What Is Ethereum? Ethereum is a smart contract platform that enables developers to build decentralized applications (DApps) on its blockchain. Ether (ETH) is the native digital currency of the Ethereum platform. Ethereum is supported in part by the Ethereum Foundation, a non-profit that is part of the larger Ethereum ecosystem including enterprise Ethereum consortiums like the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance. How Does Ethereum Work? Vitalik Buterin first conceptualized Ethereum in 2013 with the idea of developing an open-source blockchain platform different from Bitcoin (BTC), thus pioneering smart contracts. On the Ethereum blockchain, a smart contract behaves like a self-operating computer program that automatically executes when specific conditions are met. Blockchain allows smart contracts’ code to be run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference. The Ethereum network went live on July 30, 2015, with 73 million Ether pre-mined.