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Ethereum Software
Original author(s)Vitalik Buterin, Gavin Wood
Developer(s)Gavin Wood, Jeffrey Wilcke, heikoheiko, et al
Written inC++, Go, JavaScript, Python, Java, node.js
Operating systemLinux, POSIX, Windows, OS X
TypeDecentralized computing
LicenseGPL3, MIT, LGPL, et al
Ethereum Currency

Ethereum is a decentralized Web 3.0 publishing platform featuring stateful user-created digital contracts and a Turing-complete contract programming language. Ethereum uses its underlying network unit, Ether, as payment to execute Ethereum contracts as a workaround to the Halting Problem. In this respect, Ethereum is unlike most cryptocurrencies, as it is not solely a network for transacting monetary value, rather, it is a network for powering Ethereum-based contracts. These open-ended contracts can be used to securely execute a wide variety of services including: voting systems, domain name registries, financial exchanges, crowdfunding platforms, company governance, self-enforcing contracts and agreements, intellectual property, smart property, and distributed autonomous organizations. The platform was initially described by Vitalik Buterin in late 2013,[3] formally described by Gavin Wood in early 2014 in the so-called Yellow Paper[4] and will be released in early 2015. It is among a group of "next generation" (or "Bitcoin 2.0") platforms.[5]


The stated purpose of the Ethereum project is to "decentralize the web" by introducing four components as part of its Web 3.0 roadmap: static content publication, dynamic messages, trustless transactions and an integrated user-interface. These are each designed to replace some aspect of the Web experience we currently take for granted, but to do so in a fully decentralised and pseudonymous manner.[6][7]

The basic unit of the internal currency is called ether, which is divided into smaller units of currency called finney, szabo, shannon, babbage, lovelace, and wei.[1] Each larger unit is equal to 1000 of the next lower unit, so 1000 finney is 1 ether, 1000 szabo is 1 finney, and so on.[1]


The Development of Ethereum began in December 2013, with the first Go and C++ proof of concept builds (PoC1) being released in early February 2014.[8] Since then, several further PoC builds have been released, with PoC4 introducing the smart contract to higher level languages - Serpent (Python inspired), Mutan (Go inspired) and LLL (Lisp inspired).[9]

In order to finance further development, Ethereum distributed the initial allocation of its internal network unit, ether, via a public sale. The sale lasted for 42 days, and resulted in the Ethereum project receiving 31,591 BTC of revenue.[10]

PoC5, was released via GitHub on July 22, 2014 to coincide with the launch of the Ether pre sale, and included many changes from previous PoCs.[11] It was the first time that two clients, one written in C++ and one in Go, perfectly inter-operated with each other whilst processing on the same blockchain. In August 2014, the Python client was also added to the list, and now a Java version is close to completion.[12]

PoC7 saw the introduction of the Solidity, a hybrid Javascript/C++ like language with a number of syntactic additions to make it suitable for writing contracts within Ethereum.[13] Block times were reduced from 60 seconds to 12 seconds. This was done using a new GHOST-based protocol that expands upon previous efforts at reducing the block time to 60 seconds.[14]

Currently, Ethereum is in the process of using an initial quantity of funds (generated through the Ether Sale) that have already been withdrawn from the Ethereum exodus address to expand its operations. Eth Dev (the entity responsible for delivering Ethereum 1.0) development teams based in Berlin, Amsterdam and London are focusing on the implementation and completion of PoC8, the next version in the series. PoC8 will see the inception of both an internal and a massive external security audit with established software security firms, academics, blockchain research firms and companies interested in utilising Ethereum all taking part.[15] A bug bounty program aimed at the community has also been implemented.[16]

Ethereum is an open source project, with anyone being able to contribute to the existing proof-of-concept codebases.[17]


The platform has received attention in Wired,[18][19] The Globe and Mail,[20] SiliconANGLE,[21] Yahoo News,[22][23] Al Jazeera,[24] Forbes,[25] The Telegraph[26] and the Keiser Report.[27]

