Ethereum (ETH) Mainnet Turns Four Years Old Today
Since 2015, the Ethereum network has been one of the most disruptive forces in the cryptocurrency sector.
Ethereum (ETH) turns four today, marking for a short, but turbulent history. Launched on July 30, 2015, the mainnet is now one of the central fixtures of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, despite setbacks.
Ethereum promised to create a world computer - and probably succeeded in a limited way. What Ethereum brought was four years of seeking solutions for distributed computing. And while newer networks appeared, Ethereum remains among the leaders in building distributed apps (dApps).
After four years, it became clear that ETH would not challenge the leadership of Bitcoin (BTC). Still, ETH remains one of the most important coins in trading, forming multiple base pairs. Around 12% of all crypto trading activity is concentrated around ETH.
Ethereum mining was also a significant source of rewards in the past years, at least until the Ethereum Foundation started to phase out the block rewards to the current level of 2 ETH per block.
Ethereum led the way for multiple developments in the crypto sector, even when its approach turned out to be mistaken or not optimal, in hindsight. The boom of ICOs and tokens based on Ethereum raised the issue of whether digital assets pass the test for unregistered securities. This led to a regulatory crackdown on ICOs, as well as the need for some projects to stay away from the US market.
Ethereum also brought with itself the first implementations of decentralized exchanges, an approach to trading that managed to balance coin ownership with liquidity and global outreach. Currently, decentralized exchanges, or DEX, still have a smaller capacity in comparison to curated markets but remain a significant addition to the crypto ecosystem.
One of the most notable additions from Ethereum was the appearance of the first crypto collectibles. The Ethereum protocol allowed the projects to create a special token standard, the ERC-271, for non-fungible tokens. Perhaps the most significant crypto collectible project was CryptoKitties, where the price of collectibles reached $100,000 for rare cats.
Ethereum was influential even in its blunders. The DAO, one of the first decentralized autonomous organizations, showed what it meant to have code-based, decentralized consensus. The Ethereum network rolled back some of its history to restore the balances from before the hack - leading to the creation of Ethereum Classic (ETC), a new network where the blockchain history continued without the correction.
The most recent trend for Ethereum is the so-called DeFi, or decentralized finance. Usually, an Ethereum-based organization will offer some form of crypto-based returns. DeFi is still considered a new field, with an unknown result, and the possibility to host scams.
Speaking of scams, Ethereum has seen its share, including the almost ubiquitous ETH giveaway scam. Later, copycat scams appeared, promising giveaways of various different coins or tokens.
Over the past four years, the ETH market price fluctuated, from a price of $0.50 at the ICO to peaks near $1,500. Currently, ETH hovers around $200, based on its relatively high utility and liquidity.
ETH remains one of the most successful platforms, outpacing competitors like NEO, QTUM, Stellar and other networks promising smart contract and distributed app functionalities. Now, Ethereum is moving on to a proof-of-stake network, expecting the upgrade in early 2020. Initially, the Ethereum network was supposed to move to stake much earlier, but upgrades were delayed and mining was phased out gradually.