What Is Ethereum and Where Can I Buy it?

Ethereum is both one of the most important blockchain-powered platforms and one of the most valuable cryptocurrencies in the world. Even if you don’t know exactly what it is, you’ve likely heard people refer to it as a new frontier of technology.

Originally conceptualized in 2013 and launched in 2015, there’s currently about 119.4 million ETH coins in circulation. If you’re not already familiar with the world of cryptocurrency, it can be intimidating to dive in and start learning. There’s a lot of jargon and highly-specialized knowledge out there.

That’s why we’ve written this article: to help get you oriented and teach you the basics about what Ethereum is and how you can buy it. Keep reading to discover more about this fascinating innovation.

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum Artwork

(Source: Ethereum.org)

Ethereum is a platform that came to be in the wake of the Bitcoin revolution. It’s powered by blockchain technology and is most commonly used as an infrastructure to build decentralized applications, also known as dapps.

Once someone creates a dapp and releases it on Ethereum, no single person controls it… not even the original programmer. Instead, the thousands of computers that make up Ethereum’s network ensure that the dapp continues to operate as it should.

Ultimately, Ethereum’s goal is full internet decentralization.

Ethereum is a platform that came to be in the wake of the Bitcoin revolution. It’s powered by blockchain technology and is most commonly used as an infrastructure to build decentralized applications, also known as dapps.

Once someone creates a dapp and releases it on Ethereum, no single person controls it… not even the original programmer. Instead, the thousands of computers that make up Ethereum’s network ensure that the dapp continues to operate as it should.

Ultimately, Ethereum’s goal is full internet decentralization.

The Ethereum platform also has its own cryptocurrency called Ether or ETH (or ETC, but more on that later). It’s used for transactions on the Ethereum platform and also incentivizes people to run Ethereum on their computers.

Note: Many people confuse the terms Ethereum and Ether (ETH). Remember, if you’re talking about the platform, it’s Ethereum. If you’re talking about the cryptocurrency, it’s Ether.

Where can I buy Ether (ETH)?

Crypto Price

(Source: CoinMarketCap)

If you keep up to date with cryptocurrency value and future price predictions, you probably already know that Ether is second only to Bitcoin on the market.

Ether is the second largest cryptocurrency in the world if we’re talking about market capitalization. As of February 1, 2022:

  • Bitcoin is valued at $38,902.19 USD with a market cap of $735 billion.
  • Ether is valued at $2,782.06 USD with a market cap of $332 billion.

Whether you’re interested in trying your hand at cryptocurrency investment or simply want to buy some ETH to use on Ethereum’s platform, there are many different ways you can purchase it.

Your three main options are:

  • Buying from centralized exchanges
  • Buying from decentralized exchanges (also known as peer-to-peer)
  • Buying from certain digital walletsMoonPay

If you’re just starting out in the crypto world, it’ll be easiest for you to buy Ether from a centralized exchange like Moonpay. They make it simple to buy any kind of cryptocurrency, all while ensuring the security of your transaction. Buy ETH on Moonpay and you’ll realize just how accessible cryptocurrency can be.

Let’s talk about Ether vs. Bitcoin

bitcoin-ethereum

Since Ether and Bitcoin are arguably the two biggest names in the cryptocurrency world, they’re often compared to each other. Let’s take a moment to consider their biggest similarities and differences.

Ether vs. Bitcoin similarities

    • They’re cut from the same cloth. In other words, they’re both decentralized cryptocurrencies that aren’t regulated by any central institution or authority and operate with blockchain technology.
  • They’re both seen as the future of currency. While Ether and Bitcoin aren’t exactly the same, experts would generally agree that they both represent a new financial frontier.
  • They can both be bought and sold on online exchanges or directly from peers, as well as kept in virtual wallets.
  • They both have widespread network adoption. This is what makes these two cryptocurrencies so valuable. The Ethereum platform has a very active group of users who make large transactions on it daily. Bitcoin adoption is more institutional, but equally as important. 
  • They both consume a lot of energy, which is something Bitcoin and Ethereum are looking at improving in the future.