Primavera De Filippi, a postdoctoral researcher at the CERSA / CNRS / Panthéon-Assas University, spoke on the legal implications of Ethereum at Harvard on 15 April 2014.[28] University of Toronto doctoral student Quinn DuPont discusses the shift from Bitcoin to Ethereum (as part of a broader shift to ubiquitous cryptography) in a public lecture at Dalhousie University on October 2, 2014.[29] Steve Randy Waldman described it as a tool that can be used for 'engineering distributed economic security'.[30]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Buterin, Vitalik. "[English] White Paper: A Next-Generation Smart Contract and Decentralized Application Platform". ethereum / wiki on GitHub. Self-published. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
  2. "The symbol for Ether is..." 7 June 2014. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  3. Buterin, Vitalik (2014-01-23). "Ethereum: A Next-Generation Cryptocurrency and Decentralized Application Platform". Bitcoin Magazine. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  4. Wood, Gavin (2014-04-06). "Ethereum: A Secure Decentralised Generalised Transaction Ledger" (PDF). Self published. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  5. Kharif, Olga (2014-03-28). "Bitcoin 2.0 Shows Technology Evolving Beyond Use as Money". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
  6. Wood, Gavin (2014-04-17). "Less-techy: What is Web 3.0?". Insights into a Modern World. Retrieved 25 August 2014.[dead link]
  7. Winters, Tristan (2014-04-25). "Web 3.0 – A Chat With Ethereum's Gavin Wood". Retrieved January 2015. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  8. Tual, Stephan. "C++ Code+Build FAQ". Ethereum. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  9. Tual, Stephan. "Writing Smart Contracts FAQ". Ethereum Forum. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  10. Buterin, Vitalik. "Ethereum was second largest crowdsale in history?". Reddit. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  11. Buterin, Vitalik. "Launching the Ether Sale". Ethereum Blog. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  12. Buterin, Vitalik. "State of Ethereum: August Edition". Ethereum Blog. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  13. Wood, Gavin. "CPP Ethereum Home". GitHub. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  14. Buterin, Vitalik. "Toward a 12-second Block Time". Ethereum Blog. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  15. Hallam, George. "ÐΞVcon-0 Recap". Ethereum. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  16. "Ethereum Bounty Program". Ethereum. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  17. Wood, Gavin. "CPP Ethereum Home". GitHub. Retrieved 3 September 2014. Wilcke, Jeffrey. "Go Ethereum Home". GitHub. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  18. Geek's Guide to the Galaxy (2014-03-28). "A Futurist on Why Lawyers Will Start Becoming Obsolete This Year". Wired. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  19. Finley, Kurt (2014-01-27). "Out in the Open: Teenage Hacker Transforms Web Into One Giant Bitcoin Network". Wired. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  20. Gray, Jeff (2014-04-07). "Bitcoin believers: Why digital currency backers are keeping the faith". The Globe and Mail. Phillip Crawley. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  21. Cox, Ryan. "Can Ethereum kill Bitcoin with self-executing contracts?". SiliconANGLE. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  22. (January 29, 2014)Ethereum Listens to Community, Releasing Testnet Prior to Raising. Yahoo Finance. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  23. Ethereum: A Social Operating System. Stephan Tual. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  24. Nathan Schneider (7 April 2014). Code your own utopia: Meet Ethereum, bitcoin’€™s most ambitious successor. Al Jazeera America. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  25. Kashmir Hill (8 April 2014). Beyond Bitcoin: Crypto-Ownership Companies Hope You're Ready To Decentralize Everything On The Internet. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  26. Soon, the internet will be impossible to control. Jamie Bartlett. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  27. Keiser Report: New Crypto Phenomenon Ethereum. Max Keiser. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  28. di Filippi, Primavera. "Ethereum: Freenet or Skynet ?". Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Harvard University. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  29. DuPont, Quinn. "A Rational Economy? From Bitcoin to Ubiquitous Cryptography". IM Public Lecture. Dalhousie University. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  30. Waldman, Steve Randy. "Engineering Economic Security". YouTube. Retrieved 27 July 2014.

External links