- Ethereum token (also known as Ether, ETH) is the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. It is the native token of the decentralized Ethereum platform that has an ambition to become the largest platform for decentralized applications and smart contracts. The primary purpose of the Ethereum token is to be used for the platform itself, particularly with the design and execution of its smart contracts and decentralized applications. However, ETH can also be used as a means of payment as one can find many merchants accepting it. Also, it used to for speculation on the market or as a way to invest, hoping the price of Ether will increase over the long term. ETH is also the most popular cryptocurrency accepted during initial coin offerings.
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Ether was used to finance the original Ethereum project back in July 2015, after a successful ICO. People behind the project, Vitalik Buterin, Gavin Wood and others designed ether and its coin as a digital fuel (known as “gas”) that powers up transactions taking place on the Ethereum network.
One of the two main ways to acquire ethereum coins is to either mine them or buy them. While mining will require specialized hardware for the purpose, the desire to buy ETH will inevitably take you to cryptocurrency exchanges, e.g. HitBTC, Binance, GDAX and other, which function as legal platforms for trading with these coins. In addition, you can try informal peer-to-peer platforms such as LocalEthereum which allow you to meet the sellers from your area. While payment preferences of coin sellers may vary, it is still more convenient to buy this coin with bitcoins, particularly if you want to use popular services such as Paypal.
Before getting into trading, you should be prepared for largely unpredictable price fluctuations. As an illustration, consider that back in 2017 the Ethereum price recorded 1400% growth in just three months, reaching USD 70 billion market capitalization in December 2017. Less than a year later, the Ethereum market capitalization dropped to about 28 billion.
It is expected that improved regulations and the maturing of the market will make it less volatile. In the meantime, traders are advised to closely monitor the trends while live Ethereum price index should be followed on daily basis with the help of relevant charts.
Despite superficial similarities with bitcoin, ethereum is an offshoot of a quite a different project built on the back of blockchain technology. For starters, the amount of bitcoins that will be created is capped at 21 million, while ETH coins can be made endlessly, at least in theory.
Ethereum has its share of competitors among blockchain platforms as well, although its veteran status has made it the most mature technology on the market. Yet, the likes of Zilliqa (ZIL), EOS (EOS) and Neo (NEO) give ethereum run for its money, with their plans to improve on its weaker points.
One of them is surely vulnerability of smart contracts which are exposed to hacker attacks, as well as the energy demand generated by running its proof-of-work (PoW) system. As a response, future Ether technology will add proof-of-stake Casper consensus mechanism. Once in place, it is expected to make ethereum both more secure and energy efficient.
Also, you’ll find two names for ether: Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum C lassic (ETC). Ethereum Classic is the result of the Ethereum hard fork that occured in 2016 in response to the DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) hack.
ETH and ETC both can be used to create and use applications and smart contracts. And both ETH and ETC can also be used to speculate, seeking to profit from their increase in value on the market. Of the two, ETH is the more popular.