The Ethereum Blockchain - An Introduction

Introduction

 
In this article, I will try to explain the Ethereum Blockchain.
 
Prerequisites
 
Before reading this article, I would recommend that you have basic knowledge of Blockchain. 
 
Here, I will provide a link to my article about Blockchain.

What is Ethereum? 

 
Ethereum is an open-source, programmable blockchain platform that developers use to build new kinds of decentralized Blockchain applications. It was launched in July 2015 by Vitalik Buterin and his team. It implements the blockchain paradigm where the records of digital transactions are kept permanently in a public database. Like Bitcoin, it has its own native cryptocurrency called "Ether".
 
Numerous applications are running as third-party applications that run based on Centralized platform that holds our data, which can be easily tampered or falsified if someone wishes to change it.
 
Examples of some of the third-party applications: Uber, Flipkart, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
 
Ethereum can be used to build those centralized third-party applications into decentralized applications that actually cut out the middleman. This ultimately leads to lower costs for the user. 
 

Bitcoin vs Ethereum 

  • Ethereum is extended from Bitcoin.
  • While Bitcoin is used only for the money-based transactions, Ethereum allows both money based transactions and contract-based transactions.
  • Using Bitcoin, one person can transfer money to another. Ethereum can perform automatic transactions of money or any kind of value only when certain conditions are met. 
The condition may involve:
    • Some evaluations
    • A specific time or date that the transaction should occur, etc.
  • These conditions can be specified through something called "Smart Contracts"
  • Ethereum is used to build dapps - decentralized applications and smart contracts, while Bitcoin is only used for money-based transactions.

Smart Contracts

 
The word contract specifies a written or spoken agreement. The smart contracts make the contracts a digitized one. 
 
Smart Contracts are usually a piece of code based on which the transactions will occur automatically. The execution of a Smart Contract is initiated by a message embedded in the transaction. Smart contracts resemble a class definition in Object-Oriented design. The specific programming language used for coding Smart Contracts is "Solidity".
 
Here I have provided an example of a Smart Contract condition for the House rent payment system.
The transaction will occur only when the specified conditions in the Smart Contracts are met.
 

Some of the Ethereum applications

  • uPort (Identity Management System)
  • Golem (Computing Storage rent system)
  • Akasha (Decentralized social media)
  • InstaDApp (Decentralized bank)
  • OpenLaw (Smart legal contracts and agreements)
  • Peepeth (Similar to Twitter, but decentralized)

Summary

 
Smart Contracts have made Ethereum one of the most famous Blockchain platforms. In this article, you have learned a small introduction to Ethereum. In my next article, I will explain the workings of Ethereum. Thanks for reading this article.