Guide to Ethereum

Ethereum

[menu items for first section: What is Ethereum?, History of Ethereum, How Ethereum Differs From Bitcoin, How Does Ether Work?, Ethereum Applications, Ethereum Contract Pros and Cons, Accessing Ethereum
second section: Guide to Ether (h1), Ether Defined, History of Ether, How is Ether Generated?, The Purpose of Ether, Additional Uses for Ether
third section: What Are The Ethereum Hard Forks? (h1), What is a Hard Fork?, The Homestead Hard Fork, The DAO Hack Hard Fork, Fall 2016 Fixes, The Metropolis (Byzantium) Hard Fork, Future Hard Forks
fourth section: How Does Ethereum Work? (h1), Using the Blockchain, Transactions, Verifications, A Set Standard
fifth section: How to Store Etherum (h1), Using a Wallet, Desktop Wallets, Mobile Wallets, Hardware Wallets, Paper Wallets
sixth section: How to Buy Ethereum (h1), Why Choose Ethereum?]

When we talk about cryptocurrency, it’s impossible to ignore the subject of ethereum. Non-existent before July 2015, ethereum quickly rose to become the second highest valued cryptocurrency behind bitcoin. As of early November 2017, ethereum traded right around the $300 mark. That’s still well behind bitcoin (trading around $7,200), but puts ethereum ahead of litecoin, perhaps the most well-known altcoin ($50-$60).

But what exactly is ethereum? How is it different and where is its value coming from? These are among the questions discussed below.

Ethereum

What is Ethereum?

For all of the talk of values above, ethereum itself is not a cryptocurrency in the strictest sense. Rather, it is essentially a network. Ethereum is an open-source software platform that utilizes bitcoin’s blockchain technology to allow developers to create decentralized applications and “contracts.”

You might think of it this way: bitcoin is effectively both a software platform and a currency. Bitcoin’s blockchain is a public ledger supported by a decentralized network of “nodes” that support its activity, and that activity revolves around transactions of the actual bitcoin currency.

Ethereum operates the same way, except that its blockchain supports more than just currency transactions. This way, when developers come up with new applications or functions, they can effectively write them in as ethereum applications, rather than needing to invent whole new blockchains to support them.

Ethereum does support its own cryptocurrency, though. It’s called ether and is functionally similar to counterparts like bitcoin and litecoin.

History of Ethereum

The cryptocurrency network that now appears to be bitcoin’s biggest competitor grew from an idea proposed by a bitcoin programmer. His name is Vitalik Buterin, and he first presented the idea in a white paper in 2013. Buterin’s argument was that bitcoin needed to have a scripting language that developers could use to create their own decentralized applications. It seems, however, that Buterin didn’t gain support, because people weren’t willing to alter bitcoin in this fashion.

As a result, Buterin began to develop his own platform, and publicly announced ethereum in January 2014. The platform was developed throughout that year, and ultimately supported by the new Swiss foundation, The Ethereum Foundation. A crowdsale program helped to fund development, with early investors, so to speak, buying ether tokens with bitcoin—and ethereum went live in 2015.

Since then, ethereum has gained a great deal of respect and attention. While its price point is subject to the same volatility characteristic of most cryptocurrencies, it topped $350 in the summer of 2017, roughly two years after its introduction, and as mentioned has traded as the second most valuable cryptocurrency. Perhaps more importantly, the public has come to better understand what really makes ethereum different from bitcoin.

Ethereum & Bitcoin

How Ethereum Differs from Bitcoin

Ethereum and bitcoin have very similar foundations. Both run on decentralized networks, and both support blockchains that facilitate secure but transparent transactions between independent parties. This is why both are labeled as cryptocurrencies. They differ in three main ways: intention, versatility, and the purpose of their “coins.”

Where intention is concerned, we need only look back at the Vitalik Buterin whitepaper to understand the difference. Bitcoin was designed as a secure digital alternative to fiat currency, and thereafter developed as a commodity. By contrast, ethereum was created to be a version of the bitcoin network that could support more than cryptocurrency transfers.

