Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference.
These apps run on a custom built blockchain, an enormously powerful shared global infrastructure that can move value around and represent the ownership of property. This enables developers to create markets, store registries of debts or promises, move funds in accordance with instructions given long in the past (like a will or a futures contract) and many other things that have not been invented yet, all without a middle man or counterpart risk.
The project was crowdfunded during August 2014 by fans all around the world. It is developed by the Ethereum Foundation, a Swiss nonprofit, with contributions from great minds across the globe.
The features of Ethereum:
DESIGN AND ISSUE YOUR OWN CRYPTOCURRENCY
Create a tradeable digital token that can be used as a currency, a representation of an asset, a virtual share, a proof of membership or anything at all. These tokens use a standard coin API, so your contract will be automatically compatible with any wallet, other contract or exchange also using this standard.
The total amount of tokens in circulation can be set to a simple fixed amount or fluctuate based on any programmed ruleset.
YOU CAN BUILD:
A tradeable token with a fixed supply.
A central bank that can issue money.
A puzzle-based cryptocurrency.
KICKSTART A PROJECT WITH A TRUSTLESS CROWDSALE
Do you already have ideas that you want to develop on Ethereum? Maybe you need help and some funds to bring them to life, but who would lend money to someone they don’t trust?
Using Ethereum, you can create a contract that will hold a contributor's money until any given date or goal is reached. Depending on the outcome, the funds will either be released to the project owners or safely returned back to the contributors. All of this is possible without requiring a centralized arbitrator, clearing house or having to trust anyone.
You can even use the token you created earlier to keep track of the distribution of rewards.
YOU CAN BUILD:
A crowdfund to pre-sell a product.
A crowdsale to sell virtual shares in a blockchain organization.
An auction of a limited number of items.
CREATE A DEMOCRATIC AUTONOMOUS ORGANIZATION
Now that you have developed your idea and secured funds, what’s next? You have to hire managers, find a trustworthy CFO to handle the accounts, run board meetings and do a bunch of paperwork.
Or you can simply leave all that to an Ethereum contract. It will collect proposals from your backers and submit them through a completely transparent voting process.
One of the many advantages of having a robot run your organization is that it is immune to any outside influence as it’s guaranteed to execute only what it was programmed to. And because the Ethereum network is decentralized, you'll be able to provide services with a 100% uptime guarantee.
YOU CAN BUILD:
A virtual organization where members vote on issues.
A transparent association based on shareholder voting Your own country with an unchangeable constitution.
A better delegative democracy.
Build a new kind of decentralized application
Now it's your turn: start building what you dream of creating in Ethereum! Could your business be enhanced by operating on a cryptographically secure, decentralized, tamper-proof network?
Check out the many great projects* already being built on Ethereum. And since you'll be among the first developers in the world that are able to program decentralized applications, some of them might need your help.
The above list is maintained by an independent party and the Foundation does not endorse its content or any particular project on that list.