A simple way to explain Ethereum for beginners is that the platform runs apps which are powered by ether, Ethereum’s cryptographic token.
Ether is primarily sought by developers who want to develop and publish apps on the Ethereum platform. Ether can be traded like other cryptocurrencies, but it’s also used to run apps and monetize work.
With Ethereum, ether tokens are stored in a wallet and can be moved around to other accounts.
Ethereum’s programming language allows developers to create new blockchain-related applications, such as SmartContracts.
The Ethereum blockchain is a shared and complete record of the transaction history, and nodes store the most recent version of the SmartContract as well as other ether transactions. The network holds and tracks the most up-to-date information of all applications on the platform, including:
- All SmartContract coding
- The user’s balance
- Where everything is stored
Each time an application is used on the platform, a vast network of thousands of computers processes it. SmartContracts are compiled into what’s called “bytecode.” The Ethereum virtual machine, or EVM, can read and execute bytecode. All nodes use their EVMs to execute contracts, and these contracts are executed based on the rules programmed by the developer.
Because every node holds both a copy of the transaction history and the current state of the contract, all nodes must agree that a change took place whenever a user performs an action. This structure ensures that miners and nodes (not banks or other authorities) are responsible for transferring the shift from one state to another.
While a low-level programming language is used for the computation on EVMs, developers can use high-level programming languages, like Serpent or Solidarity, when writing smart contracts.