The difference in intention speaks to the idea of versatility, as well. Building on the idea of a bitcoin-like network that goes beyond cryptocurrency transfer, ethereum has proven to be versatile in practice. Its simpler scripting language allows developers and to some extent even novices (which we’ll touch on below) to code in their own applications. This is essentially not possible on the bitcoin network, but it’s the core of ethereum’s usefulness.

Lastly, we get to the purpose of the coins. Practically speaking, ether tokens and bitcoins can be used in much the same way. But in addition to serving as a basic cryptocurrency, ether is used to pay for the processing in the development of a new application. In other words, ethereum users who wish to design their own decentralized applications and build functions into the blockchain are free to do so, but will need to financially support their own efforts with ether.

How Does Ether Work?

As stated, ether tokens and bitcoins can be used in much the same way. But in the context of ethereum as a whole system, ether serves largely as a token system. We’ve discussed the idea of independent ethereum users coding their own applications into the blockchain, but not all these applications are the same. Depending on their complexity, they may require more or less processing power to be supported by the ethereum network. As a result, they come with different costs. The more complex an application is, the more ether tokens needed to launch it.

As for where it comes from and how it is traded, ether works very similarly to bitcoin. It comes into circulation by way of a mining process that is used to verify ethereum network transactions. It can then be traded between individuals, used to pay for goods and services where accepted, and held as a commodity.

Smart Contract

Ethereum Applications

We’ve talked a lot about the idea of developers creating their own applications to function on the ethereum blockchain. But what exactly are the applications? We can’t answer that in an exact or comprehensive fashion, which is part of the point. The idea is that individuals can come up with their own uses for ethereum, and invent new applications accordingly.

That said, the concept of ethereum applications can best be understood if you have a good grasp of smart contracts. These are conditional transactions that can be plugged into a blockchain such that they are secure, unchangeable, and automatically fulfilled.

One example is the idea of renting a car. If entered into a smart contract with a company renting cars, that contract would dictate that upon your payment, you would receive access to the car (perhaps in the form of a digital key, in this example). These conditions, once outlined, agreed to, and approved for the blockchain, could not be altered. The contract would automatically be fulfilled if the first condition were met.

This is just one example, but it speaks to the idea of conditional relationships that can exist as the foundation of innumerable contracts and applications. They can cover very official transactions and dealings between individuals and companies or institutions (some have suggested they could even reform how we conduct political elections), or they can address more casual dealings between individuals. The possibilities are truly endless.

Ethereum Contract Pros and Cons

Ethereum is thriving thanks in large part to the potential benefits of its smart contracts and applications. The benefits of organizing these kinds of agreements on a cryptographic blockchain are clear. For one thing, terms cannot be changed or contested once agreed upon, because they’re in plain sight for all to see. For another, the results of an agreement are determined purely by a given action being fulfilled, or a given timeline expiring—there are no questions about requirements being met. Additionally, ethereum applications can cut out middlemen (like lawyers) and the fees and delays that come with them.

There are some potential negatives as well. For instance, in cutting out middlemen, you are accepting more responsibility for covering all the bases in drawing up an agreement or contract. Beyond the actual terms of the agreement, you’re also responsible for making sure that it is correctly coded into the blockchain. This is the point that has led to the only known corruption of ethereum to date.

An event known as the DAO hack at one point resulted in the theft of millions of dollars’ worth of ether tokens. However, the word “hack” isn’t strictly accurate. The DAO was a “Decentralized Autonomous Organization” that was meant to be a leaderless investment fund. People could buy in with ether tokens and gain influence over where the DAO’s funds were invested. The so-called “hack” occurred not when someone corrupted the DAO, but rather when someone exploited a loophole in its coded design. That individual was able to funnel away huge quantities of ether tokens in a fashion that was essentially legal, because the code had a vulnerability.

