Ethereum is an open-source, decentralized computing platform that allows smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps). The more poetic name of the Ethereum project is “a world computer”. It was introduced in 2013 in a whitepaper written by Vitalik Buterin. It described the idea of creating a decentralized platform that will allow users to implement smart contracts and design decentralized applications.
The idea behind Ethereum is to enhance opportunities for blockchain technology and to go beyond just transferring value from one to another. Ethereum’s native currency – Ether (ETH) is used as gas, which refers to fuel for the execution of smart contracts and functioning of dApps. After the London fork in the Ethereum network, when EIP-1559 was implemented, a gas-burning mechanism was launched, which caused a strong growth in the ETH price.
On September 15th, 2022, the Ethereum network went through the long-awaited Merge and transitioned to the Proof-of-Stake consensus algorithm. According to the network's website, the new update reduced Ethereum's energy consumption by ~99.95%. This has also led to the creation of EthereumPoW or ETHW, a fork of the Ethereum mainnet that retained the Proof-of-Work mechanism.