Ethereum is an open blockchain platform that lets anyone build and use decentralized applications that run on blockchain technology. But unlike the Bitcoin protocol, Ethereum was designed to be adaptable and flexible. In Bitcoin’s case the distributed database is conceived ethereum how it works as a table of account balances, a ledger, and transactions are transfers of the bitcoin token to facilitate trustless finance between individuals.

But as bitcoin began attracting greater attention from developers and technologists, novel projects began to use the bitcoin network for purposes other than transfers of value tokens. In 2014, Ethereum founders Vitalik Buterin, Gavin Wood and Jeffrey Wilcke began work on a next-generation blockchain that had the ambitions to implement a general, fully trustless smart contract platform. Ethereum allows users to create their own operations of any complexity they wish. Ethereum in the narrow sense refers to a suite of protocols that define a platform for decentralised applications. Like any blockchain, Ethereum also includes a peer-to-peer network protocol. The Ethereum blockchain database is maintained and updated by many nodes connected to the network.

Each and every node of the network runs the EVM and executes the same instructions. This massive parallelisation of computing across the entire Ethereum network is not done to make computation more efficient. Rather, every Ethereum node runs the EVM in order to maintain consensus across the blockchain. The Ethereum platform itself is featureless or value-agnostic. Similar to programming languages, it is up to entrepreneurs and developers to decide what it should be used for. However, it is clear that certain application types benefit more than others from Ethereum’s capabilities.