As it was mentioned before, Ethereum is based on Bitcoin’s protocol and its Blockchain design but is tweaked so that applications beyond money systems can be supported. The two Blockchains’ only similarity is that they store entire transaction histories of their respective networks, but Ethereum’s Blockchain does a lot more than that. Besides the history of transactions, every node on Ethereum network also needs to download the most recent state, or the current information, of each smart contract within the network, every user’s balance and all the smart contract code and where it’s stored.
Essentially, the Ethereum Blockchain can be described as a transaction-based state machine. When it comes to computer science, a state machine is defined as something capable of reading a series of inputs and transitioning to a new state based on those inputs. When transactions are executed, the machine transitions into another state.
Every state of Ethereum consists of millions of transactions. Those transactions are grouped to form ‘blocks,’ with each and every block being chained together with its previous blocks. But before the transaction can be added to the ledger, it needs to be validated, that goes through a process called mining.
Mining is a process when a group of nodes apply their computing power to completing a ‘proof of work’ challenge, which is essentially a mathematical puzzle. The more powerful their computer is, the quicker it can solve the puzzle. An answer to this puzzle is in itself a proof of work, and it guarantees the validity of a block.
A lot of miners around the world are competing with each other in an attempt to create and validate a block, as every time a miner proves a block new Ether tokens are generated and awarded to said miner. Miners are a backbone of the Ethereum network, as they not only confirm and validate transactions and any other operations within the network but also generate new tokens of the network’s currency.
First and foremost, Ethereum allows developers to build and deploy decentralized applications. Moreover, any centralized services can be decentralized using the Ethereum platform. The potential of Ethereum platform for building apps not limited by anything other than the creators’ creativity.
Decentralized applications have a potential of changing the relationship between companies and their audiences completely. These days there are a lot of services that charge commission fees for simply providing an escrow service and a platform for users to trade goods and services. On the other hand, Ethereum’s Blockchain’s can enable customers to trace the origins of product they’re buying, while the implementation of smart contracts can ensure safe and fast trading for both parties without any intermediary.
The Blockchain technology itself has a potential of revolutionizing web-based services as well as industries with long-established contractual practices. For example, an insurance industry in the US possesses more than $7 bln inclined life insurance money, which can be redistributed fairly and transparently using Blockchain. Moreover, with the implementation of smart contracts, clients can be able to simply submit their insurance claim online and receive an instant automatic payout, considering that their claim met all the required criteria.
Essentially, the Ethereum Blockchain is capable of bringing its core principles – trust, transparency, security and efficiency – into any service, business or an industry.
Ethereum can also be used to create Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO), which operate completely transparently and independently of any intervention, with no single leader. DAOs are run by programming code and a collection of smart contracts written on the Blockchain. It is designed to eliminate the need for a person or a group of people in complete and centralized control of an organization.
DAOs are owned by people who purchased tokens. However, the amount of purchased tokens doesn’t equate equity shares and ownership. Instead, tokens are contributions that provide people with voting rights.