If you have been following any cryptocurrency-related news, then you will have most likely come across the Ethereum network. In this post, we will address the question ‘What is Ethereum and how does it differ to Bitcoin?’
What is Ethereum?
Ethereum is a decentralized platform that performs smart contracts. They are referred to as ‘Smart contracts’ because they are set up in such a way that they will not experience downtime, you can not censor them and has zero fraud. This platform is created by developers where they build their own applications to show ownership. The platform also makes it possible for programming of smart contracts into the blockchain. This helps create unquestionable contractual agreements.
This new technology has the ability to interrupt the status quo of different industries. Ethereum blockchain-based smart contracts could be created to represent ownership of various things such as intellectual property and financial securities in a more secure way.
Ethereum’s cryptocurrency is called ‘ether’. However, it is purely there to ‘fuel’ the Ethereum network and was not designed to be a currency meant for financial transactions.
How does it differ Bitcoin?
Bitcoin was built as the first truly global digital currency that can be used as an alternative to government-backed currencies. The Ethereum blockchain, on the other hand, was built to create smart contracts and it’s cryptocurrency ‘ether’ was not created as a digital currency for financial transactions. Instead, ether is spent by developers who wish to built new applications on top of the Ethereum network.
What could Ethereum be used for in Africa?
With the vast opportunities that the Ethereum network offers its users, it could have an immensely positive impact on society in Africa. The Ethereum blockchain could be used to ensure a better democratic process at national elections through electronic voter registration. It could also provide proof of land ownership in rural communities and could be used to provide digital identities for example.
Ethereum is still in an early development stage. Hence, it will be interesting to see what products and services will be built on top of the Ethrerum blockchain and what impact they could end up having in Africa.