What The F^<k Is Ethereum? A New Era of World Supercomputing And Why This Is A Big Deal…
If you’ve been around in crypto for any period of time, you probably know what’s up with Ethereum.
However, as much hunch to get into blockchain technology has well-paid off and I’ve begun sharing more with friends and family, I’ve realized the answer to, “what is Ethereum” is more detailed and complex than perhaps suitable for a short conversation, requiring a well-laid-out presentation of fundamental information that I simply don’t have the time and patience to go into again-and-again.
As such, the following is written to provide leverage as a resource to share with people who have never heard of Ethereum nor understand what it is and what its implications are.
If you do know why Ethereum is the bomb-diggy, I suggest reading this anyways for a fresh perspective. You might still learn a couple new things, and if you like the overview, feel free to share it with any friends or family if you feel it’d be of value as a thorough yet straightforward explanation and introduction of Ethereum to them.
This is going to start with a brief historical story to set the context as an entry-point, and then shall get into more of the nitty-gritty.
Without further ado…
Once upon a time, there was a great wave. This wave was called the internet. And it changed everything.
All of a sudden, people could send each other messages across the world in seconds and share all kinds of information. The wave swept over the world, changing things for mankind, disrupting many industries. Things were never the same.
Soon later, another wave in the same set came. This wave was a combination of forces: social media, and mobile phones with internet access.
Now, the internet became more easily accessible to people all over the world. And people had a way to share ideas and content faster and easier than ever before. Again, the world was changed.
People rejoiced in their newfound capabilities to learn, share, and be entertained — surfing the ripples of these waves for fun and using this new cyberspace to market businesses and services, competing for the surfers’ attention and money. Many benefits came to society. But, with all the new information becoming widely available, people began to learn of many faults in the global systems only few know or spoke of before…
As more people became aware of how the world worked, there was an awakening to many ways society’s governments and institutions had been corrupted. They learned how inefficient the old systems were, and they learned of many injustices. They learnt how profit-driven economics and corporate-driven politics benefited a select few while disempowering and entrapping the majority in a financial game of manipulation and fraud. They learned of a military-industrial complex sustained by a banking system run by crooks, and how the governments failed to live up to their expectation of serving the people to create healthy, sustainable living conditions — instead being bought off by private interests who sought to exploit both people and nature for their own domination.
The first two waves of the internet opened many doors and allowed people worldwide to discuss how chaotic the world had become under the control of outdated systems of centralized “power.” They also accelerated the spread of knowledge passed on by teachers like Buckminster Fuller, who proposed we possessed all the resources for all mankind to live healthily and harmoniously, if only we changed from a scarcity to abundance outlook and innovated our distribution systems.
People were engraged as they became aware of the tricks that had been played on them. But they still didn’t really know what to do about it. The old infrastructural systems of society were so solidified and overwhelmingly large, they were impossible to bring down, and they didn’t (yet) have the means to build the new systems that could make the old obsolete. They could exchange information and ideas over the internet, but they still had to play in the enemies’ financial domains in order to pay bills and put food on the table.
Then, came the third wave…
It began when an anonymous computer programmer going by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto dropped a huge — and I mean HUUUUUUUUGE — bomb deep into the ocean of the world wide web. This bomb was so big it would eventually become a tsunami completely overthrowing the old world. This bomb was Bitcoin.
The wave started slow. But people began to see what was coming.
They saw this was the alternative to the corrupted banking system that kept mankind enslaved. They saw the potential for this new digital money issued by no centralized authority.
They understood this new protocol for transfering currency transparently on a distributed, untamperable public ledger through a decentralized network could enable billions of people in developing nations to enter a global economy — without the interference of a middleman. They saw it as a store of value immune to collapse of national economic systems, such as happened in Greece and Venezuela. They knew it was the step to ending mankind’s reliance upon a coercive system run corrupted crooks, as people were now able to quickly and easily exchange value directly with one another on their own terms.
*But Bitcoin was only the tip of the iceberg.*
They knew Bitcoin was only one application of the technology behind it: blockchain. This was the wave — of which we are still at the relative beginning of.
When people started contemplating the implications of this technology, their eyes opened to a world of possibilities for how it could be used to host all kinds of different applications that could solve some of society’s biggest problems.
