1. What Is Ethereum?
Proposed by Vitalik Buterin in 2013, Ethereum is an open platform technology with a decentralized public blockchain. Developers can build and launch their own decentralized applications, or DAPPS, using smart contracts. The tradeable token of the Ethereum blockchain is known as Ether or ETH on cryptocurrency exchanges.
Similarly to how a car needs fuel to function, The Ethereum platform also needs fuel to work properly. That fuel is known as Ether. Ether is the incentive system that encourages miners and developers to maintain the platform.
2. Smart Contracts
Like many other cryptocurrencies, Ethereum utilises blockchain technology to function. However, it also utilizes what are known as smart contracts.
Smart contracts are simply agreements that once met, will result in the execution of the contents of the contract. For example, if you want to purchase a house, this process would involve multiple third parties such as estate agents and lawyers who would settle the purchase for you. However, with the use of a smart contract, the process need only involve the buyer and the seller. Once all the conditions are met, the smart contract would execute, and the money would be transferred to the seller’s bank account.
3. Decentralized Applications (DAPPS)
If the Ethereum blockchain is a decentralized app store, the applications built ontop of the blockchain would be the decentralized apps.
Centralized applications such as, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter, require the flow of information to be controlled from a single center. All users of these applications are dependent on a single entity to send and receive information. However, with a decentralized application, this is not the case. A user of a decentralized application does not need to depend on a central entity in-order to send or receive information.
An example of a decentralized application being created is Eth-Tweet. A decentralized blogging platform that runs on the Ethereum blockchain providing functionality similar to Twitter. However, because it is decentralized, no centrallized entity controls what is being published.
4. Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA)
The EEA is a non-profit organisation that aims to connect Fortune 500 companies, academics, research groups and blockchain start-ups, with the goal of further integrating the use of smart contracts into real world processes.
There are over 150 members in the EEA as of July 2017. Members include: J.P. Morgan, Microsoft, Intel and MasterCard.