Ethereum is an open-source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform and operating system featuring smart contract functionality.
Ether is a cryptocurrency whose blockchain is generated by the Ethereum platform. Ether can be transferred between accounts and used to compensate participant mining nodes for computations performed. Ethereum provides a decentralized Turing-complete virtual machine, the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which can execute scripts using an international network of public nodes.
Ethereum was proposed in 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, a cryptocurrency researcher and programmer. Development was funded by an online crowdsale that took place between July and August 2014. The system went live on 30 July 2015, with 11.9 million coins «premined» for the crowdsale. This accounts for about 13 percent of the total circulating supply.
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