available are:

Binance (Binance.US if in USA)

Coinbase & Coinbase Pro

Gemini

Kraken

Huobi Global

Bitfinex

FTX

Bithumb

Gate.io

Still not sure which exchange to use? Check out Crypto Scholars guide on the top cryptocurrency exchanges and how to register for each one.

The most popular wallets for cryptocurrency include both hot and cold wallets. Cryptocurrency wallets vary from hot wallets and cold wallets. Hot wallets are able to be connected to the web, while cold wallets are used for keeping large amounts of coins outside of the internet.

Some of the top crypto cold wallets are Trezor and Ledger. Some of the top crypto hot wallets include Exodus, Electrum and MyETHWallet.

Still not sure of which wallet to use? Check out Crypto Scholars guide on the top cold wallets of 2021 and top hot wallets of 2021.

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