Mention cryptocurrency and many people outside the space think of Bitcoin, but cryptocurrencies and blockchain have many more applications that go way beyond digital currencies.
Until recently, building blockchains and decentralized applications (dApps) required a background in coding, cryptography and maths, which also took up a lot of one’s time.
But now, with Ethereum, we have a decentralized infrastructure that facilitates the development of unimagined applications with most of the difficulty of building a blockchain application expunged.
What is Ethereum? In short, Ethereum is an open-source blockchain platform that makes it easy for developers to build and deploy dApps.
Ethereum is similar to Bitcoin in that they’re decentralized blockchains with a currency, but the similarities pretty much end there.
Both cryptocurrencies are designed for different purposes. Bitcoin is a store of value and a peer-to-peer payments network, and that’s such a valuable application.
But Ethereum does much more than Bitcoin. If Bitcoin is a payments network Ethereum is akin to the app store.
Ethereum’s main difference is the Ethereum Vitual Machine (EVM), which is a Turing complete software architecture, that generartes the Ethereum network, and it allows anyone to code in any language and the Ethereum protocol will be able to process it.
This allows Ethereum to carry out much more complex functions, and is therefore capable of hosting more complex smart contracts than Bitcoin.
A smart contract is the code that is used to create an Ethereum dApp, and each one is coded differently, but in essence they’re a self-executing contract that can exchange anything of value, such as money, property, and stocks and bonds.
The smart contracts will run exactly as coded without the possibility of censorship, downtime, fraud or interference from any external entity.
Ethereum’s infrastructure allows developers to create pretty much anything inside a smart contract, and it goes way beyond anything that can be built in Internet applications that we have today.
Things like rare collectibles are already being created inside smart contracts, and users can already buy and sell land inside Decentraland's virtual world in which prime land sells for more, of course.
Even Brave Browser's BAT token is built into smart contracts. While the browser itself is semi-decentralized, the smart contracts power the currency that is paid out to users of the browser. Check here for a review of Brave Browser.
Ethereum is the app store of the blockchain eco-system. It’s an open-source, decentralized protocol that facilitates the construction of decentralized applications at scale.
With the EVM, it has removed much of the barrier to entry that would have put off many developers before. But with thousands of dApps being rolled out, it's hard to see anything but success for Ethereum.
While it's still in its early days, Ethereum looks to be a truly transformational platform and with unimaginable applications on the way, the future of the Internet will look completely different to what it is today.
Author: Tommy Limpitlaw