Ethereum (ETH) is more than just a currency – it’s like one giant computer housing many computers around the globe. Ethereum can respond to sophisticated requests. Its ability to store revolutionary computer programs, known as smart contracts, gives Ethereum an edge over Bitcoin and has attracted attention from banks around the world. This, among other factors, has led to a jump of almost 10,000% in 2017!
In 1998, Wei Dai published a description of "b-money", characterized as an anonymous, distributed electronic cash system. Shortly thereafter, Nick Szabo described bit gold. Like bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that would follow it, bit gold (not to be confused with the later gold-based exchange, BitGold) was described as an electronic currency system which required users to complete a proof of work function with solutions being cryptographically put together and published. A currency system based on a reusable proof of work was later created by Hal Finney who followed the work of Dai and Szabo.