They saw how registering land titles on a public blockchain could drastically reduce corruption in third world countries. They saw all kinds of ways it could improve efficiencies in supply chains, open-source scientific research, health care, insurance, prediction markets, how this technology could solve the biggest challenges in the music business & creative industries to ensure artists get fairly paid for their work, and upgrade entire protocols within international commerce and finance. There were so many, many ways it was foreseen a distributed computing network could be used to upgrade all kinds of things in society, it’d take a lengthy book to explain them all. (And that book is none other than Blockchain Revolution by Don & Alex Tapscott — GET YOURSELF A COPY AND READ IT!)
So, some of the most brilliant minds from the Bitcoin gathered for the purpose of actualizing a common vision and developed a new blockchain upon which all these different types of applications could be built. This was Ethereum.
Now, rather than trying to go into the details of re-explaining everything as someone has already done it better before, here are a few links to check out for a thorough overview, before carrying on to add some fresh perspectives to it:
Do come back to dive deeper into those later, as it WILL require an investment of time. Get through them, however, and you’ll have a pretty good foundational insight.
The main premise of Ethereum — however, to keep it simple — was a world supercomputer upon which decentralized applications could be built utilizing “smart contracts."
In layman’s terms, a smart contract is a self-executing contract written in computer code.
For an absolutely simplified example: x amount of funds is to be transfered from person A to B if conditions y & z are met.
The implications? The elimination of middlemen in many transactions. Timely & efficient payments. Automatability all kinds of agreements for value exchange based on verifiable results and outcomes. Kinda like AI that conducts your business how you program it to. No third-parties required.
Though even with that, we’re not even getting into the meat of what is capable of being built on Ethereum. There are really so many aspects and components under development, you really need to reference the four links above to get the whole picture.
But what’s in all this for you, you might be asking…?
Simply: entirely new ways of collaboratively creating, rewarding, and exchanging value. Capabilities for putting great ideas into action increasingly quicker and easier by leveraging systems to self-execute key business value transfers.
Or rather: new ways of automating and efficiently getting paid for your own value creation.
You can essentially print your own money and grow your own ecosystems, quickly and easily crowdfunding through the issuance of tokens that can serve either as company shares, its own currency, or functional access tokens to the ecosystem’s services and/or products.
You can use interoperable components to simplify the creation and management of businesses completely on the blockchain, leverage the supercomputing power of a distributed network and/or creative rights licensing mechanisms, participate in or integrate predictions markets in governance models, reputation & identity systems, upgrade humanitarian aid models, and the list goes on and on.
This might all sound intimidatingly technical for some, and fairly so.
However, just as there are hundreds of ways each of us has massively benefited from the multitude of applications built on the current internet protocols without understanding the technical details behind it, so this next generation of a blockchain-based internet shall bring many, many opportunities for all to play in a very exciting new arena. Unfortunately for the lazy, these possibilities are not all easily seen without a fundamental understanding of some of the key premises at core of these systems — thus broadening the scope of vision and opening access to significant opportunities for those who invest in the knowledge of what this is, how it works, and how it all might be applied.
Now, Ethereum may started out as a great concept. However, since it’s launched, it’s picked up serious momentum, building a strong, quickly-growing global community of developers and users, evolving to upgrade its technical performance & security, and making serious headway into the professional enterprise institutional playground, while still staying true to its evolutionary roots and vision of positive global transformation through decentralization.
While we started with the story earlier about corruption in the banking system and government, which may have come across as though it were from a rather rebellious anti-establish standpoint — and there are several within the crypto world who have taken such a stance, for good reasons — there is an element of genius that has been expressed through Ethereum’s strategy as a recognition that more good can possibly be done through a transformation of the systems from the inside rather than an outright war against them.
Of course, the global systems have their flaws — though, they are still run by people — many of whom genuinely are in service of upgrading the systems and of a new generation welcoming change. Brilliantly, Ethereum’s leadership has sought to partner with world leaders in commerce, industry, and politics to forge the relationships required to introduce and integrate the emerging technologies developed on Ethereum into existing systems at the same time as supporting a parallel track of innovation in completely alternative systems — ensuring the infrastructure is put in place to serve as a solid bridge between the two worlds to bring the best of the old into the new as needed to actualize the vision.
