WHAT IS ETHEREUM?
The foundation for our digital future
Ethereum is open access to digital money and data-friendly services for everyone – no matter your background or location. It's a community-built technology behind the cryptocurrency ether (ETH) and thousands of applications you can use today.
Ethereum is a technology that lets you send cryptocurrency to anyone for a small fee. It also powers applications that everyone can use and no one can take down.
It's the world's programmable blockchain.
Ethereum builds on Bitcoin's innovation, with some big differences.
Both let you use digital money without payment providers or banks. But Ethereum is programmable, so you can also use it for lots of different digital assets – even Bitcoin!
This also means Ethereum is for more than payments. It's a marketplace of financial services, games and apps that can't steal your data or censor you.
So step into the bazaar and give it a try...
Currency for our digital future
What's unique about ETH?
There are many cryptocurrencies and lots of other tokens on Ethereum, but there are some things that only ETH can do.
ETH fuels and secures Ethereum
ETH is the lifeblood of Ethereum. When you send ETH or use an Ethereum application, you'll pay a small fee in ETH to use the Ethereum network. This fee is an incentive for a miner to process and verify what you're trying to do.
Miners are like the record-keepers of Ethereum – they check and prove that no one is cheating. Miners who do this work are also rewarded with small amounts of newly-issued ETH.
The work miners do keeps Ethereum secure and free of centralized control. In other words, ETH powers Ethereum. More on Mining.
ETH will become even more important with staking. When you stake your ETH you'll be able to help secure Ethereum and earn rewards. In this system, the threat of losing your ETH disincentivises attacks. More on staking.
What is Ethereum?
If you'd like to learn more about Ethereum, the technology behind ETH, check out our introduction.
ETH underpins the Ethereum financial system
Not satisfied with payments, the Ethereum community is building a whole financial system that's peer-to-peer and accessible to everyone.
You can use ETH as collateral to generate entirely different cryptocurrency tokens on Ethereum. Plus you can borrow, lend and earn interest on ETH and other ETH-backed tokens.
Uses for ETH grow every day
Because Ethereum is programmable, developers can shape ETH in countless ways.
Back in 2015, all you could do was send ETH from one Ethereum account to another... Right now, you can stream ETH to pay someone or receive funds in real time. You can seamlessly trade ETH with other tokens including Bitcoin. You can even earn interest on your ETH.
The key to your digital future
Ethereum wallets are applications that let you interact with your Ethereum account. Think of it like an internet banking app – without the bank. Your wallet lets you read
your balance, send transactions and connect to applications.
You need a wallet to send funds and manage your ETH.
Your wallet is only a tool for managing your Ethereum account. That means you can swap wallet providers at any time. Many wallets also let you manage several Ethereum accounts from one application.
That's because wallets don't have custody of your funds, you do. They're just a tool for managing what's really yours.
Use Ethereum Applications
What makes Ethereum dapps different?
Applications built on Ethereum (dapps) can do things regular apps can't:
- Create new kinds of money and digital assets
- Web apps that are unstoppable and uncensorable
- Build decentralized organizations, property, or virtual worlds that are governed collectively
Dapps on Ethereum are web applications backed by Ethereum smart contracts. Instead of using a centralized server or database, these applications rely on the blockchain as a backend for program logic and storage. This leads to potentially unstoppable applications: anyone can deploy a copy of the frontend, and freely connect it to the public Ethereum network.
How to use an application built on Ethereum
The best way to get started with Ethereum is to jump right in!
Here are just a few apps built on Ethereum - we rotate this list frequently!
- Augur, The world’s most accessible, no-limit betting exchange
- Gitcoin, a network of incentivized open-source developers
- Gods Unchained, a competitive collectible card game
- Dharma, the easiest way to earn interest on your cryptocurrency
- DAI, a stable cryptocurrency that holds value at $1 USD
- Decentraland, a virtual world owned and built by its users
- Ethereum Name Service, user-friendly names for cryptocurrency addresses, decentralized websites, and more
- Cent, a social network where you can earn money by posting
Interested in looking at more applications built on Ethereum?
- Built on Ethereum Updated often - EthHub
- 90+ Ethereum Apps You Can Use Right Now April 24, 2019 - ConsenSys
- Ethereum Dapps Updated often - State of the Dapps
- Ethereum DeFi Ecosystem Updated often - Defiprime
- DeFi Pulse Analytics + rankings of DeFi protocols - Defi Pulse
Some Ethereum applications require a wallet - learn about Ethereum wallets here.
Some Ethereum applications will require ETH - learn about ETH and how to get it here.
Page content provided in part from Building a Dapp by OpenZeppelin