Ethereum is an open-source, blockchain-based platform that allows developers to build and deploy smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps). Conceived by Vitalik Buterin in 2013 and launched in 2015, Ethereum has been a driving force in the world of decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and other innovative blockchain-based solutions.
Key Features of Ethereum
Smart Contracts: Ethereum introduced the concept of smart contracts, self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement directly written into code. Smart contracts automate the execution of a contract, ensuring it's carried out efficiently and transparently.
Decentralized Applications (dApps): Built on top of Ethereum's blockchain, dApps are applications that run on a peer-to-peer network of computers, rather than a single computer, making them resistant to censorship.
Ether (ETH): Ether is Ethereum’s native cryptocurrency, used primarily for transaction fees and computational services on the Ethereum network. It's also used within Ethereum's ecosystem to interact with dApps, for example, participating in DeFi or purchasing NFTs.
Decentralized Finance (DeFi): Ethereum has facilitated the rise of DeFi applications, which aim to recreate traditional financial systems, such as loans and interest, in a decentralized manner.