Learn about Ethereum
Welcome to ethereum.org/learn, a set of resources to help you learn more about Ethereum. This page includes technical and non-technical articles, guides, and resources. If you’re totally new to Ethereum, we suggest you start here.
Here are some excellent starting points:
- Decentralizing Everything Sep 18, 2017 - Vitalik Buterin (Video)
- The Year in Ethereum Jan 16, 2019 - Josh Stark, Evan Van Ness, and Daniel Zakrisson
- Ethereum is game-changing technology, literally Mar 29, 2019 - Virgil Griffith
In addition to the information on this page, there are many community-built resources worth exploring:
- EthHub Comprehensive knowledge base for all things Ethereum
- District0x An educational resource about Ethereum targeted at beginners
- Ethereum Wiki A community-built wiki about Ethereum’s technology
- Ethereum Foundation YouTube Videos and talks about Ethereum
- Week in Ethereum A weekly newsletter covering key developments across the ecosystem
- What’s new in ETH 2.0 A regular newsletter about ETH 2.0 development
- ETHGlobal An Ethereum hackathon series - attend one near you!
New to Ethereum? These articles and resources are a good place to get started.
- A Beginner’s Guide to Ethereum Feb 23, 2017 - Linda Xie
- What is Ethereum? District0x
- What is Ether? Updated often - EthHub
- The Case for Ethereum Jan 30, 2018 - Elad Gil
- Blockchains: How they Work and Why they’ll Change the World Sept 28, 2017 - Morgan Peck
- Don’t let Doubts about Blockchains Close your Mind April 27, 2018 - Tyler Cowen
How Ethereum works
These articles are non-technical explanations of Ethereum and blockchain technology generally.
- How does Ethereum work, anyway? Sept 27, 2017 - Preethi Kasireddy
- A Gentle Introduction to Ethereum Oct 2, 2016 - Antony Lewis
- Introduction to Blockchain through Cryptoeconomics - Part 1 Jan 26, 2018 - Zubin Koticha
- Introduction to Blockchain through Cryptoeconomics - Part 2 July 19, 2018 - Zubin Koticha
A “smart contract” is simply a piece of code that is running on Ethereum. It’s called a “contract” because code that runs on Ethereum can control valuable things like ETH or other digital assets.
- Want to learn how to program on Ethereum with smart contracts? ethereum.org/build
Proof of Work and Mining
Ethereum currently uses a system called “Proof of Work”. This allows the Ethereum network to agree on the state of all information recorded on the Ethereum blockchain, and prevents certain kinds of economic attacks.
In ETH 2.0, Ethereum will be moving to a different system called “Proof of Stake”. Read more about ETH 2.0 below.
Clients and Nodes
The Ethereum network is made up of many nodes, each of which runs compatible client software. There are two clients that are used by a majority of nodes: Geth (written in Go) and Parity (written in Rust).
- Want to learn how to run a node of your own? → ethereum.org/build
- Comprehensive list of all Ethereum clients
Improving Ethereum’s Scalability
There are many efforts underway to make Ethereum more “scalable” by improving its speed and overall transaction throughput. Generally these are sorted into “Layer 1” and “Layer 2” solutions.
“Layer 1” refers to improving the core Ethereum protocol. The primary project to improve Ethereum’s core protocol is ETH 2.0.
“Layer 2” refers to technologies that are built “on top” of the base Ethereum protocol, enabling greater scalability without compromising on security. There are also “off-chain” technologies like side-chains, which enable greater scalability by making a different set of security tradeoffs.
- Making Sense of Layer 2 Feb 12, 2018 - Josh Stark
- The Case for Ethereum Scalability Jan 18, 2019 - Hunter Hillman, Steven McKie, and Eric Olszewski
Payment & State Channels
- State Channels - an explanation Nov 6, 2015 - Jeff Coleman
- Basics of State Channels District0x
- State Channels Updated often - EthHub
- Scaling Ethereum Dapps through Sidechains Feb 8, 2018 - Georgios Konstantopoulos
- Understanding Plasma, Part 1: The Basics Feb 7, 2019 - Daniel Goldman
- Understanding Plasma District0x
- Learn Plasma - A learning resource for the Plasma framework
ETH 2.0 (also known as “Serenity”) refers to the next major upgrade of the core Ethereum protocol. It combines several improvements to Ethereum’s core protocol, or “Layer 1”.
- ETH 2.0 Roadmap and Phases Updated often - EthHub
- 8 Teams Are Sprinting to Build the Next Generation of Ethereum Dec 9, 2018 - Christine Kim
- Proof of Stake Updated often - EthHub
- Sharding Updated often - EthHub
- ETH 2.0 - The Road to Scaling Ethereum - Vitalik Buterin (Video) November, 2018 - YouTube
ETH 1.x is the name for a collection of upgrades to the existing Ethereum protocol. The goal is to continue to improve and maintain Ethereum while ETH 2.0 is developed and implemented.
For more information, see EthHub’s explainer page about ETH 1.x
“Cryptoeconomics” is the practical science of building distributed systems, where properties of those systems are secured by financial incentives, and where the economic mechanisms are guaranteed by cryptography. It is the general term for the practice of designing and scaling blockchains like Ethereum and Bitcoin.
- Intro to Cryptoeconomics (Video) Aug 19, 2018 - Karl Floersch
- Making Sense of Cryptoeconomics Nov 16 2017 - Josh Stark
Critique and skepticism
Critical views of Ethereum and Cryptocurrencies.
- Ethereum’s roadmap isn’t ambitious enough March 27, 2019 - Interview with Rick Dudley
- The Challenges of Building Ethereum Infrastructure Jan 8, 2018 - Jameson Lopp
- Parsimonious Answers to Difficult Questions (Video) March 10, 2019 - Rick Dudley
- There’s no good reason to trust blockchain technology Feb 6, 2019 - Bruce Schneier