A Brief History of Ethereum

Pathik Bhattacharya
Pathik Bhattacharya

Updated on January 16, 2023 11:19 AM

Published on December 09, 2022 12:50 PM

Vitalik Buterin was working on the Mastercoin project in late 2013. As an early Bitcoin supporter, he saw blockchain as more than just a payment method. The idea led him to launch Ethereum.

A Brief History of Ethereum
Source: unsplash

From its inception, Ethereum has been based on a foundation of transparent transactions. While there is a central 'body' that founded Ethereum and Ether, they do not influence the miners that contribute to the platform's worldwide decentralization. This implies that new protocols and procedures, regardless of what the central authority deems to be the best, must be approved by the community.

Buterin became interested in blockchain technology as a 17-year-old programmer when he joined Bitcoin and co-founded Bitcoin Magazine in 2011. He began to envision a platform that went beyond the financial use cases offered by Bitcoin, and in 2013, he published a white paper explaining what would eventually become Ethereum using a broad programming language.

Ethereum: In Making

Following the debut of Bitcoin, blockchain swiftly captured the attention of developers all around the world. This prompted Vitalik Buterin, a Canadian developer, to propose a new platform in 2013 that would allow for decentralized applications, ushering in a new era of online transactions.

Following the first campaign, Ethereum was launched in 2015, with 72 million tokens created. These original tokens were issued to those who contributed to the initial initiative and still account for around 65% of currencies in the system as of Dec 2022.

Ethereum set out to create a decentralized platform that would enable the developer community to build on what was new technology at the time, such as Smart Contracts and Dapps, which give additional blockchain possibilities.

Presales of Ethereum Token

A presale was scheduled for February 1st, 2014, however, it was cancelled. From July 20th through September 2nd, 2014, a crowdfunding campaign was launched. A total of 60 million Ether (the Ethereum platform's principal cryptocurrency) were generated for sale; this is also known as the Genesis issue, as they are the first Ether tokens ever created.

For the first 14 days of the auction, the price was 2,000 Ether (ETH) Equals one Bitcoin (BTC). For the remainder of the campaign, the price was reduced to 1,339 ETH per BTC.

Over 50 million tokens were sold in the first two weeks of the campaign. The crowd sale garnered 31,500 Bitcoins and generated 12 million ETH, which will be used to support the development and other operations.

The Four Phases of Ethereum Upgrade

Frontier (July 30th, 2015):

Olympic, a prototype version of Frontier, was published on May 9th, 2015. The goal was to put the project through its paces and reward those who discovered flaws. The testing was carried out in four different areas.

  • Transactional activity

  • Virtual machines - used to execute smart contracts.

  • Mining competence.

  • General repercussions include stress testing the platform using smart contracts.

Each category offered a grand prize of 2,500 ETH as well as other minor awards. Frontier was issued following the Olympic testing. With that release, developers may create distributed apps and begin mining Ether.

Homestead (March 14th, 2016):

Following then, the platform was updated via Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIP). The change aided future upgrades and increased transaction speed. Aside from the initial treasury, the Ethereum Foundation began to accept money in Ether from a variety of sources.

Metropolis (October 16th, 2017):

Two enhancements are included in this phase.

  • Byzantium (October 2017)

  • Constantinople (Scheduled for early 2019)

The Byzantium update, which was also a hard fork, increased the platform's scalability, transaction processing, and security even more. Furthermore, the mining payout was reduced from 5 ETH to 3 ETH. The Constantinople update will be available in early 2019.

Serenity (September 6, 2022)

Ethereum 2.0, also known as Serenity, is a significant update to the Ethereum blockchain that will result in several improvements. These modifications include sharding, proof-of-stake, and the migration of EVM to eWASM. These enhancements are critical because they will make Ethereum quicker, more scalable, and more secure.

Ethereum Protocol Changes (Fork)

Since Ethereum's inception, the protocol's development activity has reached an all-time high. Every year, one or more upgrades are implemented on the Ethereum mainnet to make the ecosystem more scalable and efficient. The following are some significant enhancements to Ethereum since its inception.

Frontier thawing Fork - 2015

The border thawing fork increased the gas limit per block to 5,000 gwei and set the default gas price to 51 gwei. This permitted transactions using 21,000 gas. The difficulty bomb was created to assure that a future hard fork to proof-of-stake will occur.

The latest two Ethereum blockchain upgrades were the publishing of the white paper and yellow paper in 2013 and the sale of Ether in 2014.

