Conceptualized in 2013 by Vitalik Buterin and launched in 2015, Ethereum is the most-used blockchain platform in the world and the second-largest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin. Apart from being a cryptocurrency, Ethereum’s blockchain can be used to create ERC-20 tokens and ERC-721 non-fungible tokens, is used to power dapps (distributed applications), smart contracts, DAOs, and can also be used as a vehicle for other cryptocurrencies.
This is all possible because Ethereum was conceptualized as a programmable blockchain. This means that it isn’t just a distributed ledger of a digital currency like Bitcoin: it’s a distributed repository of code. The ability to store and run distributed, trustless code on the Ethereum Network opened up a whole world of possibilities for blockchain technology.
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