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Ethereum Basics: A Starter Guide for Entrepreneurs and Investors

By Michael Scott Jun 14, 2017 8:51 PM EDT

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If you are familiar with the terms “Bitcoin” or “blockchain,” you’ve probably heard of Ethereum, as it has been one of the most widely covered projects in the media. This primer will provide a basic understanding of its viability and future prospects.

What Is Ethereum and How Does It Work

Ethereum is a decentralized, software platform based on blockchain technology that is layered on the Internet. The network functions as an ecosystem of computers, which facilitates the use of new applications. It utilizes a programming language similar to Javascript, which is what developers use to build Smart Contracts.

These “Smart Contracts” are applications that execute pre-programmed commands all while mitigating the likelihood of fraud, downtime, censorship, or third-party tampering. They have myriad applications to support functions like trade settlements and the management of real estate transactions.

This coding language and protocol in these smart contracts as a foundational element of Ethereum possess the intelligence to self-enforce and execute commands without human intervention. They can be utilized for multiple purposes involving such things as title registries, corporate entities, election result tabulations, and untold other applications. For this reason, many believe that these programs could replace lawyers, banks and other third-party intermediaries for many common legal and financial transactions.

Each participating stakeholder in the vast Ethereum system is rewarded for their investment in hardware, electricity and processing power used to help run the network. This reward to “miners” comes in the form of a newly created crypto-token known as ether.

Once received, computer owner have a couple of options in terms of the use of the ether. For starters, they can further monetize their work and then exchange the ether for fiat in the form of dollars for example. Or they can sell their ether to decentralized app (dApp) developers who


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