Being an engineer that needed a LOT of help with the basics of coding and computer theory at the beginning, I know how it feels when somebody who THINKS they’re smart is describing something in a nonsensical, TECHNICAL way. So let’s breakdown what Ethereum really is.
Keeping it Simple
Ethereum is a global computer, made of other computers. Simple as that. Now, let’s attend to some questions that spring from this definition:
- Which computers make up Ethereum? Ethereum is made up of a network of Miners, or computers that confirm/organize transactions into Blocks onto Ethereum’s Blockchain, and Full Nodes, or computers that aren’t actively mining on Ethereum’s network — but do transact ether (ETH) (and smart contracts) between each other
- What is a Block? A “block” is a group of confirmed transactions that occurred during a block-phase (or 1 “block” of time, which, in Ethereum, is currently about every 15 seconds)
- What is a Blockchain? A “blockchain” is a chronological list of confirmed blocks (the oldest being the “genesis block”— or first block)
- What is the difference between Ether and Ethereum? Ether is the digital currency of Ethereum. Ethereum is a decentralized blockchain network and global computer made up of computers
A Few Features of Ethereum
- You can build applications on Ethereum’s blockchain — they’re called DApps, or Decentralized Applications — given that every full node on Ethereum’s blockchain will download the smart contracts that power your DApp once it’s executed on the blockchain
- It’s completely decentralized — all nodes know about all transactions that ever took place
- Transactions have probabilistic finality — not complete finality like with fiat bank transactions. Meaning that transactions are thought (by the Miners) with a high degree of certainty (but not 100%) that it took place
We’ll stop there for now, but if you’d like a deeper dive, venture here.