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EthereumA smart contracts and electronic payment system introduced in 2015. Like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a blockchain-based distributed ledger; however, Ethereum's purpose is to provide a platform for third parties to develop decentralized applications (dApps) that are secure and verifiable. People use the Ethereum code to create their own assets in the form of digital tokens, which can be fixed or fluctuate, and payments are made in Ether (ETH) digital currency. Bitcoin confirmations take minutes but Ethereum takes only seconds, and fees are based on "Gas," which is the amount of time spent validating the transactions.
2018 - A Roller Coaster Ride
Like Bitcoin, 2018 was the year cryptocurrency values dropped precipitously. Ethereum's price started the year at USD $1,400 and ended at $117.
Ethereum Classic (ETC)
Due to a hacking event that stole USD $50M in Ether from an Ethereum-based venture capital project known as "The DAO," Ethereum was split into Ethereum Hard Fork and Ethereum Classic in 2016. Ethereum Hard Fork (ETH) started with a revised blockchain and returned the stolen funds to the DAO token holders. Ethereum Classic (ETC) continued to use the old blockchain, and the two are not compatible. As of 2019, one ETH is considerably more valuable than one ETC. See Wei, proof of work algorithm, blockchain and Bitcoin.