Simar Marwaha
    Simar Marwaha
    Published on November 10, 2022 12:45 PM

    Updated on January 26, 2023 9:49 AM

    At its root, Ethereum is a decentralised global software platform driven by blockchain technology. Ether (ETH) is the native currency of the Ethereum Blockchain.
    Source: Forbes

    Ethereum is a worldwide decentralised software platform based on blockchain technology. Most people are familiar with it because of its native cryptocurrency, Ether (ETH). Blockchain technology is used by Ethereum, an open-source public service, to enable safe cryptocurrency trade and smart contracts without the need for a middleman. In terms of overall market cap, Ethereum is the second-largest cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin. Anyone at all may design any safe digital technology using Ethereum.

    On July 30, 2015, the Ethereum project went live thanks to an online crowdsale, a kind of crowdfunding in which cryptocurrency tokens are issued.

    Essential Elements of Ethereum

    1. Blockchain Technology
      Like other cryptocurrencies, Ethereum makes use of blockchain technology. A network of automated systems that come to an agreement on the integrity of transaction data authenticates this blockchain. The blockchain cannot be altered unless the network as a whole agrees to do so. It is quite safe because of this. A consensus mechanism, which is sometimes known as a PoS algorithm, is used to achieve consensus. With the proof-of-stake method, which Ethereum employs, a network of users known as validators creates new blocks and collaborates to validate the data they contain.
    2. Smart Contracts
      A smart contract is a straightforward computer programme that makes it easier for two parties to trade any asset. You may desire to swap money, stocks, real estate, or any other kind of digital asset. These contracts can be made by any user on the Ethereum network. The terms and conditions that were mutually agreed upon by the parties, also known as peers, make up the majority of the contract. Any transaction made on top of a smart contract is permanently recorded, which is its main benefit. Any smart contract execution on Ethereum is decentralised since the smart contract verification is carried out by anonymous network participants without the requirement for a centralised authority.
    3. Ethereum Virtual Machine
      The engine that comprehends smart contracts, which are written in the Solidity language for Ethereum, is known as the EVM, or Ethereum Virtual Machine. In essence, you may install your stand-alone environment, which can serve as a testing and development environment, as EVM is run in a sandbox environment. It is primarily intended to function as a runtime environment for assembling and delivering smart contracts built on Ethereum. As soon as your smart contract is created in Solidity, it is translated into bytecode and deployed on the EVM, providing security against hacker assaults.
    4. Proof-of-Stake Approach
      Ethereum employs proof-of-stake, in which validators voluntarily stake money in the form of ETH into an Ethereum-based smart contract. In the event that the validator acts dishonestly or carelessly, this staked ETH serves as collateral that may be lost. In order to penalise dishonest validators, their staked ETH is burnt, and they are also removed from the network. Sending cryptocurrency to a wallet without keys is referred to as "burning," which removes it from circulation.
    5. Ethereum Token
      The cryptocurrency used by Ethereum is called ETH. It serves as the network's fuel. It is used to cover the transaction fees and computational costs associated with every transaction carried out on the Ethereum network. Ether may be used to purchase gas, which is required to process every transaction completed on the Ethereum network, in addition to paying for transactions. Ether may also be used to create decentralised applications, smart contracts, and conventional peer-to-peer transfers.

    Ethereum Genesis

    Since its inception, Ethereum has been based on a system of open transactions. 2013 saw the creation of Ethereum by programmer Vitalik Buterin. Gavin Wood, Charles Hoskinson, Anthony Di Iorio, and Joseph Lubin were other Ethereum founders. In an effort to address Bitcoin's drawbacks, Ethereum was introduced.

    With Smart Contracts and Dapps, which provide more blockchain possibilities than Bitcoin originally, Ethereum set out to create a decentralised platform that would inspire the developer community to build upon what was at the time new technology. These features were missing from Bitcoin. The fact that Ethereum supports both permissioned and permissionless transactions is one of its major characteristics.

    Following a preliminary fundraising effort, Ethereum was introduced in 2015 and 72 million coins were minted. The people who contributed to the inaugural project funding received these initial coins.

