Aug 9, 2017

Gabe Nicholas Explains Ethereum, “Coding’s New Wild West”

From Wired

Ethereum Is Coding's New Wild West

By Gabriel Nicholas

If people know Ethereum at all, it is as Bitcoin’s hip, experimental cousin. If they know one thing about it, it is that the price of Ether, the coin underlying Ethereum, has skyrocketed by a factor of 20 over the last six months. But the ensuing get-rich-quick mania has led many to overlook Ethereum’s more lasting significance. More than a new type of digital currency, it is a new type of distributed computer—one that no one controls but inside which anyone can see. On this computer, a new generation of applications, called “DApps,” is being born.

How can Ethereum be a cryptocurrency and a computer at the same time? Instead of running on a laptop or a server, it runs on thousands of individual computers at once, all kept in sync with blockchain technology. In its simplest form, a blockchain is an ordered list of items upon which all of these computers agree. On Ethereum, that list is made up of programmable computer states (think ones and zeros)....

This system is called the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), or colloquially, the “world computer.” Code is run publicly, but users are pseudonymous.... No individual controls the system. That makes Ethereum something genuinely new—something unprecedented....


Gabe Nicholas is a graduate student at the UC Berkeley School of Information focusing on the intersection of technology and society.

Last updated:

August 9, 2017