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Ethereum Software
Original author(s) Vitalik Buterin, Gavin Wood
Developer(s) Gavin Wood, Jeffrey Wilcke, Vitalik Buterin, et al
Written in C++, Go, JavaScript, Python, Java, node.js, Haskell[citation needed]
Operating system Linux, Windows, OS X, POSIX compliant
Type Decentralized computing
License GPL3, MIT, LGPL, et al

Ethereum is a cryptocurrency which includes a programmable smart contract platform.[1] The unit of currency is called the ether.

Ethereum was initially described by Vitalik Buterin in late 2013,[2] formally described by Gavin Wood in early 2014 in the so-called "yellow paper"[3] and launched 30 July 2015.[4] It is among a group of "next generation" (or "Bitcoin 2.0") platforms.[5]


The intended purpose of the Ethereum Project is to build and proliferate a decentralised and pseudonymous replacement for the World Wide Web: incentivized static content publication (Swarm), pseudonymous low-level messaging system (Whisper), trustless transactions (Ethereum) and an integrated user-interface (Mist).[6]


Group photo from DEVCON-0, Berlin, 14 November 2014.

Ethereum is an open source project. Development began in December 2013, with the first Go and C++ proof of concept builds (PoC1) being released in early February 2014.[7] Since then, several further PoC builds have been released, culminating with the public launch of the Ethereum blockchain on 30 July 2015.


Currency type Cryptocurrency
Date of introduction 30 July 2015[9]
 Source Genesis block
User(s) Worldwide
Issuance model Disinflation[10]
 10−3 finney
 10−6 szabo
 10−18 wei
Symbol Ξ[11]

The currency unit of Ethereum is the ether, used to pay for computational services on the network.

To finance development, Ethereum distributed the initial allocation of ether via a 42-day public crowdsale, netting 31,591 bitcoins, worth $18,439,086 at that time, in exchange for about 60,102,216 ether.[12]


Smart contracts are programs and protocols to facilitate the automated performance of a contract. Ethereum contracts can be implemented in various languages, compiled into bytecode for the Ethereum Virtual Machine before being deployed to the blockchain.

Every contract is run on every full Ethereum node simultaneously and the result is the consensus of the output. The documentation notes that computation on the EVM is "very expensive" and that "you will not be able to do anything on the EVM that you cannot do on a smartphone from 1999."[13]


The following full-node implementations of Ethereum are available:


The platform has been covered in The Wall Street Journal,[21] Wired,[22] The Globe and Mail,[23] SiliconANGLE,[24] Al Jazeera,[25] The Telegraph[26] and the Keiser Report.[27]


  1. ^ Buterin, Vitalik. "The Problem of Censorship". Ethereum Blog. Retrieved 6 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Buterin, Vitalik (2014-01-23). "Ethereum: A Next-Generation Cryptocurrency and Decentralized Application Platform". Bitcoin Magazine. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Wood, Gavin (2014-04-06). "Ethereum: A Secure Decentralised Generalised Transaction Ledger" (PDF). Self published. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  4. ^ Tual, Stephan. "Ethereum Launches". Retrieved 31 July 2015. 
  5. ^ Kharif, Olga (2014-03-28). "Bitcoin 2.0 Shows Technology Evolving Beyond Use as Money". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Gerring, Taylor (2014-08-18). "building the decentralized web 3.0". Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  7. ^ Tual, Stephan. "C++ Code+Build FAQ". Ethereum. Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
  8. ^ What is ether?
  9. ^ Genesis block
  10. ^ The Issuance Model in Ethereum
  11. ^ "The symbol for Ether is...". 7 June 2014. Retrieved August 14, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Crypto 2.0 Roundup: Block Chain Bloat, Ethereum Completes Presale and a Crypto Football Team". CoinDesk. Retrieved 2015-11-13. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ go-ethereum homepage
  15. ^ Parity press release
  16. ^ Ethereum C++ Client GitHub repository
  17. ^ Ethereum J homepage
  18. ^ pyethapp GitHub repository
  19. ^ ethereumjs homepage
  20. ^ ethereum-client-haskell GitHub repository
  21. ^ Paul Vigna (28th October 2015). Microsoft to Offer Ethereum Based Services. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  22. ^ Finley, Kurt (2014-01-27). "Out in the Open: Teenage Hacker Transforms Web Into One Giant Bitcoin Network". Wired. Retrieved 6 April 2014. 
  23. ^ Gray, Jeff (2014-04-07). "Bitcoin believers: Why digital currency backers are keeping the faith". The Globe and Mail (Phillip Crawley). Retrieved 6 April 2014. 
  24. ^ Cox, Ryan. "Can Ethereum kill Bitcoin with self-executing contracts?". SiliconANGLE. Retrieved 6 April 2014. 
  25. ^ Nathan Schneider (7 April 2014). Code your own utopia: Meet Ethereum, bitcoin's most ambitious successor. Al Jazeera America. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  26. ^ Soon, the internet will be impossible to control. Jamie Bartlett. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  27. ^ Keiser Report: New Crypto Phenomenon Ethereum. Max Keiser. Retrieved 10 June 2014.

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