What is Ether and Ethereum?
What Bitcoin does for payments, Ethereum does for anything that can be programmed.
Ethereum's vision is to decentralize the internet by creating a platform where applications can be built and run on a decentralized network with smart contracts. The blockchain, a type of decentralized network, is able to make agreements across the whole network, without any central authority. Bitcoin uses already blockchain technology to record and verify transactions without the need for a central bank.
Services that are traditionally centralized can be decentralized using Ethereum. This will lead to reduced costs and fees by connecting individuals directly and removing 3rd parties: services like Uber or eBay without a company in the middle collecting fees.
Ether is the native token of Ethereum, and serves 2 key purposes:
- First, by requiring applications to pay Ether for every operation they perform, broken or malicious programs are kept from running out of control.
- Second, Ether is given as a reward to those who contribute their resources to the decentralized network.
Ether is the fuel for the EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine), that's why it's called a token. Ether is more comparable to oil, valued for its utility in being used as a fuel, as well as the cost of usage. Strictly speaking, it should not be called a currency or coin. But since Ether is traded on cryptocurrency exchanges, the distinction is no longer relevant.
The success of the Ethereum network is such that its token will quickly become very popular. In no time, ETH (Ether symbol) became the most traded cryptocurrency after Bitcoin.
Wei is the minimum unit of Ether, like cents to Dollars or pennies to Pounds or Satoshis to Bitcoin. According to the CLI source code of Ethereum, the different denominations of Ether are :
Where you can buy or trade Ether (ETH)
A few of the larger crypto currency exchanges have already added ETH for trading and you can find below a list where Ethereum's Ether can be purchased and sold:
Looking for the best place to mine your own Ethers?
For more on Ethereum:
- The Ethereum Homestead Documentation
- The dedicated What is Ethereum wiki page.
- Ethereum FAQ Wiki