Thus, while there are a lot of “pros” and conveniences in using ethereum to draw up contracts and applications, it is important to remember the importance of the details.

Mist

Accessing Ethereum

The idea of coding in your own application can make ethereum seem inaccessible if you don’t have a background in this sort of practice. That very notion is indeed counterintuitive when we consider that Vitalik Buterin’s core goal was to create a version of bitcoin with similar scripting language. It’s true that people without programming experience may at first struggle with ethereum. However, this problem has been addressed by the development of a few helpful platforms.

Most importantly, you should know about Mist, which is effectively an ethereum browser. Doubling as a digital wallet (where you can store and deal ether), Mist simplifies the process of writing, implementing, and managing smart contracts. Also, MetaMask performs the same functions as a plug-in for the Google Chrome browser (and is expected to become compatible with more browsers in the near future).

In Conclusion

Ethereum has emerged as a major player in the expanding cryptocurrency market, though comparing it directly to bitcoin is not necessarily accurate. While the two operate in similar ways and perform many of the same functions, ethereum goes a step further to allow individuals to program new functions into its blockchain. This is its core value, and its most significant aspect moving forward.

Guide to Ether

Ethereum has become one of the biggest names in cryptocurrency, though it’s often misunderstood. While it is in ways an alternative to bitcoin, ethereum is not in and of itself a cryptocurrency. Rather, it is a fresh take on the bitcoin blockchain that is used primarily to support smart contracts and new applications (whereas the bitcoin blockchain exists solely for the exchange of bitcoins). When discussing ethereum, the more direct alternative to bitcoin is actually ether—the native cryptocurrency for the ethereum network.

Ether Defined

Ether is a form of cryptocurrency that exists to fuel the ethereum network. When people talk about ethereum as if it too is a digital currency, what they’re actually referencing is ether (though it does exist hand-in-hand with ethereum). Like other cryptocurrencies, ether is a digital asset that can be bought, sold, stored, and used exclusively online. In these respects, and with regard to its form and underlying technology, it is virtually identical to bitcoin. Where it differs significantly from bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, however, is in its purpose.

Ether

History of Ether

Ether was not developed independently, but rather emerged as a result of the rise of the ethereum network. In 2013, a bitcoin programmer named Vitalik Buterin had the idea that there should be a blockchain capable of more than exchanging cryptocurrency. Within a year, he and a team had developed the ethereum network, basing it on a simplified scripting language that would allow individuals to create their own decentralized apps.

Ether emerged within this system in the summer of 2014, as a means of financial support for the development of the ethereum network. Ether was thought of as a token of sorts that would have value in the ethereum system, and it was obtained via bitcoin transactions. A crowdsale resulted in people paying the Ethereum Foundation with bitcoins and receiving ether in exchange. Thus, the first ether tokens were put into circulation.

Ether had little to no value on the cryptocurrency market at first, but it started to see some activity in 2016. Then, early in 2017, it followed the trend of most other major cryptocurrencies by skyrocketing in value. It reached a new high of just under $390 in late August, and as of early November was trading right around the $300 range. This makes it the second most valuable cryptocurrency, well behind bitcoin but ahead of the popular (and more direct) bitcoin alternative litecoin.

How is Ether Generated?

We know the first ether tokens were sold to fund the creation of the very network within which they work. And we also know that most standard cryptocurrencies enter circulation via a version of bitcoin’s “mining” process. But following the initial crowdsale of ether, how else is this particular currency generated and put into circulation?

It’s actually very similar to the mining process for bitcoin, though the parameters are somewhat different. During the initial sale, 60 million ether tokens were purchased by people funding the creation of the network, and 12 million more went straight to the developers that make up the Ethereum Foundation.

Since then, additional ether tokens have been generated via the same process that exists for bitcoin mining: members of the network perform complex computational and mathematical work in order to verify blocks of transactions, and the reward for completing a block is ether. Specifically, five ethers are given to miners who successfully complete a block, resulting in roughly 18 million new ethers joining circulation every year.

