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Ethereum Celebrates 8th Anniversary: A Journey of Innovation, Growth, and Challenges

Ethereum officially celebtrates its 8th anniversary. We take a closer look at its innovations in the blockchain space, as well as future challenges to face.

Posted July 30, 2023

Rainbow ethereum logo floating in stars
Rainbow ethereum logo floating in stars

Eight years ago, Ethereum emerged as a visionary project, its humble beginnings marked by a value of less than a dollar.

Today, it stands tall at over $2,000, a staggering growth of at least 600,000%. This decentralised and open-source blockchain has traversed a remarkable path, witnessing remarkable transformations and breakthroughs.

In the early days, Ethereum’s founder Vitalik Buterin introduced the concept of executable smart contracts at the Bitcoin Miami conference in 2014.

This marked the genesis of Ethereum. The brainchild of the programming prodigy was nurtured by entrepreneur Joseph Lubin and a global team of developers. Unlike the mysterious origins of Bitcoin, Ethereum’s journey was transparent and well-documented.

Ethereum’s ecosystem sprung to life

In July 2016, Kumavis and Dan Finlay introduced MetaMask as a browser extension. By offering a user-friendly interface for engaging with decentralised apps (dApps) straight from web browsers, this innovation propelled Ethereum closer to widespread adoption.

Infura, provider of Ethereum app infrastructure, was launched in November 2016, allowing developers to start their web3 apps without the hassle of managing their own infrastructure.

The development of decentralised apps on the Ethereum network was significantly aided by Infura’s usability and dependability.

Ethereum logo surrounded by utitility icons.

Truffle, an Ethereum development framework, had an amazing 103,483 monthly downloads from programmers using the platform as of June 2019.

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The success of Truffle demonstrated the growing commitment and enthusiasm of developers in building decentralised programmes and smart contracts.

Of course, the road was not without challenges. one of Ethereum’s smart contracts faced a major hack that led to the creation of “Ethereum Classic”.

Despite this major setback, investors continue to believe in the growing ecosystem, enriched with many developer ideas. Over time, it evolved to support a wide array of applications, from automated trading platforms and commerce to even banking.

In 2021, the NFT craze showcased the true potential of Ethereum’s decentralised infrastructure, emphasising its capacity to revolutionise various industries beyond finance and reaffirming its relevance in the ever-evolving technological landscape.

As Consensys put it, “This period in history catalysed what would become the beginnings of mainstream global adoption and an entrance of Ethereum into popular culture and news media unseen in previous eras.”

NFTs allowed for the tokenization of unique digital assets, opening up new avenues of creativity, ownership, and investment. From digital art to virtual real estate, NFTs captured the world’s attention, bringing Ethereum into the limelight.

New to Ethereum? Start by learning the basics of Ethereum.

The Merge

In 2022, Ethereum accomplished the monumental Ethereum Merge, transitioning from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake, resulting in a staggering 99.95% reduction in energy consumption. This move positioned the crypto giant to embrace a more sustainable and efficient future.

Image of a rainbow ethereum logo on a dark background.

Aside from this achievement, the Ethereum ecosystem has not rested on its accomplishments. As of today, it reigns as the second-largest blockchain ecosystem, with its native asset holding a market capitalization of $227 billion.

Vitalik Buterin and his team also remain actively engaged, contributing to the network’s growth and development.

To ensure the continuous advancement of the Ethereum ecosystem, the Ethereum Foundation has been actively promoting academic programs to foster widespread adoption of decentralised technologies.

Their Academic Grants Round awarded over $2 million to 43 projects worldwide, promoting diverse perspectives and experiences in the evolution of Ethereum.

Challenges ahead

However, as Ethereum celebrates its eighth birthday, it faces potential regulatory hurdles. The European Union’s proposed Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulations seek to provide legal clarity and consumer protection for cryptocurrencies in the region. Among the areas impacted could be Ethereum’s Miner Extractable Value (MEV) activities.

MEV activities involve miners manipulating transactions to profit from reordering or censoring blocks. The legality of such activities remains ambiguous and could be considered market manipulation under MiCA regulations.

Floating Ethereum coins in black background.

Additionally, the market for Maximal Extractable Value (MEV) has seen a surge post the Ethereum Merge. This practice allows powerful actors to exploit arbitrage opportunities and bribe block producers to prioritise their transactions, significantly impacting market dynamics.

While the EU’s MiCA regulation is set to introduce explicit rules on market manipulation in digital assets, the cryptocurrency industry currently operates in a legal grey area. The outcome of these regulatory developments will undoubtedly influence Ethereum’s future journey.

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The takeaways

As Ethereum strides confidently into its ninth year, it stands as a testament to innovation, resilience, and adaptability in the ever-evolving realm of cryptocurrencies.

Its impact on the world of blockchain and decentralised technologies has been profound, and it continues to shape the future of finance, commerce, and beyond. 

Who could ever know that an idea, that blockchains can be used for more than simple transactions, could spell into a multi-billion dollar industry.

Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, even shared an anecdote on Twitter about the occasion, recalling the time when Buterin laid down the foundations of Ethereum and his missed opportunity to invest.

“…And I still missed (didn’t buy) ETH. A miss of a lifetime,” he said in a tweet. 

As challenges arise, the Ethereum community’s ingenuity and dedication will undoubtedly propel it towards even greater heights.

The journey of Ethereum, from its inception to its present-day achievements, serves as a beacon of inspiration and a signpost for the immense potential of blockchain technology in transforming the world.

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Disclaimer: Information is current as at the date of publication. This is general information only and is not intended to be advice. Crypto is volatile, carries risk and the value can go up and down. Past performance is not an indicator of future returns. Please do your own research.

Last updated August 7, 2023

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