In late 2013, another cryptocurrency was proposed named Ethereum by Vitalik Buterin, a cryptocurrency researcher, and programmer. Earlier he was involved with Bitcoin and argued that bitcoin requires a scripting language for application development. Thus, with an aim to build decentralized applications, he created Ethereum. Though, Ethereum and Bitcoin are alike in a certain way but differ substantially in purpose and capability.
Ethereum is a distributed public blockchain network, an open software platform that allows developers to build and deploy decentralized applications, featuring smart contract (scripting) functionality, which facilitates online contractual agreements.
“As Vitalik Buterin, the 22-year-old programmer of Ethereum, explained it at a recent DC Blockchain Summit, in a smart contract approach, an asset or currency is transferred into a program “and the program runs this code and at some point it automatically validates a condition and it automatically determines whether the asset should go to one person or back to the other person, or whether it should be immediately refunded to the person who sent it or some combination thereof.” In the meantime, the decentralized ledger also stores and replicates the document which gives it a certain security and immutability.”
Smart Contracts are computer protocols that help you exchange money, property or anything of value without the service of a middleman. Let’s understand it this way, in order to get your documents or transactions get fulfilled, you would travel to lawyers or banks, i.e. the third parties. Smart contracts make this whole process much easier. With smart contracts, you simply drop a bitcoin into a vending machine (i.e. ledger) and your documents, bonds, or whatever drops into your account.
Ethereum makes the process of creating blockchain applications much easier and efficient than ever before. Rather than building a whole new blockchain of each new application, Ethereum enables the development of potentially thousands of different applications all on one platform. With Ethereum, servers and clouds are replaced by thousands of so-called "nodes" run by volunteers from across the globe.
Like Bitcoin, Ethereum also performs mining process. It is same as Bitcoin’s. The only difference is, in the case of Ethereum blockchain, rather than mining for bitcoin, miners work to earn Ether, a type of crypto token that fuels the network. The currency has become popular enough that, according to records, Ethereum’s Market Cap Check here!