You might have heard of Bitcoin which is the hottest cryptocurrency on the block, but certainly not the only cryptocurrency. People are getting all gaga about it. The most exciting thing of bitcoin is not the bitcoin itself but the technology behind it called blockchain.
Blockchain allows you to have consensus on something in a decentralized way without trusting anyone. This has a lot of implications such as that anything that required a trusted intermediary to verify things is not required anymore. This opens a whole new set of applications that we might not have thought of before.
In this post I'm going to briefly describe what Ethereum is and provide links to other resources where you can go to understand it better and start developing applications using it.
Ethereum is what I consider the next step in the direction of decentralization as it provides a complete turing machine on top of blockchain. I think of Ethereum as one big giant computer made of all the nodes in the network and controlled by no one yet it provides a deterministic way of doing things. It's what some consider as Web 3.0, including me (at least from conceptual perspective).
You can imagine an Uber like ethereum application which is not controlled by anyone but the underlying technology of ethereum would allow all the drivers and passengers to agree on that which driver will pick which passenger, how much the driver is paid, what ratings the passenger gave, payments etc. Every device using that app will be doing some processing to make this happen hence contributing to the running of the Uber like decentralized app.
It is still an emerging and infant technology but this gives us the opportunity to shape the future.
Before every how, there is the why.
In our current world of applications like Facebook, Google etc. value is created by data (e.g. earning ad revenue from user data). In this process the company profits but the actual users who create the value don't. In this decentralized world the value will be shared by all the users at varying degrees. Other advantages are transparency, no censorship, privacy etc.