If you’ve heard of blockchain, you must have also heard of Ethereum as well. Ethereum is an open-source, decentralized, and distributed computing platform that facilitates the development of Smart Contracts and DApps (decentralized applications). Ethereum also has a native cryptocurrency, Ether, which is the second most used cryptocurrency following Bitcoin.
A Smart Contract is a self-executing agreement that is programmed and recorded on Ethereum. It is essentially a computer protocol that facilitates, verifies, and enforces the negotiation and execution of an agreement between two or more parties.
Smart Contracts operate on the “if” logic – if an action A occurs, it will result in another action B. These contracts have a user interface that you could implement as a web page or a mobile application. Smart Contracts can run without any third-party involvement or censorship, nor do they exhibit any downtime.
Ethereum’s Smart Contract infrastructure is powered by the four core building blocks of the DApp technology:
- Cryptographic tokens & addresses – This is a secure voucher system and a standard for computing value designed via cryptography. Using cryptographic tokens and addresses, you create new blocks/assets on existing blockchains. They are used for payment purposes and also to denote pseudonymous identities.
- Peer-to-peer networking – Just like Bitcoin, Ethereum too runs on P2P networks wherein individual users create a network by connecting their computers to enable data exchange data in a decentralized server.
- Consensus algorithms – These advanced algorithms allow users to reach a consensus on a blockchain network’s present state. Typically, an Ethereum blockchain reaches consensus every 15 seconds.
- Turing complete VM – A VM (virtual machine) refers to a computer designed in the form of software capable of running on a layer of abstraction above the underlying hardware. Ethereum uses the Turing complete VM, a robust system that can run any program and implement any program in another complete system.
Advantages of using Ethereum blockchain
Ethereum is based on the fundamental principle of blockchain, that is, it is a public, decentralized ledger that stores records of any digital transaction. Naturally, it isn’t governed or administered by one single or centralized authority. Miners/peers verify all transactions occurring in an Ethereum network on the network.
So, each time a new block is added and verified on an Ethereum network, the miner is awarded an Ether. What’s best is that you cannot modify or corrupt the Ethereum blocks – it is an immutable digital ledger that can only be accessed by a unique cryptographic key. Thus, Ethereum being devoid of a central point of failure, the DApps, and Smart Contracts are safe from security breaches like hacking.
To sum it up, DApps built on Ethereum are unique because:
- They generate innovative digital currencies and assets.
- They create web apps that are immutable and uncensorable.
- They are managed and verified collectively by a network of peers.
Ethereum blockchain: Use cases
Smart Contracts have revolutionized how transactions occur in the digital world, making them safe, speedy, and transparent for all the parties involved. Here are a few use cases of Ethereum:
Banking and financial services – Smarts Contracts are immensely useful in the BFSI sector since they can simplify financial procedures. Since all the parties can see the terms of the agreement, there remains no scope for error in financial transactions/procedures. Smart Contracts can be used for mortgages, national bonds, and insurance claims.
Prediction markets – Prediction markets present an excellent platform for leveraging Ethereum since it allows forecasters and researchers to accumulate and store relevant data securely. They can then use this data to make informed decisions and predictions regarding events like election campaigns, auctions, sports matches, etc.
Digital identity management – Today, all companies that function online have an abundance of user data (name, address, credit/debit card information, etc.) that could be easily hacked, violated, or manipulated. Ethereum can solve this problem of data monopoly. If a company store the digital identities and user data in the uPort app, it remains safe from the hands of cybercriminals as only that particular company will be able to access the data.
Learn Ethereum free: The upGrad advantage
Given that Ethereum is a massively popular Blockchain platform gaining ground in the modern industry, it makes sense if you choose to learn Ethereum. Here’s the cherry on top – you can learn Ethereum for free! upGrad has a fantastic online Ethereum free course as a part of its upStart-Priceless Learning initiative. This Ethereum free course will not only introduce you to the basic Blockchain concepts, but it will also get you ready for Blockchain industry roles.
upGrad’s Ethereum free course spans for four weeks, during which you will be trained by qualified instructors and reputed industry leaders. You will have access to upGrad’s top-notch Blockchain-specific learning resources, attend online lectures and learning sessions, and obtain immediate feedback from your mentors. On course completion, upGrad will award you with a certificate of completion. In four weeks, the course will cover three core modules:
1. Blockchain Basics
The first module introduces candidates to the fundamental concepts of blockchain, Ethereum, and cryptography, including Smart contracts, PKI, Digital Signatures, etc. It will also teach learners about the role that each concept plays in a blockchain network and how they help overcome the limitations of existing legacy systems.
2. Blockchain Features
In this module, students will get started with the global use-cases of blockchain. The primary focus of this module is Bitcoin network architecture, Smart Contracts, and their key features.
3. Smart Contract development in Ethereum
The final module takes on a more hands-on approach by training learners on Smart Contract development in Ethereum. While students learn how to write Smart Contracts in blockchain languages like Solidity, Ganache, and Web3.js, they also learn how to deploy them on Ethereum. This practical exercise allows learners to be well-versed with the nitty-gritty of Ethereum’s architecture.
The demand for blockchain skills is soaring right now. Companies are ever-ready to shell out high annual packages to candidates who’re qualified and skilled enough to take charge of blockchain job profiles.
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