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DEFINITION of 'Ethereum'

Launched in 2015, Ethereum is a decentralized software platform that enables SmartContracts and Distributed Applications (ĐApps) to be built and run without any downtime, fraud, control or interference from a third party. Ethereum is not just a platform but also a programming language (Turing complete) running on a blockchain, helping developers to build and publish distributed applications. The potential applications of Ethereum are wide ranging.

BREAKING DOWN 'Ethereum'

The applications on Ethereum are run on its platform-specific cryptographic token, ether. During 2014, Ethereum had launched a pre-sale for ether which had received an overwhelming response. Ether is like a vehicle for moving around on the Ethereum platform, and is sought by mostly developers looking to develop and run applications inside Ethereum. Ether is used broadly for two purposes, it is traded as a digital currency exchange like other cryptocurrencies and is used inside Ethereum to run applications and even to monetize work. The current market cap of ether (ETH) is now more than Ripple and Litecoin although its far behind bitcoin (BTC).

[ Ethereum is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies after Bitcoin, but unlike Bitcoin, it forms the foundation of many other cryptocurrencies through initial coin offerings. If you're interested in learning more about cryptocurrencies, Investopedia's Cryptocurrencies for Beginners Course will teach you everything you need to know to get up to speed. Fintech entrepreneur Lex Sokolin covers a wide range of topics, including blockchains, initial coin offerings, and major players. ]

According to Ethereum, it can be used to “codify, decentralize, secure and trade just about anything.” One of the big projects around Ethereum is Microsoft’s partnership with ConsenSys which offers “Ethereum Blockchain as a Service (EBaaS) on Microsoft Azure so Enterprise clients and developers can have a single click cloud based blockchain developer environment.”

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