Ethereum is a blockchain based distributed computing platform, based on smart contract functionality. It provides the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), that can trustlessly execute peer-to-peer contracts across a decentralized network.
Blockchain technology is a fusion of cryptography, proof of work, decentralized networks — which builds a system of verification without a central authority. Ethereum takes the initial Bitcoin blockchain one step further, building a the platform for independent decentralized applications called dApps.
Ethereum is not a cryptocurrency, but a platform that allows users to connect directly to each other. The Ethereum network is a collection of nodes that unite computing power to create a true decentralized network.
Currently, there is almost no action on the internet that doesn’t have an centralized intermediary. Imagine re-designing the internet so users could connect directly to other users without a third-party. Ethereum brings that opportunity to developers. For example, people can rent decentralized data storage space to one another, making third-party cloud databases obsolete.
In 2013 Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum saw the potential for decentralized networks with memory for other applications. With Ethereum, blockchain is usable beyond just peer-to-peer currency exchanges. This new network gives developers a general purpose blockchain platform— now users can build dApps that understand a general purpose programming language.
Ethereum uses a programming language called Solidity to run smart contracts. This allows developers to write an assortment of automated procedures into a digital transaction— like conditional enforcement, performance, contract management, and payment allocation and the Ethereum network executes.
Blockchains need a decentralized and shared memory. With Ethereum developers gain the ability to create markets, store registries, contract conditions, and debts. Community leaders, like the BlockApps and Enterprise Ethereum Alliance are building ethereum-based applications that expand the enterprise blockchain ecosystem.