THE PHILOSOPHY OF ETHEREUM
The Ethereum blockchain network was first conceived in 2013 by a young Canadian programmer named Vitalik Buterin while he worked for Bitcoin Magazine. Buterin was able to broaden the scope of blockchain technology by recognizing its potential outside the field of finance. A cryptographer named Nick Szabo had already introduced the idea of Smart Contract”, self-executing digital contracts, in 1994. Buterin combined this idea with the transparent, immutable and robust blockchain network underlying Bitcoin. If developers had access to a blockchain network to deploy their applications, then data could be exchanged in a completely decentralized manner. This would allow for complex interactions to occur between two parties without the need to surrender personal information to central admins like Google or Facebook. What Vitalik wanted to do was make a decentralized internet.
After realizing his vision could never be implemented on the Bitcoin network, Buterin published a whitepaper with the intention of launching his own blockchain network called Ethereum. In this paper, the philosophy behind Ethereum is outlined to have these major characteristics:
- Simplicity: a way to keep the code democratized and easily accessible to new developers
- Universality: providing a language which is flexible and can carry out any transaction that can be broken down to mathematical terms
- Modularity: where the Ethereum network can easily be deconstructed into separate parts, allowing users to make protocol adjustments in small pockets of the network without the need to change the whole
- Agility: meaning the Ethereum protocol is constantly updated and is open to changes
Non-discrimination or non-censorship: where the protocol doesn’t discriminate against certain uses or application-types
The development of Ethereum, throughout its history, has reverberated the idea of an open source and free to use platform for the sake of spurring the creation of developers looking to create decentralized applications. Over the years, the Ethereum network has consistently made updates to its platform to uphold those central philosophical tenets.
The project has hosted DEVCON conferences around the world where developers collect to discuss the uses and limitations of this technology. Not to mention, initiatives have been launched to promote the work of Ethereum developers by offering them grants and bounties, like the DEVgrants program and the Ethereum Bounty Program.