Ethereum Profile

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Summary:

Ethereum is an open-source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform featuring smart contract (scripting) functionality, which facilitates online contractual agreements. It provides a decentralized Turing-complete virtual machine, the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which can execute scripts using an international network of public nodes. Ethereum also provides a cryptocurrency token called "ether", which can be transferred between accounts and used to compensate participant nodes for computations performed.

Ethereum was proposed in late 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, a cryptocurrency researcher and programmer. Development was funded by an online crowdsale during July–August 2014. The system went live on 30 July 2015, with 11.9 million coins "premined" for the crowdsale. This accounts for approximately 13 percent of the total circulating supply.

In 2016 Ethereum was forked into two blockchains, as a result of the collapse of The DAO project. The majority fork has retained the name Ethereum (the subject of this profile), and the second fork named Ethereum Classic.

(Summary via Wikipedia)

Videos:

Quick Summary (7 minutes):

More Technical Discussion (11 minutes):

Exchanges:

Ethereum is the second most popular and valuable cryptocurrency, averaging about 20% of the market as of August 2nd, compared to Bitcoin's 45%.  Like Bitcoin, Ethereum is also listed on far too many exchanges to count.  If you are just getting started, I recommend buying your Ether at Coinbase if it is available where you are.  It is easy, safe and insured.  If you plan on using Ether to trade for other altcoins, you'll need to use a different exchange.  Here are some of the most popular:

Websites:

Open Source Informational Website: Ethereum Project

Key Exchange To Start: Coinbase

Faucet: EthereumFaucet.net

Wallets: 

News: Coindesk

Market Analytics: Cryptowatch