Disclaimer: The information in this blog represents the opinions of its author and is for educational purposes only. It is not intended as investment advice. Cryptocurrency markets are extremely risky so you should only invest money you are willing to lose.
The Truth Is In The Math
You've undoubtedly heard that it's the technology of the future, but what exactly is it?
Blockchain technology exploits the asymmetry of cryptographic math to build a revolutionary kind of database that is ridiculously easy to verify but nearly impossible to alter, fake, counterfeit, or corrupt. Since it's verified mathematically, there is no need for a trusted 3rd party to serve as the enforcer or keeper of truth. The truth is right there in the math and no hacker or computer can change mathematical truth.
Build Your Own Blockchain
Ethereum (it's actually called "ether") is the native cryptocurrency that powers the ethereum network - one that allows anyone to build their own blockchain. And we're not talking only about the storage and transfer of information here. The ethereum network is designed to facilitate the creation of smart contracts which, like robot lawyers, can automatically execute the terms of complex agreements when specific conditions are met.
Best Performing Asset
The cryptocurrency is the best performing asset of this year, having more than 33x'd since January. The reason is that it is widely seen as much more than just a speculative investment or store of value, but rather an investment in blockchain itself, which will almost certainly be the foundation for many as yet unforeseen disruptive future technological advances. "Even bigger than the internet", and "world-changing", according to some analysts.
A powerful sign of investor confidence is price stability in the face of adversity, and ethereum has seen its share of dramatic smackdowns this year.
Whitehats Hack Back
Back in July, a hacker exploited a bug in the ethereum-based smart contract code used to build Parity wallets to steal $30 million worth of the cryptocurrency. This episode became legendary because "whitehats" in the ethereum community banded together to halt the attack and even hack-back some of the funds.
Bug Fix? Not So Much
It turns out that the bug fix itself opened a vulnerability in the Parity smart contract code used to build multi-signature wallets. This opening allowed a single user, called "Devops199", on Nov. 6th, to take ownership of and kill a code-library wallet, disabling hundreds of multi-signature wallets, effectively locking up $300 million worth of other people's ethereum funds.
Mediocre At Best
Parity's response to the incident was mediocre at best, indicating that the company had been aware of the flaw for months and failed to address it.
Price Breaks Out Despite The Drama
Despite all the drama, ethereum price has demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of adversity, and yesterday its price definitively broke out of the trading range it has been locked in for the past 3 months. The cryptocurrency broke through the $350 level and is currently trading at $362.
The rise of ethereum's price is a powerful indicator of investor confidence and portends well for the future of the build-your-own-blockchain cryptocurrency.
The true potential of smart contract technology has yet to be fully realized as only a tiny percentage of revolutionary disruptive applications have been introduced into the marketplace. As a Nasdaq report on the future of banking put it, "smart contracts could soon extend far beyond the movement of digital cash and be used to effectuate business activities involving purchases and exchanges of virtually any tangible or intangible goods, services and rights (e.g., sales of securities, commodities, personal property, real estate, digital rights, etc.)."