Ethereum is a public blockchain-based distributed computing platform, featuring smart contract functionality.
It provides a decentralized virtual machine, the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), that can execute peer-to-peer contracts using a cryptocurrency called ether.
Ethereum was initially proposed in late 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, a cryptocurrency researcher and programmer. Development was funded by an online crowd sale during July–August 2014
After The DAO was hacked, Ethereum forked into two blockchains, Ethereum and Ethereum Classic
The Ethereum platform was officially launched at July 30, 2015, and is actively developed.
After a fork of the blockchain took place in July 2016 following an exploit of The DAO, which resulted in loses of $50 million, there are two currently active blockchains:
Ethereum Classic, which continues the original blockchain without interruption, and Ethereum, which includes an “irregular state change”proposed by the Ethereum Foundation to return the exploited DAO funds.
Both their associated cryptocurrencies, ETC for Ethereum Classic and ETH for Ethereum, are currently tradable on most cryptocurrency exchanges.