Since its launch in 2015, Ethereum has become one of the most popular cryptocurrencies in the world. Unlike Bitcoin, which is designed to be a digital currency, Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts.
These contracts are written in code and can be used to create decentralized applications (dapps).
Ethereum is a proof-of-work (PoW) coin, which means that it uses a mining process to validate transactions on the network. This mining process requires miners to solve complex mathematical problems in order to add blocks of transactions to the blockchain.
In return for their work, miners are rewarded with ETH.
While Ethereum’s PoW system is effective, it has come under criticism in recent years for being energy-intensive and not as scalable as other consensus mechanisms. As a result, the Ethereum Foundation is currently working on a transition to a proof-of-stake (PoS) system.
Under PoS, validators will stake their ETH in order to validate transactions on the network. This process is much more energy-efficient than PoW and is also expected to be more scalable.
The transition from PoW to PoS is expected to take place sometime in 2020. Until then, Ethereum will continue to function as a PoW coin.
Whether or not it will remain popular after the transition remains to be seen.