Ethereum draws inspiration from Bitcoin. They are both cryptocurrencies. Ethereum uses the same technology behind Bitcoin, a blockchain, which uses a shared, decentralized public ledger to decentralize the network so it’s not under the control of just one entity.
But while Bitcoin is used primarily as a store of value, the idea behind Ethereum is to decentralize other kinds of applications and services, from social media networks to more complex financial agreements.
Why is Ethereum sometimes called a ‘world computer?’
Many advocates see Ethereum as a “world computer” that could decentralize the internet.
With Ethereum, centralized servers are replaced by thousands of so-called “nodes” run by volunteers all over the world thus forming a “world computer.” The hope is that one day, anyone in the world will be able to use it.
How does an Ethereum app work?
Scrolling through a typical app store you’ll see a variety of colorful squares representing everything from banking to fitness to messaging apps. The long-term vision of the Ethereum community is to make apps that look just like these, but that work differently under the hood.
In short, the goal is for Ethereum apps to return control of the data in these types of services to its owner.
What are the next steps for Ethereum?
It’s worth noting that Ethereum has been met with healthy skepticism. For one, Ethereum is far from scalable, meaning it can’t support many users right now, throwing a wrench in the idea of a “world computer” that disrupts Google, Facebook and other centralized platforms.
Ethereum 2.0, which was launched Dec. 1, 2020, aims to fix some of these issues. Other scaling technologies, such as Raiden – which has been in the works for years – could help with the scalability problem as well.