Before understanding any invention’s future, you have to know how it all started and where it is in the present day. This piece will focus on how ethereum came about while covering a bit about other cryptocurrencies.
Blockchain technology has not been in existence for a long time, and, understandably, people would have some trouble understanding some of these concepts.
Even now, there’s still a shroud of mystery that surrounds this technology.
Blockchain technology came into the scene in 2008 when bitcoin’s release took place. At the time, many people had looked into peer-to-peer networks and decentralization.
These studies had taken place for decades, yet nobody had acted upon this information – until such a time when Bitcoin came into the market. Its introduction proved that these concepts which people had had in mind were functional.
And not only that, but they could also be successful, as many cryptos have proven. One such currency is ethereum, which has transformed transactions in online spaces.
When Vitalik Buterin saw what bitcoin had achieved, he dreamt even bigger, thinking of ways to make this technology even more transformative in the industry. In doing this, he looked at aspects in which bitcoin could have had some improvement.
He found that the approach was that which could work for individual applications. He, however, wanted something that could work for more than just trading currencies.
His vision was that of a neutral and open access infrastructure that would create something in the lines of the Internet of money. His system would not have anyone controlling it, and the power would belong to the users. Vitalik followed through on this by releasing a white paper in 2013.
In this, he outlined what the ethereum blockchain would comprise using the Turing complete programming language. This language allows the programming of any operation in its model.
The language heavily borrowed from Alan Turing who came up with the concept of a universal Turing machine.
Ethereum works based on a gas limit; such that developers cannot run programs that require more gas than this cap rate.
It is important to note that this system is not truly Turing complete given that developers have to observe this gas limit. It might help to read more on this to understand how the model works.
A short history lesson
Let us get into how this crypto came into play:
In November 2013, Vitalik Buterin, a co-founder of ethereum, released a white paper. In this release, he explained the system would comprise, describing the smart contracts and the decentralized operation. He also emphasized on autonomous corporations.
In April 2014, another milestone took place, where Gavin wood, another co-founder, took it upon himself to write the C++ compiler. Additionally, he wrote a yellow paper where he described the specifications for the EVM. In July the same year, this crypto went into its first presale.
It raised more than 18.4 million dollars in exchange for 60 million ether. It is important to note that ether is the system’s primary currency.
In July 2015, the system’s test net, known as Frontier, got launched – which was after the release of the white paper and yellow paper. Soon after this, the co-founders released the proposed token specifications, which were introduced to the market as the ERC standard.
A year on in 2016, the co-founders released Homestead, which was the system’s first production-ready version. This development took place in March of 2016.
A few months down the road, the system suffered a significant loss, which you are likely to have come across. DAO, the first decentralized autonomous organization built on this system, became a target for hackers. They made away with 3.6 million ether.
This breach was quite significant and could have affected the whole project. There was a heated debate as to who was accountable for such an outcome.
In October the following year, there was another development in the form of the Byzantium hard fork.
This invention allowed validators to follow up on rewards and fees, thereby confirming transactions on the network. This implementation involved the introduction of proof of stake.
Security is always of importance when it comes to cryptocurrencies. It will thus follow that such a system would have measures to ensure that the operations of the network remain free of prying eyes.
In February 2019, developers introduced the Saint-Petersburg hard fork to remove the EIP 1283 security loophole, which was in Constantinople.
The changes did not stop there, and in May 2019, 6 changes took place to the EVM. Some of these raised controversy, such as the Istanbul V2 version, while others were readily accepted.
Ethereum is not your usual crypto, and its users will admit as much. From its smart contracts to its support of large programs, it has quite a lot to offer you.