Ethereum Celebrates 6 Years of Innovation
Ethereum marked its sixth anniversary on 30 July, 2021. We take a look at Ethereum’s brief history and what we can expect in the exciting upcoming developments.
Ethereum — Looking Back
When Ethereum was first introduced six years ago, it was seen as a complement to Bitcoin but, over time, has grown to be one of the biggest blockchain protocols and Bitcoin’s most significant competitor. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin first got involved with Bitcoin in 2011. He quickly noticed that Bitcoin was using what he called a Swiss Army knife protocol to support each explicit use case and knew there had to be a better solution. (1) In 2013, Buterin introduced Ethereum in a white paper which outlined his intent to create a framework that could run all decentralized applications and gave developers the freedom to build any application they wanted. The following year, a yellow paper written by Dr Gavin Wood, Buterin’s co-founder, was released, and a campaign was launched to fund the project. The team raised more than $18 million in 42 days by selling Ethereum tokens and got to work preparing for the initial launch.
When choosing a blockchain technology, it’s also essential to look at how the technology compares to its competitors. As one of the most popular and established blockchains, Ethereum has plenty of competitors but do any of them actually stack up? One to keep an eye on is Cardano. Cardano launched two years after Ethereum and was written by Charles Hoskinson, one of the co-founders of Ethereum. It was written entirely from scratch, creating a new blockchain to try and address some of the scalability issues faced by both Bitcoin and Ethereum. Cardano’s biggest hurdle has been their development speed compared to others since every step they take is peer-reviewed by a team of experts. They’re taking significant steps forward this year by adding smart contacts. The outcome of these changes could drastically change how the two technologies compare to one another and whether Cardano is able to overtake Ethereum.
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Ethereum — Going Forward
Ethereum’s future is also looking bright. Many in the industry see Ethereum 2.0 as the technology that could unlock Ethereum’s true potential and finally end Bitcoin’s twelve-year reign as the best blockchain. The changes will allow Ethereum to overcome the obstacles that have held it back previously and address the scalability and efficiency issues it faced. Ethereum 2.0 is scheduled to be released in three phases. The first phase, launched in December 2020 with the Beacon Chain. This introduced the change from proof of work to proof of stake, making Ethereum significantly more sustainable and greener. Both Ethereum and Bitcoin use proof of work to authenticate data and validate transactions. While this is an incredibly safe and secure method, it uses a lot of energy and is also slower and more expensive than proof of stake.
The second phase, Altair, will go live in 2021 and introduce shard chains to the Beacon Chain. Sharding is a processing technique that will also help Ethereum 2.0 improve scalability and efficiency. Currently, Ethereum verifies data by having all the participating nodes verify each piece of data. This means that processing speed is determined by the slowest node and often results in decreased throughput and higher costs as verification takes longer than necessary. Sharding will allow data verification tasks to be broken up between the nodes, speeding the process significantly. These changes will result in Ethereum 2.0 being faster and more efficient than its predecessor, allowing it to compete with the newer blockchains as well as highlighting Bitcoin’s ageing infrastructure.
Another primary goal of Ethereum 2.0 is to make the blockchain more accessible by moving from the Ethereum Virtual Machine to a web assembly language in a system called eWASM. This will allow users to execute Ethereum code in a web browser rather than needing to use the virtual machine. Overall, users can expect Ethereum 2.0 to be more scalable, secure, sustainable, and accessible as well as less expensive. If Ethereum’s success over the last six years has shown anything, it’s that with the changes currently being made, the sky’s the limit for Ethereum 2.0.
The Key Features of Web 3.0 Ubiquity, Semantic Web, Artificial Intelligence, 3D Graphics. data will be interconnected in a decentralized way, which would be a huge leap forward to our current generation of the internet (Web 2.0), where data is mostly stored in centralized repositories. Furthermore, users and machines will be able to interact with data. But for this to happen, programs need to understand information both conceptually and contextually. With this in mind, the two cornerstones of Web 3.0 are semantic web and artificial intelligence (AI).
Let’s have a look at some of the finer aspects of the Web 3.0 internet version:
Web 3.0 claims to provide a decentralized means of protecting internet data, which is more secure and private than Web 2.0.
Cryptocurrency’s Promise Web 3.0 also adds value to the internet by enabling cryptocurrency, which is widely considered as the currency of the future. Web 3.0 allows payment networks to execute transactions like money transfers, real estate registrations, and more without the requirement for an intermediary such as banks, agencies, or other businesses.
Another ground-breaking element of Web 3.0 is the Internet of Things (IoT). Consumers may command a range of linked objects, including automobiles, smart refrigerators, smart TVs, lighting, and more, to execute a variety of activities through the internet in a fraction of a second using only a smart device. Web 3.0 also integrates artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) to improve the user experience.
The Bottom Line
Ethereum is still the gold standard for smart contracts and blockchain applications. These new rivals all have appealing value propositions, but they must first show widespread user acceptance and success. Web 3.0 is the next stage of the web evolution that would make the internet more intelligent or process information with near-human-like intelligence through the power of AI systems that could run smart programs to assist users.
Sources: Forbes, Coin Market Cap, Medium, Medium