Ether is a token whose blockchain is generated by the Ethereum platform. Ether can be transferred between accounts and used to compensate participant mining nodes for computations performed.[3] Ethereum provides a decentralized virtual machine, the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which can execute scripts using an international network of public nodes.[4] The virtual machine's instruction set, in contrast to others like Bitcoin Script, is thought to be Turing-complete. "Gas", an internal transaction pricing mechanism, is used to mitigate spam and allocate resources on the network.[4]
Ethereum has recently created a new standard called the ERC721 token for tracking unique digital assets. One of the biggest use cases currently for such tokens is digital collectibles, as the infrastructure allows for people to prove ownership of scarce digital goods. Many games are currently being built using this technology, such as the overnight hit CryptoKitties, a game where you can collect and breed digital cats.
Bitcoin is a digital asset designed to work in peer-to-peer transactions as a currency.[4][135] Bitcoins have three qualities useful in a currency, according to The Economist in January 2015: they are "hard to earn, limited in supply and easy to verify."[136] Per some researchers, as of 2015, bitcoin functions more as a payment system than as a currency.[32]
The "Metropolis Part 1: Byzantium" soft[citation needed] fork took effect on 16 October 2017, and included changes to reduce the complexity of the EVM and provide more flexibility for smart contract developers. Byzantium also added supports for zk-SNARKs (from Zcash), with the first zk-SNARK transaction occurring on testnet on September 19, 2017.[citation needed]

Izabella Kaminska, the editor of FT Alphaville, has pointed out that criminals are using Ethereum to run Ponzi schemes and other forms of investment fraud.[67] The article was based on a paper from the University of Cagliari, which placed the number of Ethereum smart contracts which facilitate Ponzi schemes at nearly 10% of 1384 smart contracts examined. However, it also estimated that only 0.05% of the transactions on the network were related to such contracts.[68]
Bitcoin, along with other cryptocurrencies, has been described as an economic bubble by at least eight Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureates, including Robert Shiller,[193] Joseph Stiglitz,[194] and Richard Thaler.[195][14] Noted Keyensian economist Paul Krugman wrote in his New York Times column criticizing bitcoin, calling it a bubble and a fraud;[196] and professor Nouriel Roubini of New York University called bitcoin the "mother of all bubbles."[197] Central bankers, including former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan,[198] investors such as Warren Buffett,[199][200] and George Soros[201] have stated similar views, as have business executives such as Jamie Dimon and Jack Ma.[202]

Both blockchains have the same features and are identical in every way up to a certain block where the hard-fork was implemented. This means that everything that happened on Ethereum up until the hard-fork is still valid on the Ethereum Classic Blockchain. From the block where the hard fork or change in code was executed onwards, the two blockchains act individually.
The domain name "bitcoin.org" was registered on 18 August 2008.[17] On 31 October 2008, a link to a paper authored by Satoshi Nakamoto titled Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System[4] was posted to a cryptography mailing list.[18] Nakamoto implemented the bitcoin software as open-source code and released it in January 2009.[19][20][11] Nakamoto's identity remains unknown.[10]
Bitcoin has been criticized for the amount of electricity consumed by mining. As of 2015, The Economist estimated that even if all miners used modern facilities, the combined electricity consumption would be 166.7 megawatts (1.46 terawatt-hours per year).[136] At the end of 2017, the global bitcoin mining activity was estimated to consume between one and four gigawatts of electricity.[203] Politico noted that the even high-end estimates of bitcoin's total consumption levels amount to only about 6% of the total power consumed by the global banking sector, and even if bitcoin's consumption levels increased 100 fold from today's levels, bitcoin's consumption would still only amount to about 2% of global power consumption.[204]
In Charles Stross' 2013 science fiction novel, Neptune's Brood, the universal interstellar payment system is known as "bitcoin" and operates using cryptography.[227] Stross later blogged that the reference was intentional, saying "I wrote Neptune's Brood in 2011. Bitcoin was obscure back then, and I figured had just enough name recognition to be a useful term for an interstellar currency: it'd clue people in that it was a networked digital currency."[228]
The rapid price increase of Ethereum has not only attracted investors but developers too. Ethereum has tens of thousands of developers in its open source community, each contributing to the many layers of the “Ethereum stack”. This includes code contributions to the core Ethereum clients, second layer scaling tech and the “decentralized applications” (dApps) that are built on top of the platform. The appeal of Ethereum to developers is unique in that it was the first platform to allow anyone in the world to write and deploy code that would run without the risk of censorship. The community of developers which have formed around these core principles have led to the creation of technologies that could not have existed without the inception of Ethereum, many of which were never predicted. Some of the major use-cases of Ethereum so far have been:
Despite bringing a number of benefits, decentralized applications aren’t faultless. Because smart contract code is written by humans, smart contracts are only as good as the people who write them. Code bugs or oversights can lead to unintended adverse actions being taken. If a mistake in the code gets exploited, there is no efficient way in which an attack or exploitation can be stopped other than obtaining a network consensus and rewriting the underlying code. This goes against the essence of the blockchain which is meant to be immutable. Also, any action taken by a central party raises serious questions about the decentralized nature of an application.

