Ethereum is a decentralized open source blockchain featuring smart contract functionality. Ether (ETH) is the native cryptocurrency token of the Ethereum platform. It is the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, behind Bitcoin.Ethereum was proposed in late 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, a cryptocurrency researcher and programmer. Development was funded by an online crowdsale that took place between July and August 2014. The system then went live on 30 July 2015, with 72 million coins minted. Ethereum provides a decentralized replicated virtual machine, called the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which can execute scripts using an international network of public nodes. The virtual machine's instruction set is Turing-complete, in contrast to Bitcoin.
In 2016, as a result of an exploitation of a flaw in The DAO project's smart contract software, and subsequent theft of $50 million worth of Ether, Ethereum was split into two separate blockchains. The new separate version became Ethereum (ETH) with the theft reversed, and the original chain continued as Ethereum Classic (ETC).Ethereum is currently developing and planning to implement a series of upgrades called Ethereum 2.0. Current specifications for Ethereum 2.0 include a transition to proof of stake and an increase in transaction throughput using sharding technology.
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