A Brief History of Ethereum

What is Ethereum?

Before we get into the nitty-gritties of how it all began, it’s important to address the question — what is Ethereum? And how does it differ from crypto trend-setter Bitcoin? Well, in short, Ethereum is an open-source public service that used blockchain technology to facilitate smart contracts as well as crypto trading. This is all done without third-party involvement. Ethereum differs from Bitcoin in many ways offering different methods of exchange other than crypto and faster ETH confirmations than BTC.

The Very Beginning

In 2011, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin was a blockchain-intrigued, 17-year-old programmer. He co-founded Bitcoin Magazine in the same year and in 2013 released a whitepaper describing what would eventually turn into Ethereum. He used basic scripting language envisioning a platform with wider transaction capabilities than what was already in motion.

The Next Step: Crowdsourcing

With a new decentralised vision in clear site, Vitalik and a team of co-founders launched a crowdsourcing campaign throughout July and August 2014 that raised $18 million. Pretty impressive, right? This led to the first live release of Ethereum in 2015 known as Frontier. But first came Olympic — the 9th and final test-net which allowed developers to explore everything Ethereum.


Frontier sounds revolutionary. And that it was. The Ethereum development process was broken down into stages with Frontier being the very first. Despite providing bare-bones functionality, it was a massive step for the development team. Frontier was released as a main net on 30th July 2015 allowing users to buy/sell Ethereum, mine, build, test and upload Ethereum smart contracts and distributed applications. Canary contracts were used to notify users that a chain was bad or vulnerable and were given a value of either 0 or 1. Contracts with issues were given a 1 allowing the Ethereum development group to stop a transaction on the network should something go wrong. This might seem highly centralised — and it was — but it was somewhat necessary during the early stages.

Homestead upgrade

Homestead was the first planned hard fork of the Ethereum network which was implemented on 14th May 2016 with block number 1,150,000. Three significant improvements and changes were made.

DAO Fork

In 2016, an impressive $150 million was raised in a token sale for Ethereum funding. The work was led by the Decentralised Autonomous Organisation (DAO). But in June, the DAO was hacked and $50 million worth of ETH was stolen. In response, the Ethereum community decided to hard fork the chain in order to restore funds to their original wallets and patch over the apparent network vulnerabilities. As some users continued to use the original Ethereum chain, Ethereum Classic was born.


This was the next stage of Ethereum’s development and was broken down into two main stages.


Byzantium was a Greek colony in early antiquity which later became Constantinople and eventually Istanbul, names which have influenced Ethereum updates.


Constantinople was delayed among security fears but later implemented on 28th February 2019 as the second stage of Metropolis. The changes were implemented at block 7,280,000 with today’s network still being in the Constantinople phase. It includes smart contract verification.

The Future

Serenity is where Ethereum is heading and involves a complete switch to Proof of Stake. This will decrease the computational and electrical requirements of Ethereum and help to stabilise Ethereum’s block speed. Serenity is likely to occur after Ethereum’s next hard fork which will go by the name of Istanbul — building on the progression of Metropolis.



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