A Beginner’s Guide to Ether: the Cryptocurrency of Ethereum

Despite having been jostled out of its second spot in the list of top cryptocurrencies (in terms of market cap) by Ripple earlier this year, Ethereum has managed to find its way back to its original position and remains one of the most oft-used names in the world of cryptocurrencies. Clearly, Ethereum is a name to take note of. Now what many crypto users may be rather confused about is the distinction between Ethereum and Ether. Simply put, Ether is the cryptocurrency meant for the Ethereum Network. This places it in a rather important position as Ethereum blockchain tends to be the platform of choice for most corporate users of the technology. While there are many things to know before investing in cryptocurrencies, it is also essential to be mindful of the key features of the leading cryptocurrencies in the market, and this arsenal of knowledge simply cannot do without some trivia about the second largest cryptocurrency in the world.

What is Ether?

As we have already mentioned before, Ether (ETH) is the cryptocurrency that powers the Ethereum blockchain. Unlike Bitcoin, which was designed to act only as a crypto or digital currency, Ether is better described as being a crypto value token, although it is usually considered to be one of the major cryptocurrencies of the market. Let us have the definition of Ether straight from the horse’s mouth as we take a look at what the official website of Ethereum has to say about ETH:

“Ether is a necessary element — a fuel — for operating the distributed application platform Ethereum. It is a form of payment made by the clients of the platform to the machines executing the requested operations. To put it another way, ether is the incentive ensuring that developers write quality applications (wasteful code costs more), and that the network remains healthy (people are compensated for their contributed resources).”

While Ether can be used for making a variety of payments, its primary function is to facilitate transactions WITHIN the Ethereum network.

Major Features of Ether

The following are some of the key characteristics that distinguish Ethers from other cryptocurrencies:

Supply Cap of Ether:

While Bitcoin has an overall supply cap of 21 million in total, Ether has a supply cap of 18 million every year. This number was chosen because it represents 25% of the original supply amount. Because of this cap, the relative deflation keeps falling every year, even though the absolute issuance remains constant.

Usage of Ether:

Ether is primarily meant for the use of developers who make use of the Ethereum blockchain network or wish to take the aid of blockchain smart contracts which are one of the USPs of this blockchain platform. It can secondarily be used for trading and investment purposes but its use as the fuel for the network comes above all else.

Original Issuance of Ether:

Ether was originally issued through a presale held before its launch. It’s annual rate of mining was set according to the amount that was issued during the presale. The other major cryptocurrency in the market, Bitcoin, started out not through a presale but in the form of mining the Genesis block.

Asset Value of Ether:

Although Ether is priced and valued much much lower than its immediately preceding competitor in the cryptocurrency rankings, it still counts as a reliable asset that can be traded upon. As of press time, Ether is priced at $208.

Ways to Purchase The Ethereum Cryptocurrency

There are several ways to buy Ethereum that are thoroughly detailed on our article on how to buy Ethereum. However, if you’re looking for some quick options to choose from, the following are some of the cryptocurrency exchanges that trade in Ethereum:

1) BitFinex
4) Coinbase
5) ShapeShift.