While Bitcoin’s innovative decentralized network and cryptocurrency were game-changers, Ethereum has built on Bitcoin’s vision of a decentralized payment system by constructing a global computer network that connects users to a marketplace of decentralized applications (dApps). It provides unprecedented efficiency, security, and user control. In terms of market capitalization, Ethereum is the second-largest blockchain-cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin. So, what’s the deal with this technology, often known as the world computer?
Ethereum is not only a cryptocurrency or crypto-asset but rather a blockchain-based software platform that allows anybody to create and use decentralized blockchain applications. This network creates currency known as Ether (ETH), akin to digital currencies such as Bitcoin. Even though ETH is traded on exchanges, Ethereum, unlike Bitcoin, designed as a decentralized person-to-person payment system, has very different aims. So, how did it come to be?
Ethereum: The Backstory
While Bitcoin was created to disrupt online banking and daily transactions, Ethereum’s creators want to use the same technology to replace internet third parties — those that store data, transfer payments, and keep track of complex financial instruments. Vitalik Buterin, a 19-year-old developer who was one of the pioneers of the idea of spreading the technology underpinning Bitcoin, blockchain, to more use cases beyond transactions, proposed Ethereum in 2013. In 2015, the platform went online, converting the notion of Ethereum into a true, working network.
Fact: The phrase “world computer” came from the fact that Ethereum substitutes centralized servers with thousands of so-called “nodes” maintained by volunteers all over the globe, resulting in a “world computer.”
The primary differences between Ethereum and Bitcoin
- There are only a limited amount of Bitcoins in total (about 21 million). The annual supply of Ethereum is 18 million, which is equal to 25% of the initial supply.
- Bitcoin is a form of decentralized currency. Ethereum, on the other hand, aims to decentralize the entire world. The goal is for it to be available to everyone in the world one day.
- Ethereum, like Bitcoin, is not controlled or owned by anybody; it is an open-source project created by many people all over the world.
- For mining, they each use different hashing methods. Bitcoin employs SHA-256, but Ethereum employs Ethash.
- The typical duration for mining a block on Bitcoin is 10 minutes, but on Ethereum, it is 12 to 15 seconds.
The applications of Ethereum
Through verifiable blockchain-based cryptography, Ethereum’s tamper-proof blockchain-based record can reassure supply chain and logistics management about the provenance of products.
Ethereum provides safe information exchange through cryptographic techniques, which is critical for the transmission of sensitive data such as medical records and identification information.
Cross-border payments can be transmitted directly, rapidly, and inexpensively by utilizing a peer-to-peer (P2P) protocol like Ethereum, eliminating the need for multiple intermediate institutions that charge fees for currency exchange.
Ethereum’s Future in India
Even though the government has postponed cryptocurrency legislation in the nation, RBI is preparing to launch India’s own digital currency to compete with private virtual currencies and the crypto community remains optimistic about the future.
According to different estimates, around 15 million Indians have invested in crypto assets thus far. In only one year, from April 2020 to May 2021, crypto investments in the country increased from $923 million to over $6.6 billion.
The Indian government may not have made up its mind on cryptocurrencies, but that isn’t stopping the Maharashtra government from reaping the benefits of the Ethereum blockchain. The Maharashtra government has teamed with blockchain company LegitDoc to create tamper-proof diploma certificates to combat fraudulent degrees. The Ethereum blockchain will be used to issue these certificates. In addition, this Indian startup is collaborating with the education ministries of Karnataka and Telangana.
Ethereum’s team also has established a reputation of serving as a savior during times of distress. Given the magnitude and breadth of the coronavirus catastrophe in India, various relief activities have sprung into action, ranging from individuals volunteering their time and assisting others in coordinating and locating resources to businesses contributing money for oxygen and other emergency supplies. One such contribution came from Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, who gave 100 ETH and 100 MKR, totaling $606,110 (about Rs. 4.5 crores), for COVID-19 assistance in India.
In India, we have seen a mini-revolution, with many investors gaining access to cryptocurrencies through regulated exchanges. Historically, equities with a worldwide foundation and derivative products have not been widely accessible to Indian investors. However, this is not the case with cryptocurrencies, which provide a level global playing field for investing and growing wealth regardless of the place of origin. India is actively developing several blockchain initiatives with global ramifications.
For example, India’s Polygon (Matic Network) has developed a protocol and architecture to link blockchain-based networks and is seen as a viable candidate for resolving Ethereum’s network difficulties. Polygon’s MATIC sidechain operates similarly to other Proof-of-Stake based blockchains. Its structure, token, client nodes, local dapps, validator nodes, and so on are identical to those of other networks, except that exchanges are clustered and settled via the Ethereum mainchain.
It is not an exaggeration to say that in the future, breakthroughs in the cryptocurrency/Ethereum space may emerge from India and that with the proper set of rules, it could also be a new avenue for job creation and economic progress. Ethereum is the network of choice for blockchain and cryptocurrency innovation.
New applications continue to arise due to their flexibility and resilience, and improved scalability in the future will assist development. Security applications, voting systems, and payment mechanisms are examples of such applications.