$1,672.71–Ethereum Price Today: ETH/USD – Milk Road


Ethereum is the leading smart-contract blockchain. Hold up, what? Okay, let’s break that down.
Each “block” in the “chain” contains transactions and data, and just like real chains, they’re linked.
Think of the Ethereum network as an operating system on the internet that can run programs. It’s decentralized because the transactions the Ethereum network saves to the blockchain are validated and mirrored by thousands of computers around the world. Some refer to Ethereum as the World’s Computer. Yeah. Sounds about right.
Vitalik Buterin — the Ethereum project’s best-known founder — published the Ethereum white paper in November of 2013, describing the soon-to-be network and how it would function. By 2015, the Ethereum network was live and processing transactions.
Fast-forward to today, and Ethereum has become the most widely used smart-contract network amongst all blockchain networks. There are plenty of other smart-contract networks out there now, but Ethereum led the way, and it’s still the biggest gorilla in the crypto zoo.
Vitalik Buterin is the most famous (and most memed) of Ethereum’s founders. (Don’t miss the Vitalik Pic of the Day in the Milk Road newsletter.)
But the Ethereum project has several founders, including Charles Hoskinson, who went on to found IO Global, the company that’s developing the Cardano project.
Ethereum’s founders are still leaders in the crypto space and other techy stuff.
We already had Bitcoin, so why did we need Ethereum? Early crypto networks like Bitcoin and Litecoin offer peer-to-peer transactions without a bank in the middle. They were (and still are) effective as digital ledgers and payment rails. What they didn’t do was run programs. At least not well. The problem: they just don’t support enough programming commands.
The Ethereum white paper, while a tough read, explains the reason for Ethereum in contrast to the existing crypto networks.
Here’s the TL;DR: The Ethereum network was built to run decentralized applications (dApps), programs that run on a network of thousands of computers rather than on servers controlled by a single person, organization, or government.
The network runs on Ether (ETH), which is the cryptocurrency you use to pay for using the network. So, Ether is money. But the Ethereum network envisioned in the white paper would open up a new world of possibility beyond just payments from person A to person B — and it has.
In the white paper, Vitalik introduces the idea of smart contracts, which he describes as boxes that are only unlocked if certain conditions are met. Think of smart contracts like switches –- or, if you’ve ever done BASIC computer programming, like if-then statements. If this happens, do that.
Those smart contracts are what’s running under the hood of today’s dApps, including Aave, Uniswap, and more. We see a website that does cool crypto stuff. Behind the HTML and shiny buttons, there’s an app running on a blockchain — and it’s probably running on Ethereum or a Layer 2 network. We’ll cover Layer 2 networks in a bit.
Crypto prices are volatile in the true sense of the word. They can explode to the upside or blow up your life savings, leaving a smoking crater. It’s really a question of timing. Since its launch, ETH has made millionaires and billionaires — and broken more than a few hearts (and wallets) as well.
Like most markets, pricing is driven by supply and demand. Here’s how ETH’s supply works.
Prior to 2022, ETH was mined in a similar way to Bitcoin, using proof-of-work, a process that created ever-growing piles of ETH. 2022’s change to proof-of-stake as the way to validate transactions changed the supply dynamics of ETH. What was once an inflationary cryptocurrency is now closer to a stable supply.
But there’s another factor at play that affects ETH supply. EIP-1559 (an Ethereum Improvement Proposal) introduced burning ETH. When you pay ETH gas fees, the base fee is burned while the remaining fee (the tip) goes to network validators. Burning just means sending ETH to an unrecoverable address on the blockchain.
When Ethereum switched to proof-of-stake (the merge), the supply was 120,520,222 compared to today’s supply of 120,451,390 ETH. Proof-of-stake creates new ETH as staking rewards, but burning sees roughly the same amount destroyed. The result is a fairly stable or slightly deflationary supply — so far.
Let’s take a stroll down memory lane on ETH prices and events.
The web browser you’re using now is running on your computer or mobile device. If you spill milk on your computer, that’s that. No more Milk Road for you. The Milk Road website is hosted on a different computer somewhere, delivering crypto news and how-tos to millions. If someone trips over the server’s power plug, the party’s over. No more Milk Road for anyone. Ack!
But what if you could run programs on a network of computers – and if one goes offline, it wouldn’t matter at all? That’s what Ethereum does. Developers deploy programs called smart contracts to the network where they live forever. Seriously, they can’t be deleted. That’s why you’ll see versions on dApps, like Aave, currently on version 3.
If you spend enough time in crypto, you’ll run across the phrase, “code is law,” which refers to the smart contracts being the final arbiter of whether something happens or doesn’t.
Remember, these contracts are just switches. If this happens, then do that. But these switches can work in series, creating powerful applications. Imagine flipping the light switch in your living room, and the TV starts streaming your favorite Netflix vampire show while a robot you didn’t know you had brings you fresh-popped popcorn. Smart contracts can trigger multiple actions if defined conditions are met.
