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On Ethereum Smart Contracts

Breeding digital cats might help you figure out Ethereum

[By MIT Technology Review]

Bitcoin’s younger cousin has its own programming language that people can use to write so-called smart contracts, applications that run on processing power provided by computers on the network.

Confused?

A new game that lets you use Ethereum smart contracts to breed digital cats might help.

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/bj78jv/cryptokitties-blockchain-cats-axiom-zen-game?utm_campaign=21ae94a9da-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_10_24&utm_medium=email&utm_source=MIT+Technology+Review&utm_term=0_997ed6f472-21ae94a9da-154253973

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3 Responses

  1. The reason Ethereum exists

    In the beginning, there was Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency has for many become synonymous with the idea of digital money, rising to a market capitalization of nearly $100 billion. But the second most valuable currency, Ether, may be far more interesting than its headline-grabbing older sibling. To understand why it’s so popular, it helps to understand why the software that runs it, called Ethereum, exists in the first place.

    On Halloween in 2008, someone or some group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto published a whitepaper describing a system that would rely on a “decentralized” network of computers to facilitate the peer-to-peer exchange of value (bitcoins). Those computers would verify and record every transaction in a shared, encrypted accounting ledger. Nakamoto called this ledger a “blockchain,” because it’s composed of groups of transactions called “blocks,” each one cryptographically linked to the one preceding it.

    Bitcoin eventually took off, and soon people latched onto the idea that its blockchain could be used to do other things, from tracking medical data to executing complex financial transactions. But its design, intended specifically for a currency, limited the range of applications it could support, and Bitcoin aficionados started brainstorming new approaches. It was from this primordial soup that Ethereum emerged.

    In a 2013 whitepaper, then 19-year old Vitalik Buterin laid out his plan for a blockchain system that could also facilitate all sorts of “decentralized applications.” Buterin achieved this in large part by baking a programming language into Ethereum so that people can customize it to their purposes. The basis of these new apps are so-called smart contracts—computer programs that execute transactions, usually involving the transfer of currency, according to stipulations agreed upon by the individuals transacting.

    Imagine, for example, that you want to send your friend some cryptocurrency automatically, at a specific time. There’s a smart contract for that. More complex smart contracts even allow for the creation of entirely new cryptocurrencies. That feature is at the heart of most initial coin offerings.

    The processing power needed to run the smart contracts comes from the computers in an open, distributed network. Those computers also verify and record transactions in the blockchain. Ether tokens, which are currently worth about $300 a piece, are the reward for these contributions.

    And so, whereas Bitcoin is the first shared global accounting ledger, Ethereum is supposed to be the first shared global computer. The technology is nascent, and there are plenty of kinks to iron out, but that’s what all the fuss is about.

    https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf?utm_source=MIT+Technology+Review&utm_campaign=bf2e0377b5-chain_letter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_997ed6f472-bf2e0377b5-154253973

    Ann Miller RN MHA via MIT Technology News

    Like

  2. Bitcoin

    Smart contracts are great. Finally we can build truly trustless apps.

    Lawlez

    Like

  3. Vitalik’s vision

    Ethereum developers from around the world descended on Cancun last week for Devcon, the flagship annual conference for Bitcoin’s younger cousin.

    The goal of Ethereum’s creator, 23-year-old Vitalik Buterin, is to create a Bitcoin-like cryptocurrency that also functions as shared global computer. Ethereum faces similar challenges to Bitcoin, however, particularly with respect to how it will adjust to handle fast-growing transaction volumes. But Buterin has a plan.

    At Devcon, Buterin offered a potential solution to the scaling issue, which he called “probably problem number one.” The approach, called “sharding,” is inspired by traditional databases, and it amounts to partitioning the network’s data and having its individual members each store only a chunk of it. Buterin said this would allow innovation to occur faster because different “shards” of the network could be used to test new concepts without disrupting the whole network.

    Makes sense. Problem is, it’s not clear yet how to pull it off.

    Caspar

    Like

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