تتمتع عملة البيتكوين بقدر عالٍ من السرية. مبدئيا الأمر صحيح، حيث أن كل ما تحتاجه لإرسال بعض البيتكوينات لشخص آخر هو عنوانه فقط. لكن بحكم أنه يتم تسجيل كل عملية تحويل في سجل بيتكوين فإنه بالرغم من عدم معرفتك لهوية مالك أي عُنوان إلا أنه بمقدورك أن تعرف كم عدد البيتكوينات التي في حوزته وما هي العناوين التي أرسلت بيتكوينات إليه. إن قام أحدهم بالإعلان صراحة عن امتلاكه لعناوين بيتكوين مُعينة فإنه سيُصبح بإمكانك معرفة ما هي العناوين التي قامت بإرسال بيتكوينات إليه وما هي العناوين التي أرسل إليها بيتكوينات. الكشف عن عنوان البيتكوين الخاص بك ليس مُستبعدا، حيث أنك ستحتاج إلى إعطائه لغيرك في حال ما إذا احتجت أن يرسلوا لك بعض المال إليه. يُنصح باستخدام عناوين مُختلفة لعمليات تحويل مُختلفة للحفاظ على مُستوى مُعين من المجهولية، رغم ذلك هناك الكثيرون ممن لا يقومون بذلك. من الناحية التقنية يبقى تتبع مصدر بعض العمليات المشبوهة على شبكة بيتكوين مُمكنا، حيث يكفي تتبع عمليات التحويل إلى غاية وصولها إلى عنوان معروفة هوية صاحبه، وحينها يكفي القيام بعمليات تحقيق عكسية إلى غاية الوصول إلى صاحب الحساب المشبوه. صحيح بأن كم البيانات المُتعلقة بجميع عمليات التحويل ضخم، إلا أن قوة الحواسيب في تزايد مُستمر وإمكانية تتبع هذه العمليات واردة جدا، بل ويُمكن الجزم بأنه تتبع عمليات سرقة البيتكوينات أسهل بكثير من تتبع سرقة الأموال على هيئتها الورقية.
The "Metropolis Part 1: Byzantium" soft[citation needed] fork took effect on 16 October 2017, and included changes to reduce the complexity of the EVM and provide more flexibility for smart contract developers. Byzantium also added supports for zk-SNARKs (from Zcash), with the first zk-SNARK transaction occurring on testnet on September 19, 2017.[citation needed]
According to The New York Times, libertarians and anarchists were attracted to the idea. Early bitcoin supporter Roger Ver said: "At first, almost everyone who got involved did so for philosophical reasons. We saw bitcoin as a great idea, as a way to separate money from the state."[126] The Economist describes bitcoin as "a techno-anarchist project to create an online version of cash, a way for people to transact without the possibility of interference from malicious governments or banks".[129]
Every 2,016 blocks (approximately 14 days at roughly 10 min per block), the difficulty target is adjusted based on the network's recent performance, with the aim of keeping the average time between new blocks at ten minutes. In this way the system automatically adapts to the total amount of mining power on the network.[7]:ch. 8 Between 1 March 2014 and 1 March 2015, the average number of nonces miners had to try before creating a new block increased from 16.4 quintillion to 200.5 quintillion.[86]
Blockchain analysts estimate that Nakamoto had mined about one million bitcoins[28] before disappearing in 2010, when he handed the network alert key and control of the code repository over to Gavin Andresen. Andresen later became lead developer at the Bitcoin Foundation.[29][30] Andresen then sought to decentralize control. This left opportunity for controversy to develop over the future development path of bitcoin, in contrast to the perceived authority of Nakamoto's contributions.[31][30]
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