There are two primary ways of obtaining Ether: buying it and mining it.
The most common and perhaps the most convenient way of buying Ether is buying it on exchanges. All you need to do is find an exchange that trades in Ether and operates within your jurisdiction, set up an account and use either your bank account, wire transfer or in some cases even your bank card to buy Ether tokens. Those will then need to be stored in a wallet, which can be provided by an exchange itself, Ethereum’s native Mist browser or by various other specialized services.
Alternatively, you can obtain Ether through peer-to-peer trading, paying for it with any agreed upon currency, including Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This can be done both online and in-person. Peer-to-peer trading is rather popular among Bitcoin users. However, due to the virtually unlimited supply of Ether tokens and the Ethereum platform not putting complete user anonymity at the forefront of the system, Ether is usually obtained via exchanges.
Another way of getting Ether tokens is by mining them. Mining Ethereum uses proof-of-work, which means that miners contribute their computing power to solve a complex mathematical problem in order to ‘seal-off’ and confirm a block of actions within the network. Miners who manage to successfully complete this task receive a reward for every block mined.
Despite the fact that Ethereum, much like Bitcoin, has been around for several years, it only just started gaining mainstream media’s and general public’s attention. A lot of experts agree that it is a disruptive technology that is set to not only completely change the way Internet works but also revolutionize services and industries that have been existing for hundreds of years.
Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum, is being very careful and modest with his predictions. In a recent interview, he stated that he intends to keep Ethereum the leading Blockchain-related platform, focusing on technical issues and security improvement in the new future.
Balaji Srinivasan, a CEO of 21.co, has recently voiced his firm belief in Ethereum still being around in five to 10 years time. Peter Smith, founder of Blockchain, described Ethereum’s infrastructure applications as ‘fascinating’ and mentioned that the platform has a very strong shot at overhauling title insurance, which involves policies related to real estate, as just one example.
Overall, opinions on the future of Ethereum among cryptocurrency experts are generally positive. However, there are many old-school financial experts who, despite the extraordinary success and relative stability of both Bitcoin and Ether, as well as the undeniable importance of technologies behind the projects, are still predicting their impending downfall.