Ethereum is a blockchain-based, open-source, decentralized platform that enables the creation of smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps). It was first proposed in 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, a Russian-Canadian programmer and blockchain researcher. Ethereum went live in July 2015, with 72 million coins pre-mined for the crowdsale.
Ethereum’s core innovation is the use of a virtual machine, called the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which enables the execution of smart contracts. Smart contracts are self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement between buyer and seller being directly written into lines of code.
Ethereum also has its own cryptocurrency, called Ether (ETH), which is used to pay for transaction fees and computational services on the Ethereum network. Ether is also used as a form of currency for buying and selling goods and services, and it can be traded on cryptocurrency exchanges like other digital assets.
Ethereum has been instrumental in popularizing the concept of decentralized applications and has attracted a large and growing developer community. The Ethereum platform is also being used to develop new types of financial products, including decentralized finance (DeFi) applications and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).