Ethereum Frontier, a Decentralized App Network

By CIOReview | Thursday, August 13, 2015
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FREMONT, CA: Ethereum releases Frontier, a platform for decentralized applications, which uses technology quite similar to that of Bitcoin’s in order to run software applications.

Bitcoin is known to have transformed conventional finance models by replacing the banks’ model of centralized control with a decentralized one. It is reported that over thousands of participants in the bitcoin network transact with each other using a distributed file called the blockchain. This provides complete transparency about all transactions in the network without any need for a central arbiter.

Ethereum plans to work on the same lines for enterprise applications, and has built its own platform, to make it happen. They raised over 18 million dollars previous year by crowd funding and by creating and selling their own currency known as Ether.

The developers prefer to describe it as “the world’s first zero-infrastructure platform,” it is a peer-to-peer application framework, allowing applications to run on any connected device with its framework installed.

Several decentralized apps are already being piloted atop the Ethereum platform. These include Adept, a joint protocol between Samsung and IBM, designed to let IoT devices negotiate relationships and contracts with each other. Another, Provenance, is a supply chain monitoring system designed to bring transparency to manufacturing and distribution processes.

Grace Caffyn for Coindesk.com highlights about the same that unlike bitcoin, ether is not intended to be used as a global digital currency. Rather, to perform any action on the network, users need to pay an amount of ether. Those who validate transactions on the network, will be rewarded in ether for any resources they contribute via mining.

In essence, it’s a large pay-as-you-go computer, with ether – computational power – the currency that brings these computerized functions to life. The more you need the computer to do, the higher the fee.

Caffyn goes on to explain that in the first tentative days of the platform – known as the 'thawing phase' – the supply of ether will be normal, 5 ETH per block, which are created roughly every 12 seconds. Transactions will not be available in the thawing phase, while the network ramps up.

Technically, anyone with a GPU will be able to act as one of Ethereum's mining nodes as it employs an ASIC-resistant mining algorithm to help prevent a single miner monopolising the network. And in cases of situation taking unexpected turns, the development team is empowered with a certain degree of control over the network, where they can signal the miners in case of a problem is faced.