A look at Ethereum and the history of the second biggest cryptocurrency in terms of volume

Second only to Bitcoin in terms of market capitalisation, Ethereum is an open-source, blockchain-powered, distributed computing platform. Apart from its native cryptocurrency—Ether (ETH)—the platform enables Smart Contracts and Decentralised Applications (DApps) that are effectively censorship-resistant, tamper-proof, and have minimal downtime. Above all, they can function peer-to-peer—that is, without third-party intervention.As a cryptocurrency, Ethereum has a similar function as Bitcoin, Litecoin, and so on. However, as an open-source “Virtual Machine”, Ethereum broadens the community’s scope for decentralised and distributed innovations.In merely 5 years, Ethereum has grown manifold—from being among the pioneers of Initial Coin Offering (ICO) to becoming the framework for over 2000 decentralised applications. At the time of writing, Ethereum’s market capitalisation is over $54 billion.This article discusses Ethereum’s journey since its launch, primarily by discussing the network’s versions and milestones. In case the reader is unaware of what Ethereum is and how it works, we urge them to read our article: What is Ethereum?Interested in buying Ethereum? Register now!The Invention & ICOEthereum is a brainchild of Vitalik Buterin—a Canadian-Russian programmer often deemed as a prodigy—and co-founded by the British computer scientist, Gavin Wood. While Buterin envisioned the project, Wood invented Solidity—Ethereum’s programming language—and also defined the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) in his Yellow Paper. Before parting ways in 2016, Wood was the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Ethereum. Backed by the team’s early innovations, Ethereum launched its ICO in 2014 and raised a staggering $18 million.Frontier: A Trial RunOn July 30th, 2015, the Ethereum blockchain’s genesis block—simply, the first block—was mined, marking the beginning of the network’s first version, namely Frontier. Although capable of handling primitives such as Smart Contracts and DApps, Frontier was more of an experimental first run for Ethereum—a version with considerable security shortcomings. Nevertheless, it remains a major landmark in Ethereum’s history.By mid-August, there were 100,000 blocks on the Ethereum blockchain, and in those days, Ether’s market price was roughly $2.77. Given the network’s instability, however, prices kept dropping in this phase, falling as low as $0.68. In November that year, Nick Szabo and others spoke at Devcon-1 in London, proposing and debating the prospects…

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