Ethereum is an open-source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform featuring smart contract functionality.
Open-source software is computer software with its source code made available with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.
A blockchain – originally block chain – is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography.
A smart contract is a computer protocol intended to facilitate, verify, or enforce the negotiation or performance of a contract.
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It provides a decentralized Turing-complete virtual machine, the Ethereum Virtual Machine, which can execute scripts using an international network of public nodes.
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Ethereum also provides a cryptocurrency token called "ether", which can be transferred between accounts and used to compensate participant nodes for computations performed.
A cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency.
"Gas", an internal transaction pricing mechanism, is used to mitigate spam and allocate resources on the network.
Ethereum was proposed in late 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, a cryptocurrency researcher and programmer.
Vitalik Buterin is a Russian-Canadian programmer and writer primarily known as a co-founder of Ethereum and as a co-founder of Bitcoin Magazine.
Development was funded by an online crowdsale during July–August 2014.
The system went live on 30 July 2015.
In 2016 Ethereum was forked into two blockchains, as a result of the collapse of The DAO project, thereby creating Ethereum Classic.