Cryptocurrency is here to stay. And despite the dominance of Bitcoin in total market cap within the industry, it’s Ethereum that reigns supreme as far as potential sphere of influence is concerned.
This growing mammoth, which has seen tremendous growth this year despite problems here and there, shows no sign of losing steam.
The breakneck speed at which this industry grows is not based out of thin air, as there are serious ideas with real world applications that this technology is aiming to solve.
So, what is Ethereum and how does it differ from Bitcoin? What’s in store for this technology?
What does Ethereum Do?
Ethereum is a decentralized platform that has its own distinct blockchain upon which many great applications, including dozens of cryptocurrencies (altcoins and appcoins), are built.
Ethereum is designed to withstand any impact or threat. Like all blockchain technologies, it is virtually impossible to shut down, which gives every application or cryptocurrency that is built on it the guarantee of continued existence.
The Ethereum blockchain is among the largest in the whole cryptocurrency industry as it has applications well beyond being just a mere cryptocurrency.
Although Etheruem itself is the platform, it also has a native cryptocurrency of its own (just like Bitcoin) which is known as Ether. It can be used to make purchases or exchanged on cryptocurrency markets, or it can be used by developers to pay for the right to build their apps on the Ethereum blockchain.
Who Controls Ethereum?
Ethereum was created by Vitalik Buterin in the year 2014 at the age of just 23 (and who still remains a highly influential figure in the cryptocurrency industry). However Etheruem, like Bitcoin and any other blockchain technologies, is completely decentralized which simply means there is no single person, or entity that has ultimate controlling power over it.
So how is Ethereum Different from Bitcoin?
Let’s give the classic example of how Bitcoin is described. That is, if Bitcoin is your email app then the blockchain technology is the internet.
As such Ethereum is a whole platform on which cryptocurrencies are built from scratch. Ethereum is not just a mere cryptocurrency it is the infrastructure upon which other cryptocurrencies are often built.
What makes Ethereum starkly different from Bitcoin however, is the fact that it has far wider applications beyond just being a cryptocurrency. Ethereum is touted as potentially going to take over Bitcoin as the biggest thing in the industry as it has potential applications in far wider fields like insurance, elections, self-driving cars and a host of other industries and spheres of life.
One of the greatest innovations that Ethereum offers is smart contracts.
What are Smart Contracts?
Smart contracts are the premier feature of the Etheruem Blockchain in which a user can lay simple instructions that sees the automated execution of a certain contract once a particular set of conditions are met.
The main effect of smart contracts in the real world is the fact that they can make lawyers obsolete, as users can simply draft up their contracts and have them executed without fear of being compromised or biased by human factor or error. (caveat: smart contracts are still built by humans, and are therefore still susceptible to error on the construction side).
A typical smart contract is one which has is that a certain amount of Ether should be transferred from one entity to another if certain conditions are met within a certain period of time.
Once those conditions are met, the deal is sealed automatically and neither party can change or tamper the terms of the deal once set in motion. This incorruptibility is what makes Ethereum one of the most exciting innovations to ever happen in the computer world.
Just a few lines of instructions can see a complete change in the way we do business.
Can I Give my Bitcoin and Get Ether?
Ethereum is one of the most fluid cryptocurrencies in the industry, often even more volitile than Bitcoin, due to its high volume of use. Therefore, at any time you want to change your Bitcoin for Ether or vice versa, you will find exchanges and people who are more than happy to make that happen, at an agreed price.
How to Get Ether
Ether, like Bitcoin, can be mined using specialized equipment or with cloud mining.
However, the easiest and most efficient way of getting it is by simply buying from a cryptocurrency exchange. You can either use your fiat currency to acquire your Ether or you could simply exchange any cryptocurrency you currently have, as long as it will be accepted by the seller
How do I keep my Ether Safe?
Ether, like other decentralized cryptocurrencies, is not issued by any government. As such, no bank will accept it or store it for you. However, you can keep your Ether safe by using a highly secured Ethereum Wallet, which you can simply download from a reputable wallet site, or you can purchase a intensive hardware wallet which will serve as your vault in case your holdings are considerable.
Can I use the same Wallet as my Bitcoin?
Ether and Bitcoin are built on distinct protocols and therefore cannot coexist in the same wallet. They are fundamentally different in their making and abilities therefore the user must create a separate wallet for each.
That said, some of the latest hardware wallets (multi-wallets, really) come with the ability to accommodate both Ethereum and Bitcoin on the same hardware infrastructure.
Some software wallets (again, really multi-wallets) offer the same capabilities, like Jaxx, although it is often preferred to have completely separate apps for each cryptocurrency type.
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BTC Wallet: 1LyutLaQ3sufbFcETue6kYbQHqZvYbvAD9
ETH ERC20 Wallet: 0xca0dd607339edee021fb95e4a63fc21f13f4de2f
LTC Wallet: LaPhoXcybZ3hHNs7jFeBo28uYXpYZe45w8
DASH Wallet: XtHavbmxb6gQixkBKXq2igQ2GhLUjLCh88
DOGE Wallet: DD2PN95XBgUvwRf5jbGV78d6nWEgVwjm4L
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