Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of fraud or third party interference.
These apps run on a custom built blockchain, an enormously powerful shared global infrastructure that can move value around and represent ownership of property. This enables developers to create markets, store registries of debts or promises, move funds in accordance with instructions given long in the past (like a will or a futures contract) and many other things that have not been invented yet, all without a middle man or counterparty risk.
The project was bootstraped via an ether presale in August 2014 by fans all around the world. It is developed by the Ethereum Foundation, a Swiss non-profit, with contributions from great minds across the globe.
Ethereum is often described as a digital currency but here’s something important to keep in mind: Ethereum is much more than that. Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of fraud or third party interference.
Ethereum is often described as “digital oil” because it powers the decentralized applications (dApps) and smart contracts that run on the Ethereum blockchain. These dApps and smart contracts make Ethereum one of the most liquid assets in the world because they can be used to exchange value (ether) for goods, services, and other cryptocurrencies.