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Ethereum, the cryptocurrency, is second only to Bitcoin in terms of market capitalization ($36 923 353 152 and $111 591 853 008 respectively at the time of writing).

Ethereum is a platform based on blockchain, which was created by Vitalik Buterin in 2013. Both Bitcoin and Ethereum use blockchain, but traditionally Ethereum is considered to be more stable, versatile, and exponentially more user- and innovation-friendly. Smart contracts

The idea is believed to have been first introduced in 1994 by Nick Szabo. Ethereum’s smart contracts can ensure that assets are moved only with community’s consent, store records of transactions (i.e. transferring property rights) release assets at scheduled times, and so on.

Vitalik Buterin

Russian-born Vitalik Buterin, the winner of the World Technology Award, is the co-founder of the Ethereum network. Vitalik grew up in Toronto, where he excelled in maths-based competitions and attended advanced classes with strong emphasis on maths and economics.

During his adolescence, Vitalik developed an avid interest in Bitcoin as it was emerging and followed its progression closely, abandoning Waterloo University in order to have time to work on Ethereum.

Vitalik Buterin

Despite initial skepticism, Vitalk became closely involved with Bitcoin, soon getting a job for which he would be paid in Bitcoins, and eventually co-founding The Bitcoin Magazine.

After writing about Bitcoin, taking numerous courses, working as a research assistant to cryptographer Ian Goldberg, and working for Bitcoins, Vitalik and his team decided to introduce a new code that used Turing-complete solutions, extended smart contracts that worked on a new principle of gas, and better-distributed nodes, among other things. After a turbulent history and a few violent price fluctuations, Ethereum now is one of the most promising and renowned cryptocurrencies in the world.

Probably the most notable point of reference on the topic is The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, an association in charge of promoting global architecture for Enterprise Ethereum to “ensure interoperability, multiple vendors of choice, and lower costs for its members” for faster worldwide adoption of the protocol. EEA is partners with some of the biggest names in the business: Consensys, Credit Suisse, J.P. Morgan, Santander and Microsoft just to name a few.

Key Features and Points of Interest

Ethereum not only offers extended (compared to Bitcoin) possibilities like creating decentralized applications by usage of smart contracts. Its key distinguishing feature is that it allows individuals to influence and build the Ethereum network itself on a global scale. Ethereum, in fact, was the base on which the first decentralized exchanges like IDEX or 0X were created, and it is thanks to Ethereum that the first ICOs were built.

Better Decentralization

A study by a Cornell professor Emin Gun Sirer, Cornell research professor Robbert van Renesse, and LinkedIn researcher Adem Efe Gencer indicated that Ethereum nodes “tend to be located on a wider variety of autonomous systems”, which suggests Ethereum’s model is more secure, and it seemed to also appear more democratic by being fairer to small miners and better suited to advancing the blockchain network.

Government regulation of Ethereum

Ethereum’s competitive ability is influenced to a great extent by whether the government decides to ban or encourage its implementation. Russia has endorsed Ethereum and Bitcoin at the beginning of 2017, opening a Blockchain Research Center at the National University of Science and Technology in Moscow. Ethereum is legal in a number of major geopolitically significant countries in the world such as UK, US, and Germany, although there are still concerns about the usage of these funds for funding terrorism and money laundering. As far as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is concerned, Ethereum, the cryptocurrency, is not considered a security.