Unlike with bitcoin, of which there will only ever be 21 million units, there is no hard cap on the number of ethers that can be released, though there is at least a loosely defined annual rate of release.

Ether Tokens

The Purpose of Ether

Ether is technically a cryptocurrency, though it serves a different purpose than most of its counterparts. We mentioned that ether exists to “fuel” the ethereum network. This is meant in a more literal sense than you may guess, leading many to characterize the currency as if it’s a fuel or oil for a digital, cryptographic network.

Because ethereum is designed for the creation of decentralized digital applications, people are always looking to create new functions to run on the network. This is exactly the purpose of said network, and it works for all kinds of different functions. However, running all of those applications requires processing power, which in turn needs to be financed. This is where ether comes in. The cryptocurrency is meant to be a token that pays for that processing power, such that the more complex an application’s demands, the more ether it will cost to run and support.

You can see how this would affect demand for ether. While other cryptocurrencies are sought after for two core purposes—spending and investment—ether is almost a necessity if you wish to participate in or contribute to the ethereum network. It can be purchased via fiat currency or alternative cryptocurrencies, and then put to use by funding applications on the network.

Additional Uses for Ether

Ether was intended as a payment token for ethereum-based processing fees, but it can be used in other ways as well. This is not a particularly desirable resource if your goal is to spend cryptocurrency for goods and services. However, it can be used in peer-to-peer transactions (meaning you can sell ether to another individual who intends to put it to use). Ether can also be treated as a commodity, like most any other major cryptocurrency, in that you can purchase it and hold onto it in the hopes of gaining money on an eventual sale.

What are the Ethereum Hard Forks?

If you spend much time looking into ethereum, you will likely come across mention of hard forks. Understanding these is not necessarily vital to using ethereum (or its native cryptocurrency, ether) on a day-to-day basis. But to gain a better understanding of how the network’s security is upheld and how it may continue to evolve in the future, it’s a good idea to learn more about hard forks, as well as when and why they’ve occurred in ethereum’s brief history.

What Is A Hard Fork?

A hard fork is a divergence in the blockchain that’s designed to change protocol either as a general update or merely to correct an error. A blockchain, such as the one used to record transactions and application activity in the ethereum network, is made up of a continuous set of “blocks” of transactions. These transactions can only be formed into blocks and added to the chain once they’ve been verified, however, and verification occurs according to specific protocols.

When an update is needed, or when a corruption is spotted in the blockchain, those protocols are changed for the next block that needs to be added (and for each block thereafter). This effectively established a new chain, and adjusts things such that some transactions that would have been verified on the “old” chain will not be approved for the new. This does not necessarily terminate the old chain, in that if enough network nodes continue to approve transactions via the old protocol, the old chain can continue on. However, what will tend to happen is that the new chain will take over most activity almost immediately, and then all of it eventually as the old chain fizzles out.

As it happens, this idea is not merely theoretical. It’s something that has already happened on the ethereum network, and will happen again in the future. Let’s take a quick look back at the hard forks that have occurred to date since the ethereum network went public.

The Homestead Hard Fork

This is the first noteworthy hard fork that occurred on the ethereum network, and it happened in March 2016. This was a planned upgrade to the protocol for the network, rather than any kind of reaction to a hack or any other specific issue. Actually, the version of ethereum known as “Homestead” represents the third iteration of the network; the first, “Olympic,” was essentially a pre-release beta. The first active version was Frontier, and that is the version that was abandoned in favor of Homestead.

Homestead was planned to be implemented at the 1,150,000th block on the ethereum network, and followed that schedule in March 2016. At this time and soon thereafter, virtually the entire network migrated to Homestead compatibility, leaving Frontier as a largely abandoned original version of the ethereum blockchain. This, again, was a planned update that focused mainly on backward-incompatible changes revolving around the costs for creating smart contracts and funding their development.

