Ethereum is a decentralized, open-source blockchain with smart contract functionality. Ether (ETH or Ξ) is the native cryptocurrency of the platform. After Bitcoin, it is the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Ethereum is the most actively used blockchain. Ethereum was proposed in 2013 by programmer Vitalik Buterin. In 2014, development was crowdfunded, and the network went live on 30 July 2015.
Ethereum also allows for the creation and exchange of NFTs, which are non-interchangeable tokens connected to digital works of art or other real-world items and sold as unique digital property. Additionally, many other cryptocurrencies operate as ERC-20 tokens on top of the Ethereum blockchain and have utilized the platform for initial coin offerings.