    Ethereum trailed Bitcoin in market capitalization in 2018 and has remained strong thereafter, despite having a terrible start to this year when it suffered losses to hackers.

    How does Ethereum work?

    Pay great attention to this section since the Elements of Ethereum outlined above are crucial to how Ethereum functions.

    The Ethereum network is made possible by people acting as "nodes," as opposed to a centralised server, on thousands of computers throughout the world. As a result, the network is decentralised, very resistant to assaults, and basically impervious to failure. It makes little difference if one computer fails because the network can function without hundreds of others.

    In essence, Ethereum is a single decentralised infrastructure that powers the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). Every node has a copy of that computer, therefore all interactions must be confirmed before any updates can be made to anyone's copy. 

    Otherwise known as "transactions," network interactions are recorded as blocks on the Ethereum blockchain. Before committing them to the network and serving as a transaction history, miners verify these blocks.

    Through the use of randomly chosen validators, PoS, a cryptocurrency consensus process utilised by Ethereum, confirms transactions and generates new blocks. For instance, 50 ETH must be staked before a person may become a validator on Ethereum. When a certain number of validators confirm that a block is accurate, it is completed and closed. Blocks are confirmed by many validators.

    The whole Ethereum network is open to the public. To validate the modification and add the finished blocks to everyone's copy of the ledger, miners broadcast the blocks to the rest of the network. Confirmed blocks operate as a complete record of all network transactions since they cannot be altered.

    Why Ethereum?

    The following are the primary justifications for investing in Ethereum and why, in our opinion, it is a wise decision when compared to many other cryptocurrencies.

    1. Private and Secure: Users can maintain their confidentiality when utilising the network for trades. To utilise an Ethereum application, they don't have to input their personal information. Ethereum is made to be impossible to hack, much like any other decentralised blockchain-based network. To take advantage of the network, hackers would need to gain control over the majority of the nodes.
    2. Decentralized: Since Ethereum is decentralised, external providers of cloud-based services are not a factor. Peer-to-peer transactions are made possible through the usage of blockchain. In contrast to certain other software systems, which frequently need confidence in a centralized authority, users can trade value or store data without the requirement for an intermediary.
    3. Permissionless: Ethereum is a permissionless blockchain, which allows for open participation. In contrast, permissioned blockchains are only accessible to certain individuals.

    Ethereum v/s Bitcoin

    These days, there is increasing interest in the debate between Bitcoin and Ethereum. Bitcoin has become a very famous and well-known cryptocurrency all over the world. Among all currently accessible cryptocurrencies, it also has the greatest market valuation. Although Ethereum is not far behind Bitcoin in terms of popularity, it is now trading at $1,178 as of the time of writing this article, whereas Bitcoin is currently trading at $16,522.

    Bitcoin vs Ethereum: The Better Cryptocurrency For A Smart Investment

    Source: Analytics Insight

    In order to assist you better comprehend the two and make your own decision, let's discuss some of the main features that set the two cryptocurrencies apart.

    1. Origin: Satoshi Nakamoto introduced the first cryptocurrency, called Bitcoin, in 2009. In contrast, Ethereum was introduced in 2015 by researcher and programmer Vitalik Buterin, as was previously mentioned.
    2. Technical Concept: Bitcoin facilitates peer-to-peer transactions. It functions as a substitute for fiat currency but lacks all the drawbacks of that currency. In the case of Ethereum, it also permits peer-to-peer transactions and offers a platform for developing distributed apps and smart contracts.
    3. Mining Process: With the Proof-of-Work algorithm, miners can approve transactions in the Bitcoin network. Ethereum, however, uses a process known as Proof-of-Stake. PoW mining requires expensive energy and equipment, which restricts who may mine and increases the blockchain's security. Blockchains using a PoS model require less computing power to verify blocks and transactions.
    4. Time and Transaction Rate: In Bitcoin, it takes 10 minutes on average to add a block to the blockchain. It simply takes 12 to 15 seconds with Ethereum. Furthermore, the Ethereum network can handle about 30 transactions per second, compared to Bitcoin's average of seven transactions per second.
    5. Fee: In Bitcoin, transaction fees are completely optional. The miner will process your transaction regardless of whether you pay a fee or not. On the other hand, in order for your transaction to be complete on Ethereum, you must pay some Ether. Your offered Ether will be transformed into a gas-based unit. The processing necessary to add your transaction to the blockchain is powered by this gas. It is an Ethereum conspiracy.
    6. Numerical Pointers: There are presently more over 19 million Bitcoins and 120 million Ether in circulation, respectively. Additionally, the current block size for Bitcoin is 1,268 kilobytes and for Ethereum is 94 kilobytes. Most notably, Bitcoin's market capitalization is $356.52B billion whereas Ethereum's is just $163.27B.

