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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds Ethereum is an open source platform based on blockchain technology that enables developers to build and publish decentralized applications. Before the arrival of Ethereum, creating a blockchain-based application required of a complex background in coding and expertise in cryptography. Ethereum provided the developers with the tools to build them in a much more streamlined way, speeding up the process and cutting down the difficulty. It exist a common confusion between Bitcoin and Ethereum, mainly generated by them being the two most notorious and constantly repeated names when tackling blockchain related topics. Both of them though, differ in their purpose.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 seconds While Bitcoin offers and enforces a single application, a peer-to-peer electronic payment system, Ethereum is designed to host and run any application that has been built on it. While Bitcoin uses, of course, Bitcoin as currency and reward to motivate the miners to verify transactions, Ether, on the other side, is the currency used in Ethereum. In the Ethereum ecosystem, Ether is used by application users to pay for transaction fees and services on the Ethereum network. But what does make Ethereum special? Well the fact that Ethereum’s blockchain is meant for allocating any blockchain-based application created by the users. For someone to start interacting with the Ethereum platform, you can install one of the many Ethereum clients.

Skip to 1 minute and 35 seconds That effectively turns that computer into a node of the Ethereum’s blockchain, and thus is granted rights to publish contracts or send Ether to the smart contracts of their choice. This is why Ethereum is considered to have the potential of hosting the development of thousands of different applications. They provide the environment, but the development is up to the users. This is why it’s commonly said that Bitcoin is to Ethereum what Microsoft Office is to Windows, mere software to an entire operative system. If in the previous section we commented how smart contracts have the potential of substituting any centralized application. Ethereum provides the ecosystem where all this can be found, developed and executed.

Skip to 2 minutes and 19 seconds Thus, by serving as a platform that hosts smart contracts, we can state that Ethereum use cases are virtually infinite, with applications in fields so diverse such as energy, real state, banking or crowd-funding. Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency that gained in name and market capitalization, but Ethereum’s Ether followed a similar progression. At the beginning of this year (Jan 2017) you could acquire in some trade-places 1 Ether for approximately 8€. In just 6 months, its price went above 400€. This climate entrails huge opportunities for other cryptocurrencies to surf the wave and gain in market capitalization at speeds never seen before for other kinds of assets.

Skip to 3 minutes and 4 seconds A new model has been generally adopted by blockchain start-ups

Skip to 3 minutes and 8 seconds for the market release of their product: the ICO. The ICOs, or Initial Coin Offerings, are events that accompany the market release of a new coin, and where investors have the opportunity of acquiring for first time a desired amount of a closed pool of tokens. The higher the demand, the faster the token gains in price. Why is this interesting? Because the success of an ICO for a specific token shows directly the interest awaken in the investors by the business model enabled by that specific token. In other words, the success in raising funds with an ICO directly reveals the interest of the investors in that business model and the company/venture behind it.

Skip to 3 minutes and 46 seconds ICOs are not to be confused with traditional IPOs (Initial public offerings), where you are acquiring actual stocks of a company. Neither with Crowd-funding, where it is harder to directly interact with private investors. ICOs are a relatively new phenomenon, as the first one took place in 2013. However, the format gained in momentum, and in August 2017, 10 new ICOs took place every day. It is expected that in the fall of 2017, this number will increase to more than 200 ICOs per week. As of June 2017, more than 380 million $ have been raised in ICOs.

Skip to 4 minutes and 23 seconds Due to the high volatility of the market, it is difficult to know which of those coins will take off in a successful way, but that is not stopping the massive flow of investments from people eager to not miss the opportunities that this new market have to offer. Ethereum, back in 2014, held for itself precisely what was the most successful ICO to that date, raising 18 million $ over the course of 42 days.

Smart contracts: Ethereum platform

Ethereum is a platform to host smart contracts that has contributed to the appearance of more and more cryptocurrencies.

In this video you will learn concepts such as Ether, gas, virtual computer, and also the way to define the value of a cryptocurrency, which is based on supply and demand.

A lesson from Simone Accornnero, FlexiDAO CEO and Co-founder.

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This video is from the free online course:

Blockchain in the Energy Sector

EIT InnoEnergy