Spurious Dragon Fork - 2016

The Spurious Dragon fork was the network's second reaction to the denial of service (DoS) attacks (September/October 2016), which included:

  • Improving opcode pricing to avoid future network attacks.

  • allowing for a "debloat" of the blockchain state.

  • Increasing security against possible protocol vulnerabilities.

Byzantium Fork - 2018

The Byzantium Fork:

  • The incentive for mining blocks has been lowered from 5 to 3 ETH.

  • The difficulty bomb has been delayed by a year.

  • It is now possible to make non-state-changing calls to other contracts.

  • Layer 2 scalability has been enabled by the addition of certain encryption techniques.

Istanbul Fork - 2019

The Istanbul fork:

  • The gas cost of various activities has been minimized in the EVM.

  • Increased resistance to denial-of-service assaults.

  • Layer 2 scaling approaches based on SNARKs and STARKs now function better.

  • Ethereum and Zcash may now communicate with one another.

  • Contracts were given the ability to include more inventive functionalities.

Beacon Chain Update - 2020

To deploy successfully, the Beacon Chain needs 16384 deposits of 32 staked ETH. This happened on November 27, suggesting that the Beacon Chain started generating blocks on December 1, 2020. This is an important first step in achieving the Ethereum objective.

London Update

The London update featured EIP-1559, which reformed the transaction fee market, as well as changes to how gas refunds are handled and the Ice Age timetable.

Arrow Glacier Update - 2021

The Arrow Glacier network update pushed delayed the difficulty bomb by many months. This is the only change introduced in this update, which is analogous to the Muir Glacier upgrade in nature. Similarly, network enhancements in Byzantium, Constantinople, and London have been modified.

Gray Glacier Network Upgrade

The Gray Glacier network upgrade pushed back the difficulty bomb by three months. This is the only change in this upgrade, which is similar to the Arrow Glacier and Muir Glacier improvements. Similarly, network enhancements in Byzantium, Constantinople, and London have been modified.

Bellatrix Upgrade

The Bellatrix update was the second scheduled upgrade for the Beacon Chain, preparing it for The Merge. It restores the full amount of validator penalties for laziness and slashable offences. Bellatrix also contains an update to the fork selection criteria to prepare the chain for The Merge and the transition from the final proof-of-work block to the first proof-of-stake block. This entails alerting consensus clients of the terminal total difficulty of 58750000000000000000000.

The Paris Upgrade (The Merge)- 2022

The Paris upgrade was triggered when the proof-of-work blockchain hit a terminal total difficulty of 58750000000000000000000. This happened on September 15, 2022, in block 15537393, kicking off the Paris upgrade to the next block. The Merge transition was marked by the rejection of the proof-of-work mining algorithm and associated consensus reasoning in favour of proof-of-stake.

The Shanghai Upgrade (TBD)

The Shanghai upgrade, for which Shandong will serve as the testnet, is expected for 2023. It will be the first upgrade to Ethereum since the Merge in September when Ethereum transitioned from a proof-of-work consensus mechanism to a proof-of-stake consensus process.

Certain Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIP) now being considered for inclusion in Shanghai may relieve certain efficiency and scalability difficulties. EIP 4895 is the most anticipated proposal since it would allow users who have staked ether (ETH) on the Beacon Chain to withdraw their investment as well as any rewards they have won over time.

Ethereum Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1) What was the starting price of Ethereum?

Ans: Ether, which was founded in 2015 by computer engineer Vitalik Buterin, has risen in price from $0.311 at its inception in 2015 to about $4,800 at its peak late last year — with plenty of turbulence along the way.

Q2) Is Ethereum better than Bitcoin?

Ans: The primary distinction between Ethereum and Bitcoin is that Ethereum is programmable. This functionality broadens Ethereum's reach, making it more than just digital money. It turns Ethereum into a marketplace for financial services, games, and applications. However, both crypto has their pros and cons.

Q3) When was Ethereum founded?

Ans: In 2015, Ethereum was launched, with 72 million tokens generated. These first tokens were distributed to people who contributed to the initial project and continue to account for around 65% of the currencies in the system as of December 2022.

Q4) Who invented Ethereum?

Ans: Ethereum was created by Vitalik Buterin and built by a small team of programmers as an attempt to technically enhance Bitcoin by generating new blocks every few seconds rather than every 10 minutes, using Ethash as the hash function, and utilizing Smart Contracts.

Q5) How many Ethereum coins are there

Ans: Because there is no hard-coded maximum supply limit in the system, the number of Ethereum is technically infinite.



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