Price for Ether has skyrocketed in the last couple of weeks, bringing the total market cap to USD 800 mn. Ether is now the second largest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin and its market cap is bigger than all other alternative Cryptocurrencies combined. There is a lot of excitement about the new cryptocurrency and its possible applications!
What is Ether and why is everyone so excited about it?
Ether is the currency of the “Ethereum” platform, which was launched in July 2015. The crypto has a number of features that make it different from, or even superior to, Bitcoin:
Bitcoin transactions need on average 10 min to get a confirmation, while Ethereum block time is 17 secs. So transactions are more than 30 times faster, thanks to Ethereum’s Ghost Protocol!
The Bitcoin network only allows to move around one type of “token”, namely “Bitcoin” (the currency). In contrast, Ethereum allows you to build your own currency on top of the platform. For example, it would be possible to create any type of company shares within Ethereum, or to represent the possession of any kind of object (such as a car).
Simple contracts/programs can be implemented in Bitcoin. Ethereum takes this to a whole new level! Any type of smart contract or decentralized application can be created and enforced(!) in Ethereum. This is all in a distributed, trustless, and censorship-resistant way!”Smart contracts” or “decentralized apps” open a whole realm of new possibilities, like decentralized prediction markets (e.g. “Augur“), transparent voting and democracy, trustless crowdfunding, and more.
Running a decentralized apps (“dapps”) requires gas. The more complex the code is, the more gas is needed to run it. The gas to run a dapp is called “Ether”. If you think of Bitcoin as gold, then think of Ether as the oil of the new economy.
Ether can be mined by running an algorithm called Ethash. The algorithm is built in a way that ASIC chips (specialized hardware) is difficult to do. Additionally, Ether mining will be over in about a year from now on. Therefore, everyone mines with a GPU that encourages decentralized mining (compared to the highly centralized mining found in Bitcoin).
Furthermore, Ethereum has a great team of developers that push the possibilities further with every new software release. We are excited about the vision and the possibilities of building the world’s first World Computer!
Interested to learn more about Ethereum? Take a look at our infographic!
Want to start mining Ether? Start right here!