Ethereum is a combination of platform, digital currency, and programming code.
One of a cohort of increasingly popular cryptocurrencies, it operates as a decentralized, open-source “programmable” blockchain platform, and forms the basis of the digital coin known as ether (ETH-USD), the largest digital coin after Bitcoin (BTC-USD) by market cap.
Ethereum utilizes its own programming language known as Solidity, and the number of ether which can be created is unlimited. This week, the platform is expected to make a network change to streamline transaction fees — but also destroy coins in a way that boosts ether’s spot price.
Co-founded by Russian-Canadian programmer Vitalik Buterin in 2013, development of the project began crowdfunding in 2014, with the network going live in July 2015.
Ethereum blockchain allows developers to create, deploy, and use decentralized applications on it. Otherwise known as decentralized finance or DeFi applications (“dapps”), these apps are able to provide many financial services without the need for a middleman such as a brokerage, bank, or exchange — thus making transactions cheaper.
An example of such a service is the ability to borrow or lend ether