Ether vs. Bitcoin differences

Without a doubt, the biggest difference between Ether and Bitcoin is their ultimate goal. Rather than existing in competition with one another, they’re complementary. Ethereum adopted Bitcoin’s key innovations, adapted them to their own needs, and took the overall technology to the next level.

Bitcoin was the grandfather of cryptocurrency, but it was only ever meant to be that… a currency. Ethereum is a lot more than just a currency, in fact, it’s a whole new realm of the digital universe.

As Benzinga puts it: “Bitcoin is digital gold, while Ethereum is a digital universe.”

Ethereum goes far beyond decentralized payments because it has created a way for users to develop programs and applications on top of them.

Here are some more notable differences between Ether and Bitcoin:

  • Bitcoin came first. Bitcoin was founded in 2008, whereas Ethereum came later, in 2015.
  • We know who founded Ethereum. Several different people are credited with founding Ethereum, but its conceptualization is credited to programmer Vitalik Buterin. On the other hand, it isn’t so clear who was initially behind Bitcoin in the first place. Bitcoin’s famous white paper is credited to Satoshi Nakamoto, but that’s just a pseudonym that could refer to one or several people. It’s all a bit of a mystery.
  • There’s a maximum number of possible Bitcoins. There can only be 21 million Bitcoins in circulation. Conversely, there can be an unlimited amount of Ether, even though the amount of time it takes to process ETH adds some logistical limits.
  • Transactions are faster on Ethereum, but they come with associated processing fees that have to be paid by users. The Bitcoin network offers relatively cheaper transaction fees as it has few transactions to process.

How did Ethereum come to be?

Ethereum solidity

Ethereum’s creation is credited to a whole group of people, including Gavin Wood, Charles Hoskinson, Anthony Di Iorio, and Joseph Lubin. Nevertheless, most regard Vitalik Buterin as the main founder because he came up with the concept and wrote the Ethereum white paper in 2013.

Ethereum didn’t truly get off the ground until its first launch in 2015. In order to make that happen, Ethereum’s founders set up a crowdfunding campaign that ended up raising over $18 million dollars.

Originally conceptualized as a platform that would use blockchain technology to facilitate secure, decentralized contracts and applications, Ethereum has come leaps and bounds since then. 

Vitalik Buterin himself even admits that “initially, [he] thought that Ethereum was a thing that would be used for people to write simple financial scripts. As it turns out, people are writing stuff like Augur on top of it.”

Like most phenomena that experience a large amount of growth in a short period of time, Ethereum has run into several problems during its relatively short life so far. Other than concerns related to volatility and energy consumption, they’ve also experienced some pretty serious security issues.

In 2016, an unknown hacker stole $55 million in Ether, the aftermath of which caused a significant rift within the Ethereum blockchain itself. To this day, it’s still divided into ETH (Ethereum) and ETC (Ethereum classic). ETC’s blockchain still accounts for the anonymous hack, whereas ETH had it erased and the money returned.

Even more bizarre, no one ever found out the identity of the hacker.

You’re ready to invest in Ethereum

It can feel intimidating to dive into the world of cryptocurrency, but it doesn’t have to be. Once you’ve learned the basics and done a bit of research it’ll feel much easier to keep up to date with industry happenings and which cryptocurrencies to keep an eye on.

Ethereum is a very interesting innovation because of what it represents for the future. More than just a cryptocurrency, Ethereum’s truly paving the way for a more decentralized, fair, and democratic digital future. It’s absolutely worth your while familiarizing yourself with their platform now, because it’s going to be a big player in the game for a while. 

We’ve covered the basics in this article, so we hope you feel well-informed on what Ethereum is, how to buy it, what differentiates it from Bitcoin, and a little bit about its history. The information we’ve provided you with is a great jumping-off point to begin your own personal research.

Whether you’re interested in Ethereum due to its high-risk, high-reward investment potential or want to immerse yourself in the wider world of their platform, it truly presents a unique opportunity to just about any tech-savvy person on the internet.

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Author bio:

Sydney Triggs (MoonPay)Sydney Triggs is a [content] writer, editor & educator from Vancouver, Canada currently settled in Barcelona, Spain. She’s written hundreds of articles about marketing, travel & leisure, fashion, sustainability, technology, finance & investment, remote work and human resources, as well as more personal fiction and thought pieces.

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