As hard forks go, the transition to Homestead was simple, natural, and executed without controversy or disagreement. Some think of it like the progression from a beta to a more fully functioning product (if you consider Frontier to be a beta in addition to Olympic). However, subsequent ethereum hard forks have been more complicated, and in some cases more problematic.

The DAO Hack Hard Fork

The DAO was a “decentralized autonomous organization” that functioned as a sort of investment platform within the ethereum network in 2016. Individuals could contribute to the DAO and gain a say in where funds were invested, with amount of influence tied to amount contributed. There was a lot of money in this application, and a “hack” occurred when an ethereum network user discovered a flaw in its setup that allowed him to effectively steal about $50 million worth of ether coins.

The term “hack” may give the wrong impression, as it implies someone created a vulnerability or corrupted a code. In actuality, an existing vulnerability was exploited. Nevertheless, the result was that a large number of ethereum network users participating in the DAO lost a great deal of money.

This was the first instance in which a hard fork became necessary to correct an error. While this can be seen as troubling to ethereum users, the fact that a hard fork could reverse the damage that was done speaks to the security and long-term viability of a network like ethereum. In this case, the hard fork introduced a new version of the blockchain that was more or less the same as the previous one, except for a change in protocol that made the theft-related transactions invalid. The setup allowed for the stolen funds to be automatically returned to the network and then gradually redistributed back to their original owners.

Unlike the split to Homestead, the post-DAO hack hard fork resulted in two continuing ethereum blockchains. The updated chain that corrected the hack is now referred to as ETH. This contains the vast majority of ethereum activity, and it’s worth noting that the network’s creators were among those to migrate to ETH. The previous blockchain endures, however, and is known as ETC (standing for Ethereum Classic). On the ETC network, the vulnerability that enabled the DAO hack remains in place.

Fall 2016 Fixes

Despite the success of the post-DAO hack hard fork and the establishment of ETH, the ethereum network was challenged later in 2016. This time, it was not a single incident but rather a sustained hacking attempt. Hackers were consistently locating and exploiting vulnerabilities in ethereum-based contracts, which resulted in numerous problems with the network. While ethereum officials were working to solve problems as they arose, it became clear that more significant fixes were required. Thus, the ethereum developers came up with consecutive hard forks to correct underlying issues and decrease the likelihood and effectiveness of ongoing attacks.

The first hard fork was to alter the pricing for various operations according to how complicated the relevant processing and computer operations were. The second was to remove ethereum accounts that existed without any balance, which were said to have “bloated” the network. Broadly speaking, these consecutive hard forks were designed to clean up the network and rid it of a problematic trend of attacks.

The Metropolis (Byzantium) Hard Fork

This hard fork occurred in the fall of 2017. It’s known as “Metropolis (vByzantium)” because a future version (“Metropolis vConstantinople”) is planned as the next update. At this stage, however, Byzantium represents the latest version of the ethereum network.

Planned in advance, Byzantium was designed to increase the anonymity of ethereum users and increase security in general.

Users will be more anonymous thanks to the implementation of a new kind of proof for transactions. Called “zero-knowledge proofs,” (or zk-SNARKs), these mean that no one dealing with verification of a transaction has any knowledge relating to a user’s activity or identity beyond that transaction. It should significantly improve anonymity.

Users will also be able to choose their own addresses to gain private keys to when they acquire new ether. This is a relatively minor shift in practice, though it is believed that it will decrease the likelihood of some advanced hacks.

Byzantium will also make the mining process more difficult, which is perhaps the biggest change coming with the update. Until Byzantium, ethereum transactions were verified via a proof-of-work process; now, proof-of-stake is required. This means that users can mine according to how much ether they possess, and it’s believed to be a fundamentally more secure system than proof-of-work.

As a final change, Byzantium also simplified smart contracts, which is significant as more people become aware of the purpose and utility of the ethereum network. Simpler programming makes the network more accessible to more people, and should help to make ethereum more relevant over time.

