Ethereum is a user-run system, relying on thousands of independent computers around the globe to monitor and verify transactions. This is achieved by each computer keeping a ledger, and relying only on it’s history to ensure that a transaction is legitimate, without relying on any central body.
In contrast to traditional online communication, which goes directly through a centralized platform or company, such as Facebook (FB), Microsoft (MSFT), or Apple (AAPL), blockchain takes a different approach by decentralizing their system, allowing independent computers from around the globe to monitor network activity. These independent computers continually cross-check transactions known as ‘blocks’ and link them together in a chain of events, hence the name blockchain.
While there have been instances of decentralized platforms being manipulated, these occasions are rare because blockchain platforms have to all agree to any changes. This means that a group of compromised computers would trigger suspicion because a vast number of other computers would have conflicting registers.
Ethereum takes the blockchain technology used to manage Bitcoin and expands upon the idea to include digital applications.
Digital applications can be anything from rental to employment contracts but must use the currency of Ethereum, known as Ether. These applications do not rely on human engagement, rather they are triggered by events and do not need human interventions.
For example, if a delivery is registered as delivered to a warehouse, payment is automatically transferred from one Ethereum wallet to another, in Ether. This allows for quick payments while removing the need for a bookkeeper to confirm receipt, wait for paperwork, issue a payment, then await a receipt.
Ether is a cryptocurrency and is used as the recognized tender for transactions on the Ethereum blockchain platform. Some people use the terms ‘Ether’ and ‘Ethereum’ interchangeably even though the platform’s crypto currency is more well known amongst traders than their services.