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:

In addition to the information on this page, there are many community-built resources worth exploring:

Ethereum basics

New to Ethereum? These articles and resources are a good place to get started.

How Ethereum works

These articles are non-technical explanations of Ethereum and blockchain technology generally.

Smart Contracts

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.

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).

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.

Payment & State Channels

Sidechains

Plasma

ETH 2.0

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 1.x

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

“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.

Critique and skepticism

Critical views of Ethereum and Cryptocurrencies.