Future Hard Forks

As is perhaps clear by this point in the discussion, hard forks are not complete fixes. To this point, they have been used to address specific issues or to execute planned updates. Using this brief history of hard forks as evidence, it stands to reason that they will continue to occur periodically.

As of this writing (November 2017), there are two planned updates on the horizon.

  1. The first is the aforementioned “Constantinople” version of the Metropolis update (or Metropolis vConstantinople). It is not yet known when this hard fork will occur, and it’s unclear if there are already specific intentions behind it or if it is simply a name planned for the next update.
  2. The second goes by the name “Serenity” and is seen as a potential follow-up to Constantinople.

These are the only planned future hard forks, though it’s likely we’ll see more as ethereum grows and evolves.

How Does Ethereum Work?

Ethereum works much in the same way that bitcoin does to receive validation and providing an intricate transaction history with a differing factor of being validated at every stage of the transaction and not just at the end. This makes it much more reliable and much easier to use. By taking advantage of the same guiding principles like the blockchain, multiple validation, and enabling users to use it in any number of ways, ethereum has become a key player in the system that is gaining serious traction when it comes to market share.

Using the Blockchain

Ethereum is built on the blockchain, a database based on a system that lets the people not have to rely on a central authority for their transaction storage and validation. The framework provides an easy way to make peer-to-peer transactions without needing to rely on a third party or on each other. This means that when you use ethereum’s digital currency known as ether, you’ll have a thorough accounting of all transaction information from every step of every transaction, making it incredibly reliable and resistant to being compromised. Because this system stores information at every stage, it’s ideal for any industry to provide an incredibly accurate validation system and accounting history.

[image of blockchain or transaction]

Transactions

With ethereum, every transaction is chained together into a unit called a block, each of which contains a series of transaction histories. All of this transaction information has to go through a process called mining in order to be validated.

Each single transaction is validated multiple times in an effort to ensure consistency and to invalidate errant validations. This validation process confirms that transactions are legitimate throughout every point of the transaction. They’re run by independent agents on the ethereum chain who work to simultaneously create and validate existing ethereum. This constant verification process means that one block can be simultaneously validated by multiple people at once, making it incredibly reliable.

Once a transaction complete, the resulting ethereum transfer ends up in one of a small variety of digital wallets—either based on a desktop, mobile, hardware, or paper option.

[image of nodes]

Verifications

Every ethereum transaction runs through a validation process that ensures its authenticity after running it through a large network of nodes and miners. This validation is made possible because everyone on the ethereum chain is simultaneously working to validate currency as they create more of it. Each transaction is validated multiple times on different nodes to ensure accuracy. To ensure the most reliable validation possible, ethereum uses something called the GHOST protocol, which is a validation path that has had the most processing enacted upon it. This means there’s less of a chance for inaccurate information and a higher likelihood for having consistent, accurate data.

A Set Standard

The main appeal of ethereum is the blockchain on which it is based. Because the blockchain constitutes a complete historical record of every transaction enacted upon it in permanence, it’s extremely valuable for a variety of applications. Examples of such applications include giving people a way to view trends over time, and providing them with the security of knowing that their currency is worth what it says it is.

Ethereum is a highly secure standard in which to do business just because of how thoroughly it is verified by miners and nodes around a network. Plus, it has a thorough accounting history that stretches back all the way to the beginning of the blockchain, making it invaluable for reference.

How to Store Ethereum

Ethereum is one of the biggest names in the world of cryptocurrency, and it is regarded highly as a result of its ease of access, accessibility to any industry, incredible security, and variety of applications. If you’re interested in getting started using ethereum (and its digital currency, ether) for yourself, it can be difficult to know where to start. The key things to keep in mind are that you’ll need somewhere to both access and store it.

