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what is ethereum?
ethereum is a global open source platform for decentralized applications. In other words, the vision is to create a world computer on which anyone can build applications in a decentralized manner; while all statuses and data are distributed and publicly accessible. Ethereum supports smart contracts where developers can write code to program digital value. examples of decentralized applications (dapps) that are based on ethereum include tokens, non-fungible tokens, decentralized finance applications, lending protocol, decentralized exchanges, and much more.
what is a smart contract?
A smart contract is a programmable contract that allows two counterparties to set the terms of a transaction without needing to rely on another third party for execution.
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For example, if Alice wants to set up a trust fund to pay $100 at the beginning of each month for the next 12 months, she can program a smart contract to:
- check the current date
- at the beginning of each month, send bob $100 automatically
- repeat until the fund in the smart contract runs out
Using a smart contract, Alice circumvented the need to have a trusted third party intermediary (lawyers, escrow agents, etc.) to send the trust fund to Bob and make the process transparent to all parties involved.
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Smart contracts work on the “if this, then that” principle. As long as a certain condition is met, the smart contract will perform the operation as scheduled.
what are the programming languages used to write smart contracts on ethereum?
who created ethereum?
unlike bitcoin in which the creator known as satoshi nakamoto is unknown. Ethereum’s founding team are well-known individuals including Vitalik Buterin, Mihai Alisie, Anthony Di Lorio, Charles Hoskinson, Amir Chetrit, Joseph Lubin, Gavin Wood, and Jeffrey Wilke. Not all of the founding members are still at the Ethereum foundation as some have moved on to work on other projects. For example, Charles Hoskinson went on to work on Cardano, while Gavin Wood went on to work on Polkadot.
what is ether?
while ethereum refers to the blockchain network. The native currency that flows within the ethereum economy is called ether (eth). ether is typically used to pay for transaction fees called gas, and is the base currency of the network.
ethereum gas rates
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On ethereum, all transactions and execution of smart contracts require the payment of a small fee. this fee is called gas. In technical terms, gas refers to the unit of measurement on the amount of computational effort required to execute an operation or a smart contract. the more complex the execution operation, the more gas is required to accomplish that operation. gas fees are paid entirely in eth.
The price of gas may fluctuate from time to time depending on the demand of the network. If there are more people interacting on the ethereum blockchain, such as transacting on eth or executing a smart contract operation, due to the limited amount of computing resources on the network, the price of gas may increase. on the contrary, when the network is underutilized, the market price of gas would decrease.
what options are there to store ether and erc-20 tokens?
The 3 most popular ethereum based wallets are metamask, myetherwallet and mycrypto. however, many other options are also available, such as argent, trust wallet, and coinbase wallet.
ethereum 2.0 (the merger)
ethereum 2.0 is an update that aims to solve the blockchain trilemma: security, scalability and decentralization. on alternative smart contract platforms, they are designed to be highly scalable but compromise decentralization. while a highly secure and decentralized blockchain network would make clearing highly unscalable. ethereum 2.0 brings a very different flavor of design that aims to address those issues through the use of proof of stake (pos), beacon chain, sharding, and runtime. Due to the complexity of the project, the development will be carried out in 3 phases. A chain of proof-of-stake beacons has been implemented and users are staking their eth as a token of trust in the upcoming network. research and development is still in progress to implement the remaining phases.
To learn more about ethereum, you can:
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- read this detailed guide on ethereum upgrades, the merger and eth 2.0
- learn how to stake eth for ethereum 2.0 (the merger)