In the face of a declining economic climate, Bitcoin continues to soar this week and it’s no surprise there’s been many who’ve tried to replicate it’s success. The cryptocurrency market is full of bitcoin clones who’ve gained traction before slowly sinking in on themselves as they’re been revealed to be little but replicates, all failing to offer little different from Bitcoin.
Enter Ethereum, a fresh emerging light in the digital/cryptocurrency world offering something unique and interesting. If you haven’t already heard of Ethereum by now, you may be asking…
What is Ethereum and why is it different?
Like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a blockchain based system, but it isn’t just another digital currency. Ethereum is designed as a computer (Yes you read that right), Ethereum harnesses the power of the blockchain which relies on the decentralised processing power of the community, who verify the validity of the data before incorporating it into the blockchain. While Bitcoin uses this system to verify transactions as part of its digital currency, Ethereum makes use of the platform to enable developers to build decentralised applications by incorporating their programmes into the blockchain.
A lot to take in? Think of it as one really big computer made up of everybodies computers around the world which can be combined to share processing power and thus enables programmes to be ran on it.
How to mine Ethereum
Bitcoin mining started out with simple CPU and GPU mining done on high-powered home computers, before the introduction of ASIC miners overwhelmed the industry resulting in only specialized hardware being capable of any worthwhile mining. The Ethereum blockchain however is far more resistant to ASIC miners which results in most of the processing being done on rigs mounted with GPUs.
If you have a high-powered system for gaming then your computer is more than capable of mining Ether at a respectable rate. For a list of how GPUs and an indication of how your system is likely to far checkout this hardware comparison site. Even with a lower spec GPU I was able to mine 1 Ether after just over a week with my miner running 24/7.
Lets talk about software, a lot of the Ethereum software is interestingly open-source and made by the community rather than being completely in-house so there is some choice in this regard. You’re going to need a wallet first, you can get the beautiful Mist wallet available on GitHub. Now for the mining software, personally I use Ethminer however there are others you can choose from.
If you don’t have the appropriate hardware, you should consider cloud mining. It gives you the ability to invest in mining hardware at huge data centres without the need to mess about with the hardware yourself. Contracts usually start at affordable prices and you’re almost guaranteed to get your return of investment and should the value rise as it’s doing now, likely a healthy profit by the end of the year. One of the most popular services is HashFlare who offer Return of Investment (ROI) of 130% per year. You can even mine other currencies such as Bitcoin, make sure to follow this link to get a 25% discount on Etherum mining.
How to buy Ethereum
If the slow pace approach of mining doesn’t appeal to you then you can always just buy Ether, which is available from several online exchanges such as Cex.io where you can buy and sell both Bitcoin and Ethereum at the going market rate. It’s as incredibly easy as it sounds. To buy Ethereum, simply head over here and sign up for anccount.
The future of Ethereum
This is the exciting bit, there are hundreds of possibilities for Ethereum, such as forging reliable and secure contracts for banks and businesses without the risk of meddling middle men and untrustworthy third-parties, creating an improved digital economy with privacy y and security at its core to even replacing mega corporations like Google and Facebook with an open-source and decentralised alternative.
There are many possibilities but one things is clear. We know blockchain technology is going to be the future, we just need the infrastructure to do it, Ethreum might be just what the world is looking for. If the technology alone doesn’t leave you salivating for Ether then perhaps the idea of making money will, the popularity of Ethereum is growing, so too are developments emerging using the technology. Ethereum looks to be on the up and if you want to be like this guy, now might be the chance to get your hands on the fast growing cryptocurrency before it’s too late.