What is Ethereum?
Ethereum is an alternative coin that was launched on the 30th of July 2015. Ethereum was proposed much earlier though, as the developer Vitalik Buterin thought of the idea back in 2013 and funded the development in an online crowd funding in 2014, raising the funds necessary to bring his idea to life. Buterin was not alone in developing Ethereum, as he enlisted the help of Mihai Alisie, Charles Hoskinson and Anthony Di Iorio to help him at the beginning of 2014.
The name itself was chosen after Buterin looked for science fiction elements on Wikipedia of all places. Here he found the name and decided that he liked that name more than any other cryptocurrency names out there, saying “I immediately realized that I liked it better than all of the other alternatives that I had seen; I suppose it was the fact that sounded nice and it had the word "ether", referring to the hypothetical invisible medium that permeates the universe and allows light to travel.”
Ethereum is basically a decentralized platform which can run smart contracts, meaning that it can run applications as they are meant to run, without having the annoyance of downtimes, censorship or being hacked or similar. Applications using this platform will run on their own custom built blockchain, where users mining Ether can help keep the contract running or move value around to different persons.
Ethereum is currently the second most valuable cryptocurrency in the world, with 97 million coins in circulation at a value of around $700 a piece at the time of this article (February 2018). This means that the total market cap of Ethereum is currently sitting at around $70 billion and grew more than 17.000% in 2017, a massive growth for those who were lucky enough to invest in the cryptocurrency from the beginning.
Ethereum does not have a prefixed amount of coins that will be in circulation, it is not infinite however. Eventually the coins that are provided for miners will only be equal to those lost in circulation as well as adjusted for inflation. It is hard to tell exactly how many Ethereum coins that will end up being in circulation, but the community has shown its support for the cryptocurrency and believes in the idea of its purpose.
What Can I Use It For?
Ethereum is not like many other cryptocurrencies out there, who are primarily developed to be used as a currency to pay for services, goods or even to gamble with. Instead it has been created to provide custom built blockchains for companies who are looking to secure that their applications or similar will run safely without having to worry about hacker attacks, downtimes and similar. They can also be used to transfer value from one person to another in a safe manner, through the use of smart contracts.
With a huge community of miners who solves algorithms, they provide the computer power to provide these applications with the uptime needed and making it nearly impossible to crash and hack. This means that they could potential make it possible for the health system of the world to transfer patient records across the globe safe and secure within seconds, from hospital to hospital.
It could also be used by services such as cloud companies, who stores your documents on their servers. It doesn’t take a lot for a hacker to make an entire server farm crash down and steal your documents, as well as make them inaccessible, but that will be solved if they use Ethereum's blockchain as information will be stored on thousands of servers all around the world, making it close to impossible to cause downtime and steal information.
It is also used to transfer funds from one person to another, as you could send Ethereum to a person you want to send money to and they receive within minutes and from there they can go to an exchange and exchange the cryptocurrency into fiat-money.
If you are looking to trade Ethereum in order to play the currency game and make money or if you are looking to purchase some to either use or as a long-term investment, it is good to know exactly where you can do so. There are probably hundreds of big and small companies out there offering exactly these services, but we have done you a favor and listed some of the more reliable companies to do so below.
Coinbase.com: Coinbase is by far the most well-known cryptocurrency exchange site in the world, who originally started out just offering Bitcoins, but has since then moved on to also offer Ethereum and Litecoin as a possibility in their platform. If you are not familiar with Coinbase, you can read more here.
BitMEX.com: BitMex is one of the leading online trading platforms, offering multiple different cryptocurrencies including Ethereum. BitMEX is a site where you invest Bitcoins against another cryptocurrency and then you can decide if you want to buy or short the market and make money depending on if the market goes up or down. Here you cannot purchase Ethereum but only trade it against Bitcoins. You can read more about BitMEX here.
Binance.com : Binance is currently the second biggest cryptocurrency trading platform in the world, handling more than 40+ different cryptocurrencies. Here you can either purchase and sell your Ethereum or you can trade it against another cryptocurrency and play the currency speculation market. You can read more about Binance here
Playing With Ethereum
If you like to gamble a bit, there are plenty of places online where you can deposit your Ethereum and try your luck with them. Currently Ethereum gambling is more or less restricted to the popular dice game and other casino games, but there might be other options such as poker or sports betting coming in the near future from major developers. Below we have listed a couple of safe sites that you can gamble on, where you can deposit and withdraw with ease and try out your luck in the casino game of your choice:
DuckDice: DuckDice is a simple and clean site where you can play the popular Dice game, where you have to guess if the roll of the dice will be higher or lower a certain number. The odds of winning changes depending on what settings you choose in the game and it is easy to play. You can read more about DuckDice here.
LuckyGames: LuckyGames is a cryptocurrency casino site, offering the popular dice game, but also other options such as Roulette and their own popular “Hacker” game. It is easy to deposit and withdraw and the site has a very clean and crisp look to it, making it a popular place to gamble for many. You can read more about LuckyGames here.