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What Is Ether (ETH)? Definition, How It Works, Vs. Bitcoin


Ether (ETH) is a type of cryptocurrency, native to the Ethereum blockchain platform. It facilitates transactions on the Ethereum network and is used to incentivize or pay for computational services. While both Bitcoin and Ether are cryptocurrencies, the key difference lies in their purpose and capability; Bitcoin is primarily a digital currency while Ethereum, which uses Ether, is a platform that enables smart contracts and decentralized applications.


The phonetics of the keywords you mentioned are as follows:What: /wʌt/ Is: /iz/Ether: /ˈiːθər/E-T-H: /iː-tiː-eɪtʃ/Definition: /ˌdɛfɪˈnɪʃ(ə)n/How: /haʊ/It: /ɪt/Works: /wɜːrks/Vs.: /viːˈɛs/Bitcoin: /ˈbɪtkɔɪn/

Key Takeaways

<ol> <li>Ether (ETH) is the native cryptocurrency used on the Ethereum blockchain platform. It is the second largest digital currency by market capitalization and allows for peer-to-peer transactions across the Ethereum network, which is a platform for decentralized applications.</li> <li>In its operation, Ether differs from Bitcoin in several ways. Ethereum’s blockchain allows for running of decentralized apps, and the transactions are usually processed faster than Bitcoin’s. Ethereum also uses a different consensus algorithm known as proof-of-stake, unlike Bitcoin’s proof-of-work.</li> <li>While Bitcoin was created with the intention of serving as a digital currency or ‘digital gold’ , the purpose of Ether is to facilitate and monetize the functioning of the Ethereum smart contract and decentralized applications platform.</li></ol>


Ether (ETH) is a significant term within the business/finance industry, specifically in the realm of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. As the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain network, its functionality expands beyond a simple medium of exchange, notably powering smart contracts and applications (DApps) within the Ethereum network. This broad use case distinguishes it from Bitcoin (BTC), which primarily serves as a decentralized digital currency. Understanding the use, operation, and the distinction of Ether versus Bitcoin is crucial in this modern era because it offers businesses, investors, and individuals diverse options in digital investments, smart contracts, and decentralized applications—all of which could profoundly transform various economic sectors. It further allows people to be strategically positioned in the rapidly evolving digital economy.


Ether (ETH) is the native cryptocurrency of Ethereum, a decentralised open-source blockchain system that was launched in 2015. Ethereum’s primary aim is to allow developers to build and operate smart contracts and decentralized applications (DApps) directly on its blockchain without the need for third parties. To put it succinctly, while Bitcoin was designed to be a digital currency that operates independently of a central authority, Ethereum’s core goal is to serve as a platform for DApps, a marketplace of sorts for decentralized applications. Ether plays an integral role in this system; it not only fuels these applications but also compensates participating nodes for computations performed. It effectively functions as the “fuel” for the Ethereum network. For any changes to be made to the system, or for any program to be run, there needs to be a certain amount of Ether to execute it. This differs significantly from Bitcoin, which is primarily a cryptocurrency, whereas Ether (ETH) not only functions as a digital currency but also as a facilitator of Ethereum’s primary function: to support and run decentralized applications on its network.


1. Ethereum Startups: Many new startups are using Ethereum’s platform for their projects. An excellent example is the web browser, Brave, which pays users in Basic Attention Token, a cryptocurrency built upon the Ethereum blockchain. This shows how ETH is being utilized practically in the digital world.2. Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs): Ethereum is often used during ICOs as a trading pair. For instance, when the company Omise launched an ICO in 2017 for its project OmiseGo, the funds were raised through Ether. Those who wanted to invest in the project sent ETH to the Omise Ethereum address, showcasing Ether’s use in capital-raising ventures.3. Decentralized Finance (DeFi): The rise of DeFi projects on the Ethereum network has illustrated the practical uses of Ether. For instance, users can lock their ETH into smart contracts on platforms like Compound or Aave, where they earn interest over time. This demonstrates Ether’s utility in facilitating decentralized borrowing and lending, a core element in the DeFi sector. Please note, it’s important to point out the difference between Ether and Bitcoin in these contexts. Ether is used as ‘gas’ or fuel within the Ethereum network, which supports not only peer-to-peer transactions, like Bitcoin, but also enables complex smart contracts and applications to function on its platform. Bitcoin, on the other hand, primarily functions as a digital currency and store of value but has less functionality when it comes to complex applications or contracts.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Ether (ETH)?

Ether (ETH) is the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network. It works as a form of payment to facilitate operations on the Ethereum blockchain and incentivize developers to run applications on its platform.

How does Ether (ETH) work?

Ether is used as fuel for the operations on the Ethereum network, such as executing smart contracts and running decentralized applications (dApps). Furthermore, ETH is used as a form of payment for transaction fees in the Ethereum ecosystem, in a system known as gas.

What is the relationship between Ethereum and Ether?

Ethereum is the blockchain network and Ether or ETH is the cryptocurrency that exists on this network. Ethereum is designed as a platform that allows developers to build and operate smart contracts, while Ether is the reward for performing these operations.

What is the difference between Ether (ETH) and Bitcoin (BTC)?

While both are cryptocurrencies, their primary differences lie in their distinct purposes and capabilities. Bitcoin was designed primarily as a decentralized digital currency to be used in financial transactions. Conversely, Ether is intended to facilitate and monetize the operation of Ethereum smart contracts and dApps.

How can you get Ether (ETH)?

You can get Ether by either mining on the Ethereum network or purchasing it from a cryptocurrency exchange using fiat currency or other cryptocurrencies.

How does one store Ether (ETH)?

Ether can be stored in a cryptocurrency wallet, a digital application that allows users to securely store and manage their cryptocurrencies. Wallets can be online (web wallets), offline (hardware or software wallets), or mobile (smartphone wallets).

Is Ether (ETH) a good investment?

Cryptocurrencies, including Ether, can be highly volatile and risky as investments. Therefore, potential investors should conduct thorough research and consider seeking advice from financial professionals before investing.

What are the uses of Ether (ETH)?

Besides facilitating operations on the Ethereum network, you can also use Ether for peer-to-peer transactions, online purchases, investments, and raising funds for projects through initial coin offerings (ICOs). Remember that cryptocurrencies come with risks and it’s important to understand them before investing or using them.

Related Finance Terms

  • Smart Contracts: These are self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement directly written into code. They exist on the Ethereum platform which Ether fuels.
  • Blockchain: The technology Ether and many other cryptocurrencies are built on. It’s a decentralized digital ledger that records transactions across multiple computers.
  • Gas: The execution fee that users pay to make transactions or perform actions on the Ethereum network. Gas prices are paid in Ether.
  • Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM): A runtime environment in Ethereum that handles smart contracts. Its work is to execute all commands on the Ethereum network.
  • Decentralized Applications (DApps): Applications that run on a P2P network of computers rather than a single computer. Ethereum allows the development and execution of DApps, making it different from Bitcoin.

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