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What is Ethereum? New Zealand’s Ethereum Overview

Ethereum is more than just a cryptocurrency, but also a platform in which dapps can be executed. Dig deeper into the world of Ethereum!

Posted November 4, 2018

What is Ethereum (ETH)
What is Ethereum (ETH)

First launched in 2015 by Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum is the one of the world’s largest, and one of the most well-established decentralised software platforms that enables Smart-Contracts and Decentralized Applications (dapps).

With that definition, we can understand that Ethereum is more than just a cryptocurrency, but also a platform in which dapps can be executed. The currency that is used to run the Ethereum network is called Ether (ETH).

Physical representations of crypto assets with ETH on top of them all.
Physical representations of cryptocurrency. In reality, they are just code. Image by A M Hasan Nasim from Pixabay

At the time of writing, ether is currently the 2nd largest crypto in the world in terms of market capitalisation.

What makes Ethereum so special?

Ethereum is special due to multiple good reasons:

  • Anyone can build their own decentralised apps (dapps), or tokens on the Ethereum network. (Rather than having to build their own blockchain).
  • The Ethereum network can settle transactions in 20 seconds or less, compared to around 10 minutes on Bitcoin’s network.
  • The Ethereum network is the leading smart contract platform in 2022.
  • Anyone can tokenise ownership of real-world assets and put them on the Ethereum blockchain.
  • Any currency that is built on top of the Ethereum network (ERC-20 tokens) can be stored in a plain old Ethereum wallet.
  • Ethereum is one of the organisations leading the charge in autonomous organisation technology.

This sounds like a lot of information, but it will be much easier if we break it down.

A great place to start with Ethereum would be to learn about Smart Contracts and the innovation behind it.

What are Smart Contracts?

A Smart Contract is a computer protocol intended to digitally facilitate, verify and enforce the negotiation or performance of a contract.

  • Smart Contracts allow the performance of credible transactions without the need for third parties, such as banks, financial institutions, or governments.
  • These algorithm-based contracts are traceable, transparent and irreversible – essentially placing the Ethereum supercomputer in the position of authority, rather than a government or law firm.
  • While a standard contract outlines the terms of a relationship (usually one enforceable by law), a Smart Contract enforces a relationship with cryptographic code and programming.

Smart Contracts are essentially like standard traditional contracts, however, Ethereum’s network and programming infrastructure is optimised to carry out the rules of Smart-Contract automatically, by mechanically executing events when certain conditions are met.

The utility for these cyber-agreements is growing larger daily, with a number of tech firms working on optimising the functionality of these contracts for the application of mortgages, transactions, copyrighted content, employment contracts, and much more.

Read more: 5 Blockchain Applications (That’s Not Related to DeFi)

Phone with a sticky note saying SIGN HERE
Talk about paperless contracts in the future! Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Ethereum is an incredibly large and established blockchain built for Smart Contracts out of the hundreds of organisations with the shared goal of revolutionising contracts.

Smart Contracts may be expected to make a profound impact on the way we currently commit to and execute contracts as a whole.

What can Smart Contracts do?

Ethereum, in this case, is just the technological infrastructure for Smart Contracts, much like what Windows is to your PC.

Anyone can create their own Smart-Contracts or token built on Ethereum, just like anyone can create their own computer program or application on Windows software.

The possibilities of ‘Smart Contracts’ are almost endless, but with the integration of digital identity, these endless possibilities rise to a whole new level.

Smart Contracts in combination with digital identity provide a new level of reality for self-managed autonomy, where Smart Contracts can be used to transfer and distribute ownership of assets, value, intellectual property, wills, land deeds, equity, and much more.

Schematics of how Aave crypto lending protocol works
Aave’s peer-to-peer lending protocol schematics. Source:

Basically, anything that can be transferred via contract through human interaction can be replicated through Smart-Contracts.

For example, Aave is an Ethereum-based lending protocol. Borrowers can borrow crypto and lenders can earn interest from lending crypto.

Debt gets settled by the law of computer code, so there is no need for a centralised government to oversee the borrowing-lending operations on Aave!

Read more: What are smart contracts?

So who is running Ethereum?

Like Bitcoin, Ethereum’s supercomputer network is run by mass collaboration powered by collective self-interests.

This is where an individual or organisation will mine Ethereum for the sake of profiting for themselves, with the incentive being the small chunk of Ethereum they will receive for lending out their computational power to facilitate transactions.

They are essentially leasing out their CPU to the Ethernet in exchange for some of their own ETH, working as a single node that interacts and collaborates with all the other nodes/miners in the system.

This results in a worldwide supercomputer that can be powered from anywhere in the world that has internet and electricity – forming a truly distributed network and technological infrastructure for the Ethereum platform.

What are some good Ethereum wallets in New Zealand?

There are many decent Ethereum wallets in the market, including browser-based wallets like Metamask, hot wallets like Exodus, and hardware wallets like Trezor and Nano Ledger.

Keep in mind the strengths and risks of having each type of wallet. You can find out more about wallet comparisons in our guide to setting up a wallet in New Zealand.

How to buy Ether (ETH) in New Zealand

Now that you have an idea of what Ether (ETH) is, its underlying technology, and applications, can you get your hands on some ETH in New Zealand? The answer is — Yes! You can buy ETH in New Zealand using New Zealand dollars.

Through Easy Crypto, you can easily buy and sell ETH using NZD, and even swap between various cryptocurrencies. Here’s how to do it:

1. Sign into your Easy Crypto account. 

Easy Crypto homepage main menu.
Look to your top-right! 

2. Use the exchange panel on the homepage to enter the amount of NZD to exchange into ETH. 

Easy Crypto exchange panel for buy orders
The conveniently placed exchange panel!

3. Click ‘Buy Now’ and this page will guide you through the buying process.

Easy Crypto’s buy order page
Just three steps away to owning crypto!

4. Enter your wallet address. Be very diligent in checking that you have entered your wallet address correctly. If you send your crypto to the wrong address, there’s very little chance you can recover it. Use the one-click copy-paste feature or QR code if your wallet provides.

5. Pay and wait. Choose your preferred payment method, make your payment in Kiwi Dollars, and then wait for your Ethereum wallet balance to increase as we make the delivery. 

That’s all the steps you need to get some ETH into your very own crypto wallet!

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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 October 12, 2022

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