The transactions from these smart contracts are stored on the blockchain. Blockchains are a lot like databases, a way to store information. But here’s one big difference: Someone can delete a database or change its contents. Blockchains are designed to be immutable, meaning the records in each validated block of transactions never change. As new blocks of transactions and data are built and validated, they’re added to the chain.
Surely all this magical goodness can’t be free, right? Correct. That’s where Ether comes in, which we’ll dig into next.
Here’s your chance to impress your friends: The term Ethereum is often used interchangeably with the cryptocurrency that powers the network. That’s not quite accurate — the fuel for the Ethereum network is called Ether (ETH).
Ether is money in the Ethereum world. Ethereum is the network itself.
In the real world, nothing moves anywhere without energy. The same is true for Ethereum. Ether is the fuel for the network, and that’s why network costs are called gas fees.
Think of it as a way to pay for processing power on the network. If you want to interact with a smart contract, you’ll have to part with some ETH to do so.
And the more complex the contract is, the more the transaction can cost. Flipping a switch to turn the light on – that’s easy, so it’s relatively cheap. Flipping a switch that turns on the light, streams your favorite vampire show, and summons a whirring robot with fresh popcorn costs more. Makes sense.
The gas fees for using smart contracts can get spendy if the network gets busy. And there’s another factor: the cost of ETH itself.
Imagine how much it might cost to do even simple transactions if the price of ETH was spiking AND the network was busy. Yeah, that’s a problem.
And that’s why Layer 2 networks were developed. We’ll discuss those in a bit, but basically, Layer 2 networks execute transactions at a lower cost and then send bundled transactions to the main Ethereum blockchain to be stored securely. Layer 2’s are a lot like taking the train for your city commute rather than driving. Layer 2’s move transactions in bulk.
Ether is the fuel for the Ethereum network, but what are all these other crypto tokens, and what do they do? Well, tokens are other crypto assets on the network, and they have various uses. Some are used for voting. Some track the value of other assets, like the US dollar or Bitcoin. Others represent the ownership of an asset, like an NFT (non-fungible token).
To work with Ethereum, a token must follow standards, basically a set of rules. Otherwise, the network doesn’t know what to do with this weird thing. Remember your uncle who told you don’t take any wooden nickels? Ethereum doesn’t take any wooden tokens, either.
Here are the main token standard used by Ethereum:
The first two are more common, but ERC-777, ERC-1155, and ERC-4626 are also used in some cases, such as decentralized finance (DeFi) applications. You’ll also start seeing OFT-20 tokens. These tokens are cross-chain compatible and can work with any Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) chain, such as Arbitrum or Binance Smart Chain.
In 2022, Ethereum switched from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake as the way the network validates transactions. Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Dogecoin still use proof-of-stake, which uses more energy compared to proof-of-stake, but both methods use financial incentives (or disincentives) to validate and secure transactions on the blockchain.
Let’s focus on proof-of-stake. In PoS, computers on the network check transactions to be sure they conform to the protocol, basically another set of rules. Each validator (also called a node) puts ETH at stake.
If the other validators on the network catch one of the nodes approving blocks that don’t follow the protocol, the ETH staked by that node can be slashed, meaning the network takes away part of the stake. It’s like when your parents cut your allowance because you fibbed about that thing you did.
These validators don’t work for free. They earn rewards for validating blocks. And the entire community can participate. ETH holders can stake their ETH with a validator service to earn a yield from staking rewards. However, staked ETH can’t be unstaked until the developers release an upgrade that allows it.
Lido, a popular dApp, replaces staked ETH with a token (stETH) that gains value to represent your staking rewards while letting you sell or use your tokens.
After the switch from PoW to PoS, the Ethereum network reduced energy consumption dramatically. By comparison, Ethereum PoW uses an estimated 30,000 times more energy compared to PoS, and Bitcoin uses 50,000 times more energy.
Okay, so we understand that smart contracts are just programs that run on the network. But what can you do with them? You might be surprised.
Aave is the biggest dApp in this category. The premise is simple. You deposit a supported asset like ETH or USDC to earn interest from borrowers. Often the returns are about 2% to 3%, but they can spike higher. You can also borrow by using your deposit as collateral. And unlike a CD or treasury, you can withdraw your deposit at any time (unless you borrowed against it).
If you want to swap some of your ETH stack for another token you’ve been investigating, you can do that with a decentralized exchange (DEX) like Uniswap or an aggregator that compares prices like OpenOcean. Read up on DEXs first, they’re not hard to use, but you’ll want to learn the ropes before you set sail.
Where do the tokens on DEXs come from? Traders like you. You can earn a solid return by providing tokens to a pool that other traders use for swaps. Again, you’ll want to learn about considerations like impermanent loss before you start clicking on buttons and sending tokens all over the internet.
