Ethereum is an open-source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform and operating system featuring smart contract (scripting) functionality. Ethereum provides a decentralized Turing-complete virtual machine, the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which can execute scripts using an international network of public nodes.
Ethereum was proposed in late 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, a cryptocurrency researcher and programmer. Development was funded by an online crowdsale during July–August 2014. The system went live on 30 July 2015.
The Ethereum network provides a cryptocurrency token called “ether”, which can be transferred between accounts and used to compensate participant nodes for computations performed. “Gas”, an internal transaction pricing mechanism, is used to mitigate spam and allocate resources on the network.