Etherium currency explained for the regular Joe

There’s a lot of hype on regarding Ether, the currency used in the Ethereum super computer.  Many investors are starting to be fond to the idea of a new currency that can have the same upscale potential as Bitcoin.  On the other side, there’s the geek world, people in love with the idea of a global computer able to offer 100% uptime to programmers all around the world.

Between these two, all of us trying to understand what is this all about and how to get into a promising digital currency.

Understanding Ether, the easy way

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Being a very new technology, Ethereum is difficult to explain for the masses. Hundreds of videos showcasing Ethereum workshops, and Ethereum experts are available in Youtube, nevertheless they wouldn’t but confuse you more with technical jargon and information on regarding why the technology behind Ethereum works.  It is clear that a simpler explanation is needed for whoever starting to get into digital currencies or cryptocurrencies.

That’s why I had this idea of creating a blog where we could discuss different perspectives on regarding the Ether currency from a non-technical point of view.

Let’s start right away!  First let me paint the road for us to have a better understanding of what’s happening with the Ethereum currency.  First of all, let’s define the 3 main aspects:

  1. There are no Banks: You’ll find no banks in the Ethereum world.  No one to hold your money in their arcs. (why would you like someone to do this in the first place?).  There are only wallets: You use wallets to save your money, to do transactions, to request donations and to do whatever you like.  You can have as many wallets as you want.   You’ll find a number of wallet services out there, some of them are insecure (like having your wallet in your pocket right now), some of them are secure (like having a wallet in a vault at your home)
  2. There are exchanges: Ether can be exchanged for other currencies (currently for Bitcoins, USD, EUR, CAD, Yen and some other digital currencies). You’ll find exchange companies of any sort offering Ethereum in exchange for your dollars.  Advice: Don’t trust any of them, they are as new as you in this Ethereum ecosystem, so use their services for the solely purpose of exchanging your money and get out the door with your money, like you do when you go to your nearest bank.
  3. There are products/services: Well, not that many yet, but there will be more. Ether was created as a coin to allow the interchange of services or products, so you would be able to buy things, real things, with this currency.

That’s it.  3 simple points.  Ether is just another currency that can be traded, used or stored in any way you want.  Why would you need more information than this for starters? Why would you need somebody to explain to you the exact formula of how hashes are created for Ethereum transactions or any sort of similar info? You will get all the detail you want, but let’s keep things to what they are:  Ether is a currency, Ethereum is a “banking” system that allows transactions with that currency.

PS: Try watching a few youtube videos (May 2016) and you will understand why there’s so much confusion about Ethereum.

Whenever you fell you would like to have more detail, just jump into reddit, watch some youtube videos, or just visit https://www.ethereum.org

How to start your path to own your first Ether

Let’s say you love the idea of a super computer with 100% uptime, you love the idea of a secure, non-regulated currency and you want to be a pioneer by buying a few Ether before the masses arrive. If so, you will probably start investigating a little bit more on regarding where to go to buy ether, how to use fiat currencies to buy it (because you probably don’t have any Bitcoin), how to trust the services offering Ether out there, etc.

Here are a list to make things easier.  This list is put together with the solely purpose of helping you start your investigation.  Never trust any of the companies listed here just because they’re showing in here or because they have a beautiful website. Start here, do your research, decide who to trust:

  1. Exchanges. The very first step, open an account and exchange some USD for Ether:
    1. Kraken: Bitcoin Exchange
    2. Polonium: Bitcoin Exchange
  2. Wallets. Store your Ether securely in your own wallet(s):
    1. Mist wallet (official)
    2. myetherwallet: Javascript wallet
    3. EthereumWallet: Sort of a third party service
    4. EthAddress: Open source wallet
  3. Products/Services. Use your Ether to buy in the market:
    1. The DAO: Company funded with Ether. Be an early investor
    2. Mobotiq: Rent a car with Ether
    3. Slock.it: Reting service with Ether
    4. Ujo: Buy music with Ether
    5. Regis: Public Register using the Ethereum computer

To this date (early 2016) there are a few other companies like Microsoft and IBM that have shown interest in partnering with the Ethereum project to be able to provide a platform to programmers so they can create even more services and products using the Ethereum super computer.

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What does the future look like?

  • A lot of people speculating with Ether (happens with every new currency)
  • A few new millionaires.
  • Masses coming late and trying to buy.
  • Bubble, crash, recovery, all of the same.
  • More product and services being developed.
  • Ether being a standard digital currency.
  • E-Commerces, Shopify, WordPress Plugins, buy anything you want with ether.
  • Peace.

I hope you have a great time investigating.  If you’re eager to invest for a quick turn, just remember that investing in a crypto currency implies 100% risk, no government protection and a lot of bad things can happen along the way (hackers anyone?), so only invest a portion of your money, something you will not miss if it get lost.

See you on the tracks!