You can also provide liquidity for trading platforms like GMX, but you’ll need to use an Ethereum-compatible network. GMX supports the Arbitrum Layer 2 network, and Arbitrum can use ETH natively.
Most of the big-name NFT collections are on the Ethereum network. You can buy NFTs on well-known platforms like OpenSea, but a new breed of NFT exchanges is going the decentralized route, using smart contracts so you can buy and sell without a middleman.
The new Blur NFT platform is a great example, as is X2Y2.
There are ways to bet on the future price of Ethereum and Bitcoin through brokers that offer trades on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. But there’s an easier way.
Yep. Ethereum can run dApps that let you trade future prices right from your favorite recliner. Decentralized apps like GMX, which runs on the Arbitrum and Avalanche networks, let you bet your crypto on a hunch — or some solid chart-reading skills — with leverage of up to 50x.
Staking can have a lot of meanings in the crypto world. The most common in an ETH context means putting some ETH into a staking contract to help validate network transactions. In exchange, you can earn staking rewards.
But staking can also be a way to earn additional rewards from dApps. On LooksRare, an NFT marketplace, you can stake LOOKS tokens to earn a share of earnings on the platform. It’s a lot like a dividend stock but without dealing with brokers who are always trying to get you into their managed fund.
The decentralized crypto world runs on votes, like a true democracy. The Ethereum project itself uses votes to decide future changes to the project. ETH holders can vote on Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs). If adopted, the developers start building techy stuff to make it happen.
Many projects in the Ethereum ecosystem issue governance tokens, making governance token holders the real boss. Uniswap is a great example. The UNI token serves no other purpose other than voting on what comes next for the world’s biggest DEX.
Most crypto prices jump around like cupcake-fueled kids in a bouncy castle. How do you keep some of your crypto stack stable? Well, you can use stablecoins, which are ERC-20 tokens. The most common stablecoins are pegged to the value of a fiat currency. USDC and USDT both track the US dollar’s value.
But the term stablecoins just means tokens that track the value of something else. Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) is a tokenized version of Bitcoin. Even if the price isn’t all that stable in USD value, it’s stable with Bitcoin. So, stablecoins help you avoid volatility — or they can diversify your crypto portfolio without leaving the safety of your Ethereum wallet. Way cool.
Ethereum is pretty amazing, but it has its drawbacks. First, it’s kind of slow – like waiting for your dog to do his business when it’s cold out. It’s faster than Bitcoin, but that’s not really an accomplishment. Second, it’s expensive – like $50 to move a $30 NFT when the network is busy.
That’s why the universe gave us Layer 2 networks. These Ethereum-compatible networks let you do just about anything you can do on Ethereum for less money, and they’re faster too. The downside? You’ll have to put some funds into a Layer 2 network.
There’s a solution for that, though. You can use a crypto bridge.
Layer 2 networks like Arbitrum and Polygon let you do more for less, and then they pass the transaction off to Ethereum in batches for its stellar security. It’s an Ethereum transaction in the end, but you saved a bunch of money by using a Layer 2.
The Ethereum project is constantly evolving, albeit slowly and carefully. Don’t plan on exact dates, but here’s what’s planned in the Ethereum roadmap.
The price of ETH is based on supply and demand, and recent changes in the supply have made the supply slightly deflationary, meaning there are fewer ETH to go around. ETH price predictions range from under $1,000 to over six figures.
If you believe in the future of Ethereum, it’s always a good time to buy. But it’s usually wiser to dollar-cost average your position. The price can rise or fall quickly, but by buying a little bit at timed intervals, you can smooth out the highs and lows.
The most common way to buy Ethereum is through a centralized exchange like Coinbase or Binance. These exchanges let you buy ETH or other cryptocurrencies with fiat money, such as US dollars.
It’s generally a good idea to move your ETH off centralized exchanges and into the safety of a wallet you control. Crypto wallets let you send and receive crypto but also open up a world of decentralized apps you can use with your wallet. If you have a larger amount of crypto, you can also use a company that provides crypto custody services.
Ethereum is decentralized, meaning the community votes on proposals for improvements to the network. This means that there’s no one person or organization that controls Ethereum.
Ethereum and Bitcoin serve different purposes, with some overlap. Ethereum brings more functionality, while Bitcoin is regarded by many to be better as peer-to-peer money or a store of value. Both are considered to be “blue chip” cryptos and often move together in market upswings and downswings.
Ethereum Classic (ETC) is a fork of Ethereum that happened after an exploit cost a decentralized organization called The DAO $150 million. The primary Ethereum chain in use today rolled back the transactions, whereas Ethereum Classic kept the transactions in place. It’s like two versions of history.
There are nearly 500,000 ERC-20 tokens out there, with more being added daily. Each protocol running on Ethereum or a compatible network can have one or more tokens it uses for various purposes. In addition, every NFT is a unique token, so the number of tokens will grow as long as Ethereum continues in popularity. As for Ether, the crypto that powers the Ethereum network, the current supply is about 120 million.

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