    Ethereum Merge

    The Merge was the union of two systems at the time: the Proof-of-Stake system and the Ethereum Mainnet. With this merger, the Ethereum blockchain's proof-of-work mechanism was changed to a proof-of-stake system.

    Ethereum has officially shifted to a PoS mechanism as of mid-September 2022. It gave rise to Ethereum 2.0, a new iteration of the cryptocurrency.
    With the transition, the whole blockchain has been switched to new proof-of-stake (PoS) validator nodes, which cost 32 ETH to join. Investors' access to Ether tokens won't change at all, and Ethereum-based apps should continue to run as usual. 

    The Ethereum community determined that switching from a proof-of-work to a proof-of-stake consensus method was advantageous years ago. The Ethereum community established the "Beacon Chain," a testing environment for proof-of-stake consensus that operates alongside and in conjunction with the main Ethereum chain, on December 1, 2020, after working through a number of suggestions and technical challenges.

    On this Beacon Chain, there are more than 400,000 validators who have bet more than $23 billion in ether altogether. The Beacon Chain was integrated into the Ethereum main chain during the second week of September 2022, and proof-of-stake has since taken over. Proof-of-work is now no longer present on the Ethereum main chain.

    The following are some advantages of PoS over PoW:

    1. By reducing the hardware requirements for node operators, more decentralisation would be achieved.
    2. Faster transaction confirmations, despite a same total speed.
    3. Reduced energy use by node validators by 99%+.
    4. The capacity to include more scalability solutions.
    5. Variety of clients will increase security and make ETH a more deflationary asset.

    Since the Merge marks a fundamental change in how the Ethereum blockchain operates, it is the biggest change in a blockchain's core functionality in recorded history. The Merge has several, unanticipated effects, which we have discussed in more detail in previous pieces.

    Shangai Upgrade 

    The Merge is only the first in a planned sequence of enhancements to the Ethereum blockchain. The Shanghai makeover comes next. Ethereum anticipates experiencing the "surge," "verge," and "purge" after Shanghai.

    The surge is due to the use of a "sharding" technique, which is anticipated to improve Ethereum's maximum transaction processing pace from the current 15-20 transactions per second to over 100,000 transactions per second.

    The verge, which is the planned implementation of the "Verkle trees" mathematical proof, will let blockchain nodes to function without downloading the whole chain's history.

    Legacy data on chain will finally be deleted as a result of the purge. These three improvements taken together will provide a blockchain that is smaller, more user-friendly, and significantly quicker. It will provide Ethereum the essential functionality, and it should be available by September 2023 at the latest.

    Future Prospects for Ethereum

    As part of a substantial update, Ethereum is switching to the proof-of-stake protocol, which enables users to confirm transactions and create new ETH depending on their ether holdings. Ethereum now has two levels, though. Transactions and validations take place at the execution layer, which is the first layer. Consensus is the second layer, where attestations and the consensus chain are kept up to date.

    According to market capitalization, Ethereum is the second-most valued cryptocurrency and is viewed as the silver to Bitcoin's gold. Like any investment, there's a chance that Ethereum's higher risk will also result in higher profits.

    Due to the current increase in interest in the Ethereum blockchain, both experts and analysts anticipate that Ethereum's predicted growth will reach extremely high levels. With the growing adoption of cryptocurrencies, Ethereum has incredible potential over the next years. But in the end, it's a cryptocurrency, and they're all extremely risky and unpredictable.