What is Ethereum?

Ethereum is the next generation in blockchain technology. It’s a decentralized digital platform that has been designed from the ground-up to enable decentralized applications. And how is Ethereum different from Bitcoin? For starters, developers are choosing this platform because it’s easier to program advanced applications on Ethereum as opposed to Bitcoin.

Uh... so what does all that mean, and why?

Bitcoin’s blockchain is considered more primordial when it comes to Ethereum and how it behaves. Bitcoin’s genesis was mainly constructed to be a peer-to-peer currency and financial network. After its creation, it’s been overlaid with additional services that are stretching its capabilities. Protocols have been “built on top” of Bitcoin’s blockchain which simply make it not designed to support every transaction for every possible use-case scenario. And by transactions, please don’t be confused. We don’t mean transactions strictly in the financial sense. Transactions are a written or recorded account of an interaction between two parties. Be it an agreement or an exchange of information- they are transactions. Therefore, Bitcoin is limited with its financial origination since its transaction base is strictly in the currency sense. Since Ethereum was designed from the ground-up to handle more than just financial transactions, it’s not overlaid with protocols, weakening it.

Think of an old bridge across a chasm made out of ropes and a few logs. It’s created to only withstand a certain amount of weight- a single person may cross one at a time. But as time goes on this becomes unreasonable, and people realize they need the ability to have multiple people cross, or be able to carry not just themselves, but their cargo. So they decide to fortify the bridge by adding more ropes and logs. Yet this only works for the interim, because you can only add so many more logs, or knots of rope, for only so long. Inevitably this will cause the bridge to become weaker and more vulnerable to snapping. Because with added supplies, this decreases its resilience and flexibility. Worst case scenario: Eventually that bridge snaps with the added weight of material and extra people because its original infrastructure wasn’t meant for either.

But say another bridge was built to go over that other bridge, allowing two ways of transit and less burdening materials on the first bridge. The materials may even be different, and perhaps the bridge was even created to extend or expand in width. Sounds like a pretty smart bridge, right? Right.

Basically Ethereum is this more versatile idea of a bridge and Bitcoin is the original player. While the wooden one is still standing, and will always stay up to serve its true, intended purpose, it cannot move beyond that. Its versatility is limited and that Bitcoin-bridge will always remain a financial player. But to think that Bitcoin is the only needed cryptocurrency/blockchain implies a lack of understanding for the field of cryptography-based computer science; it certainly is not the only currency needed in our digital and virtual realm. This huge crypto-world enables us to create and do more, and Ethereum is a platform that will help us get it done. While Bitcoin has created the entryway, Ethereum will build our house.

Brianne Rivlin

Brianne Rivlin has been writing within the internet field for over six years. For more than a year of that time, she has been heavily inundated with the blockchain, virtual currency, and Ethereum technology. Read More
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