The Ethereum price has fluctuated massively, rising from $Ten te January to overheen $300 at the time of writing. Read our guide to the latest cryptocurrency to capture the world’s attention

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum is a big network of computers connected overheen the internet, each one storing a copy of a database, and wasgoed originally conceived by Russian developer Vitalik Buterin, 23. That database is a ledger, or a record of a series of transactions that have taken place inbetween different accounts. Te other words, it’s a giant set of accounts and a record of the transactions inbetween them which is open for anyone to inspect. This ledger, te cryptocurrency parlance, is known spil a blockchain, because transactions are grouped into blocks, and blocks are chained together one after another to form the ledger.

What is Ether?

The currency te use on the Ethereum network is called Ether.


How does Ethereum work?

The computers on the Ethereum network aren’t special ter any way. They can be laptops, Raspberry Pis, servers, desktop computers and more – essentially any kleintje of typical rekentuig can become a part of the Ethereum network. Computers that join cryptocurrency networks like Ethereum are usually known spil knots.

Each knot has a copy of the blockchain, and because it’s stored on so many computers that means taking down the network is utterly difficult to achieve. If there’s no single entity to take down, how do you ",zekering", Ethereum? You can’t – not lightly anyway, brief of turning off the internet (and good luck with that). It’s similar to the principles that other technologies like bittorrent and other peer-to-peer services are built on – there’s enough copies of the gegevens around that stopping the existence or spread of it is utterly difficult to the point where it’s realistically unlikely.

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Why does Ethereum and Ether exist?

The main advantages of cryptocurrencies (of which Ethereum is just one) are that money can be sent anywhere te the world at any time, almost instantly, with no transaction cost. There are no Ethereurm middlemen, borders or financial institutions to please or navigate.

Depending on the currency, you’re pretty much ensured to be 100 vanaf cent ter control of your money. Due to the cryptographic technology behind blockchains, identities behind accounts are virtually anonymous and once money is sent, it’s sent. It’s unlikely for any person or institution to step ter and say, actually, we’re going to seize your money or switch roles a particular transaction (like your government or high street bankgebouw can). Money sent is money sent – and that’s the end of it. Given thesis properties, you can see why the Silk Road came into existence.


How is Ethereum different from Bitcoin?

If you know even a little about Bitcoin, you’ll very likely think that Ethereum sounds similar to Bitcoin. You’d be right, except for one petite yet significant detail: the Ethereum network is programmable. Bitcoin, by tegenstelling, is passive – if you want to make a transaction, you do it yourself by loading up your wallet, input an address and an amount, and klapper ",send",. Then you only need to wait for the transaction to be confirmed by the network.

Ethereum is active rather than passive, spil it has its own programming language called Solidity. Because the Ethereum network is programmable, and if every knot on the Ethereum network is ensured to have the same gegevens and execute the same code, then the Ethereum network could potentially become a giant, distributed supercomputer upon which anyone can execute code.

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While you could write a very plain ",brainy contract", similar to what wij know spil a standing order ter the UK, which can be used to pay a landlord rent your every month, there is the potential for much more sophisticated solutions.

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Ter a normal situation, you pay your landlord rent and she or he gives you the keys to hier apartment for you to live ter. There’s an factor of trust there – you pay the rent, and you hope the landlord then honours their end of the bargain and gives you the keys. With a brainy contract, the landlord would place a digital key (imagine the apartment has a digital code entry system rather than locks and keys) into escrow. If you pay the rent, the key is ensured to be released to you. If you don’t, the key isn’t released. Given there are many thousands of computers on this globally distributed network witnessing and enforcing this code, you can rely on the fact that the contract inbetween you and the landlord will be honoured.

This hypothetical example is exactly the kleintje of idea which hasn’t bot possible until now, and is fuelling the hype around brainy contracts, and hence Ethereum. It’s possible that a killer feature built on top of Ethereum could switch the world to a similar degree spil the internet or smartphones. This potential is precisely the reason why values have skyrocketed from $Ten ter January this year to $360 at the time of writing.

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Where do I get Ether?

The easiest way to get Ether at the ogenblik is if you’re already a holder of Bitcoin. Simply set up an account on a cryptocurrency exchange like Poloniex, send your bitcoin to the exchange, and trade it for Ether.

The 2nd easiest way is to sign up to a cryptocurrency broker like Coinbase or Openleggen. After supplying some identification documents (something which cracks the anonymous nature of cryptocurrency somewhat) you can purchase Ether with a credit or debit card. There are typically limitations on the amounts you can purchase every week, but if you’re super serious and wish to invest a lump sum, you can transfer larger amounts via canap transfer to Coinbase and acquire much larger amounts of Ether (spil well spil Bitcoin and Litecoin).

So, you’ve bought Bitcoin. Now what?

The hardest way to get Ether is to mine it. This involves processing transactions on the Ethereum network, and the prize for doing this is to be paid ter Ether by the network itself –

this is the root process, the oxygen if you will, which keeps cryptocurrency networks running. Mining takes a loterijlot of time and a deeper skill of cryptocurrency, and given the value of Ether presently, is the least cost effective way – for the money you’d spend on violet wand, you’d get more Ether by buying it from a broker. But, it would keep you virtually anonymous if you did mine it.


How do I store Ether?

Ether, like all other cryptocurrencies, is stored against addresses – the omschrijving of your bankgebouw account number and sort code. Each address has a key which needs to be kept ultra secure. That key is the key to operating the account, and with it, and only it, your Ether can be transferred to another address or account. Spil wij already know, once Ether is transferred, it’s transferred – there is no going back, hence the need to keep the key to your account very secure, and be very careful who or what you send Ether to. One typo te the account code (which is a string of characters) and the currency is gone forever.

How do I keep my Ether secure?

There’s a number of ways of keeping your Ether secure. The very first is the most basic way, and that’s to generate something called a paper Ethereum wallet. It’s called a paper wallet because you literally generate an account number and key, and then print it out for safe keeping while leaving no trace of it on your laptop. The idea being that if it’s not left on your pc anywhere, then rekentuig is compromised by malware, the malware won’t be able to search your pc for any account numbers and keys left around.

Another very popular way is to use a hardware device such spil a Ledger Nano. Ether is stored on the device itself, and only those with physical access to the device can eliminate currency from it.

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