The founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, published the idea of Ethereum in late 2013 in a whitepaper.
Buterin had originally pushed for application development (DApps) on Bitcoin’s blockchain, but others in the Bitcoin community didn’t share his vision.
This led him to create Ethereum.
Ethereum was officially announced in January 2014 and other team members included influential cryptocurrency figures:
- Charles Hoskinson (Founder of IOHK – behind Ethereum Classic and Cardano)
- Anthony Di Iorio (Founder of Jaxx)
- Mihai Alisie (Co-Founder Bitcoin Magazine)
Ethereum’s ICO took place from July 2014 to August 2014. Crowd sale participants paid for Ether using Bitcoin. A year later, in July 2015, Ethereum went live.
People realized the potential of Ethereum (Blockchain 2.0), and Ethereum quickly gained in popularity.
Within the span of a few short years, Ethereum became the second largest cryptocurrency by total market capitalization.
While Ethereum has risen quickly in the cryptocurrency sphere, it’s unfortunately suffered some high profile hacks.
Here's a couple of examples.
- The DAO: Though The DAO was the largest crowdfunding campaign in history (at the time), it was unfortunately hacked. One third of The DAO’s funds were stolen (valued at about $50 million at the time). The community was split with regards to how to deal with the hack, which led to the split of Ethereum (discussed below).
- Parity Hacks: Parity is an Ethereum wallet provider that’s had a run of bad publicity. In July 2017, $30 million in Ether was stolen from Parity wallets. Not shortly after in November of that year, $100 million in fund was frozen because of a coding issue.
The aforementioned DAO hack was the first of its kind in the Ethereum community.
People weren’t sure with how to deal with the hack and two camps emerged.
On the one hand, some wanted to hard fork (split) the Ethereum blockchain to restore the stolen funds.
The other side argued doing so would go against the “immutability” ethos of blockchain.
This disagreement led to the split of Ethereum into Ethereum (forked blockchain) and Ethereum Classic (unchanged blockchain).