The Ethereum blockchain was launched in 2014 following an initial offering of around 60 million ether (ETH). Additional Ether are released through a mining process, similar to Bitcoin. The Ethereum system went live in July 2015.
Ethereum is a decentralized platform for building applications that run smart contracts. Smart contracts are executable functions that run exactly as programmed, without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud, or third party interference. Often, these smart contracts look to external conditions to determine whether to take an action on an asset, and once these conditions are met, the contract will automatically execute. These smart contracts are incorporated into decentralized applications, which are then in turn built on and hosted by the Ethereum platform. ETH is used as an internal currency within the Ethereum ecosystem as a form of payment for transaction fees and to perform actions, such as creating smart contracts and building decentralized applications.
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