Using a Wallet

The first step that anyone interested in getting into ethereum should take is creating a storage vault or wallet for storage purposes. Because of the nature of the currency, there are a number of different ways available for users to store it in a way that works best for their lifestyle. Take a look below to learn more about some of wallet options in addition to their pros and cons.

[image of ether wallet]

Desktop Wallets

The most straightforward way to store your ethereum is through the use of a desktop wallet, which can work on a traditional PC or a laptop computer. They’re available from several different sources, and each works in its own way. All you have to do is find the right option for your particular needs, download it, and put it into use. Each comes with its own means of operation and its own distinct performance tradeoffs.

After an initial setup, the process of establishing your desktop wallet can take up to a few days to start in earnest as the ethereum grows. Once it’s stable, the wallet will need to stay online to remain in sync with the blockchain. Desktop wallets are the most traditional and the most practical way to store and manage your ether. The best part about using a desktop wallet is that it gives you the ability to independently validate transactions.

Mobile Wallets

Mobile clients are exactly what they sound like. They run on a smartphone or a tablet instead of a traditional computer. They’re also much more lightweight as a result, coming in with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

One of the advantages is that it requires less data to connect to networks for sync. The disadvantage of this, however, comes in the form of a validation gap. It’s much more difficult for a mobile wallet to have any system in place to validate transactions. That’s a tradeoff with desktop wallets that take the challenge out of this whole problem by validating transactions themselves.

A mobile wallet sacrifices security for convenience in that it entrusts miners and nodes to validate incoming transactions, which is more risky. Some mobile wallets also offer the option to store keys offline, detached from the internet, in order to resist hacking.

[image of hardware wallet]

Hardware Wallets

If you’re looking for a way to store your ethereum that combines the best aspects of a mobile wallet and a desktop wallet, a dedicated hardware wallet might be the perfect option for you. They’re able to connect and disconnect from the internet when you want them to, and they have an incredibly small footprint, so they’re very easy to manage in a large variety of ways.

The main risk you run with hardware wallets is that they’re harder to use if you’re a frequent ethereum user or if you’re on the move frequently. But their small size and variety of form factors mean that they can be used and stored in a large number of ways.

Paper Wallets

A completely “cold storage” or offline solution to taking care of your ethereum is to rely on a paper wallet. A paper wallet is created by either writing by hand or printing out a key on a slip of paper and physically securing it in a destination of your choice. Safety deposit boxes are a top pick.

You can create multiple different keys, too. That means if one gets lost or destroyed, you’ll still be able to access your ethereum. Plus, because the keys are generated on your computer itself and not online, it’s almost impossible for it to get hacked or compromised remotely.

How to Buy Ethereum

Buying ether takes many shapes and forms depending on where you’re doing business. The purchase of this currency can take place both online and in person, providing a unique sets of pros and cons.

Buying in person can be direct if you’re in a more populated area, such as New York, where other ethereum users are available for transactions . But if you aren’t, it isn’t too difficult to get started purchasing the currency online either. All you need to do to purchase it is to find someone who’s interested in trading their ether. It’s particularly popular to trade for bitcoin, but it’s also easy to convert your own native currency into ether for trade. It’s not a bad idea to trade for bitcoin and then trade that subsequent bitcoin for ether.

[image of ether being purchased]

Why Choose Ethereum?

Ethereum has risen in popularity with good reason. It’s similar to bitcoin in that it has many uses amongst a large selection of different situations and industries. Because its currency, ether, is based on validation at every step of a transaction, it’s more reliable and easier to use than bitcoin.

Ethereum is built on the same kind of blockchain as bitcoin as well, which means several things. First, every transaction conducted in ether has a traceable accounting that can be easily referenced. Additionally, there’s an immutable record of each transaction. Finally, it’s much more secure than traditional options as a result of being supported by a peer-to-peer networking system. This is compounded with the fact that every transaction is constantly validated across multiple anonymous nodes.

This all makes ethereum a considerably reliable source to use for currency needs in business and personal settings.