Ethereum (ETH) is an open-source distributed blockchain that has smart contract functionality. It operates as a decentralized virtual machine which can execute scripts and be used to transfer ether between different nodes. Although ether is the name of the token which is sent on the Ethereum blockchain, many people also refer to it as Ethereum. As a consequence, ether and Ethereum are often used interchangeably. Ethereum was developed by Vitalik Buterin and launched using a crowdsale in 2014. This is generally regarded as having been the first cryptocurrency ICO (Initial Coin Offering) even though this term wasn’t in use at the time. Since its launch, Ethereum has grown to become the second largest blockchain after Bitcoin in terms of market cap and has spawned an entire market of tokens which can be transacted on the Ethereum blockchain like ether. Although ether can be used as a currency, it is more commonly used to execute smart contracts.
The total supply of ether was Ξ100 million as of June 2018. In 2017, mining generated 9.2 million new ether, corresponding to a 10% increase in its total supply. Casper FFG and CBC are expected to reduce the inflation rate to between 0.5% to 2%. There is no currently implemented hard cap on the total supply of ETH, but it is expected to end at a certain point, and become deflationary.
The first decentralized cryptocurrency, bitcoin, was created in 2009 by pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto. It used SHA-256, a cryptographic hash function, as its proof-of-work scheme. In April 2011, Namecoin was created as an attempt at forming a decentralized DNS, which would make internet censorship very difficult. Soon after, in October 2011, Litecoin was released. It was the first successful cryptocurrency to use scrypt as its hash function instead of SHA-256. Another notable cryptocurrency, Peercoin was the first to use a proof-of-work/proof-of-stake hybrid.
CEX is one of those international bitcoin exchanges accepting euros, British pounds, US dollars, Russian Rubles, Ethereum, Zcash, and Dash. Needless to say, CEX is very popular within those currency regions. There is a no-nonsense landing page, giving you the option to buy or sell 100, 200, 500, or 1000 USD worth of Bitcoin. I like the transparency given to users about how much they will actually pay - even before they sign up. Good security practices, a modern and simple user interface, and both bank transfer & credit card purchases are available. CEX is indeed a good beginner-optimized alternative to Coinbase. Read the comprehensive Cex review for more details including fees, verification, & security.
Jump up ^ Iansiti, Marco; Lakhani, Karim R. (January 2017). "The Truth About Blockchain". Harvard Business Review. Harvard University. Retrieved 2017-01-17. The technology at the heart of bitcoin and other virtual currencies, blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.
That said, exchanges like Mt. Gox act as intermediaries for currency transactions, converting wealth from Bitcoin to US dollars to other national currencies, back to dollars or Bitcoin. And that's how you make money. By exploiting the constantly shifting relative values of various currencies, savvy investors can make a tidy sum simply from moving money around these markets, in a process known as arbitrage. But they can lose it just as easily.
Buterin and Joseph Poon (a co-author of Bitcoin's Lightning Network whitepaper) announced in 2017 their plan to launch a scaling solution called Plasma which creates "child" blockchains to the "main" parent blockchain. The plasma project has skeptics; specifically, Vlad Zamfir (Ethereum's lead researcher on proof of stake) has publicly questioned the plasma project's viability.
The Ethereum Platform rests on open-source software, and there is a risk that the Ethereum Stiftung or the Ethereum Team, or other third parties not directly affiliated with the Stiftung Ethereum, may introduce weaknesses or bugs into the core infrastructural elements of the Ethereum Platform causing the system to lose ETH stored in one or more User accounts or other accounts or lose sums of other valued tokens issued on the Ethereum Platform.