Having launched less than three years, technical progress has been relatively slow but steady, with many of the public [dApps (decentralized applications) in their early development stage. However, the core teams leading Ethereum have very successfully managed to form partnerships suggesting much more has been going on behind-the-scenes than some might guess based on press releases alone. These partnerships alone paint a strong picture of fundamentals validating the highest hopes of Ethereum stakeholders and evangelists…
For starters, Microsoft has partnered with the leadering Ethereum developers, Consensys, for their “Blockchain As A Service” platform, Azure.
My confidence in Ethereum was first truly inspired when meeting the Consensys team — the leading Ethereum dApp development studio led by Ethereum co-founder, Joe Lubin — in Bali last October. These guys aren’t playing, and are quite an impressive collective of brilliant minds and talent who’ve supported a hefty number of major project launches on Ethereum. I would recommend signing up for their email list to opt-in to their regular updates, so you can see for yourself what I mean. In fact, the bulk of Ethereum’s biggest successes might be able to be traced back to Consensys — notably:
Consensys becoming the official blockchain advisor to the city of Dubai, who want to become the first blockchain-powered city in the world by 2020.
And, the recent formation of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance — a collective of organization dedicated to the advancement of the blockchain as an enterprise-grade platform, with a seriously impressive list of partners including Microsoft, Intel, Samsung SDS, Accenture, Toyota, J.P. Morgan, UBS, Credit Suisse, National Bank Of Canada, the San Fransisco Stock Exchange, and dozens more. For more info on this enterprise side of the blockchain, be sure to read “The Birth Of Enterprise Ethereum in 2017" by chief of staff at Consensys, Jeremy Millar.
Of course, it’s also worth mentioning that Ethereum is growing exponentially in China.
Any way you look at, these all appear to be pretty strong fundamental tell-tale signs of something very significant happening with this blockchain.
Of course, it must be stated: nothing in life is guaranteed.
Sure, Ethereum might be partnering with huge enterprises, smart cities, and institutions to collectively build a better tomorrow on the blockchain. Though, it is still all kind of in a relatively-experimental state, being so early on in the game.
A strong core team and open-source protocol with a committed global army of talented developers might help Ethereum break through whatever growing pains may arise along the way, however, it’s still unknown as to what random unknowns might get thrown as a curveball in it all — or what potential competitors may enter the space with a superior technology of some sort or another.
Presently, there has been no other platform capable of what Ethereum is with its smart contract protocols. However, upcoming projects Tezos, Tauchain, and EOS have been predicted to be potential contenders upon their concepts being turned into effective working prototypes. Time shall tell whether each of those projects fulfill upon their hopes, and surely others will emerge that could give Ethereum a run for its money.
For now, though, Ethereum is a big deal.
It may be a bit complex to fully understand and grasp the scope of what may be coming as a result of its blossoming ecosystem of decentralized applications. Though the more time invested in knowledge of the platform and what’s been in the works with it, the more likely one might be to solidify their confidence in the reasons for its increasing adoption rate (and corresponding token price — which has risen 70% to all-time highs over the last few days following the Consensys-sponsored Ethereal Summit and news of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance adding 86 new members.
Though even if Ethereum were to completely crash tomorrow, the foundations it has established with its concept, philosophy, vision, technological protocols, and influence in advancing the decentralization movement within this third wave of blockchain technology shall no doubt prove monumental advancements in the upgrading of our world’s finance, economic, and governance systems.
Why should you care?
Perhaps the same reason you should have cared when the internet was just beginning. Maybe you “shouldn’t” — though doing so could be of significant advantage.
This stuff is game-changing. And the early adopters who learn to navigate these new waters and learn to surf the wave will be those best-skilled to make the most of the abundant opportunities to be created in the space.
If you give a fuck about making a difference in the world, these are powerful tools and technologies that shall likely prove instrumental in the development of new economic models, businesses, global initiatives, and projects that may very well facilitate value flows enabling your most deeply-desired legacies to be actualized.
That may sound all rather grand and idealistic.
Though these major global shifts underway — and the technologies like Ethereum driving them — you might not want to ignore. Cuz it might just all go down even bigger and better than we could even imagine at this point.
That about concludes this ‘brief’ introduction and curation of resources, from which I hope you’ll have gained a clearer understanding about what Ethereum is and how this decentralized world supercomputing smart contract platform is a game-changer.
If you’re interested in learning more, be sure to get through the linked references, provided again below.
Until next time, surf’s up…
Originally posted on Steemit May 23, 2017