Ethereum is the second most popular cryptocurrency by market cap known for smart contracts and decentralised apps. It was only released in 2015 and is still a young platform. However, it already has the largest and most active blockchain community in the world and has seen tremendous growth during such a short period of time.
It was the brainchild of Founder, Vitalik Buterin in response to his discontent with the limitations of Bitcoin. He envisioned a different way.
We will now look at a brief timeline of Ethereum, as follows:
Ethereum Timeline 2013 to 2020
The whitepaper described the proposed technology and was published by Buterin in November 2013.
The Ethereum Foundation was founded in June 2014 to support development of the Ethereum cryptocurrency platform. Initially, the Ethereum platform’s development was under a Swiss company called Ethereum Switzerland GmbH
Ethereum Crowd Sale
Following the Ethereum crowdsale, 11.9 million Ethereum tokens were sold (about 13% of the circulating supply), raising about 18.4 million USD.
Vitalik Buterin and his team finished the 9th and final proof of concept known as Olympic in May 2015. On July 30, the Ethereum blockchain, also known as Frontier, went live.
This was an Ethereum testnet launched in May 2015. This private network allowed Ethereum developers to work out the kinks in the Ethereum protocol prior to public release.
Frontier was the first stage of the Ethereum network and provided basic Ethereum functionality. Users could buy and sell Ethereum using this version. They could also perform Ethereum mining and build, test, and upload Ethereum smart contracts and distributed applications.
Ethereum’s First ICO
Ethereum’s first Initial Coin Offering (ICO) was for the Augur cryptocurrency. The Augur cryptocurrency’s ICO was launched in August 2015 and continued until September 2015. It raised over five million US dollars for the development of the Augur cryptocurrency.
This is widely considered Phase 2 of Ethereum’s development evolution. This rollout included three critical updates to Ethereum: the removal of centralization on the network, enabling users to hold and transact with ETH, and to write and deploy smart contracts.
In its short history, the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) event was the most contentious. The DAO team raised US$150 million through a 2016 token sale. However, an unknown hacker stole US$50 million in ether (ETH). This prompted the developer community to hard fork in order to recover the stolen funds. Consequently, the network was split into two factions: Ethereum and Ethereum Classic. Ethereum went on to increase its DDoS and stop further attacks.
Based on the controversial DAO event, this hard fork was widely considered as the only Ethereum fork of any significance. The new chain moved forward as the main Ethereum chain and the original chain became known as Ethereum Classic.
This hard fork increased the gas prices of certain operations to make them reflect their actual computational complexity. It would also help make another Denial of Service attack more expensive, although not impossible for an attacker.
This was a second hard fork of the Ethereum blockchain. It was designed to thwart the Denial of Service attacker.
This year saw Ethereum ICOs take off. This triggered an explosion of cryptocurrency and blockchain focused companies. Enterprise Ethereum Alliance also launched during this year.
Russia endorses Ethereum, and AVATrade and eToro add Ether trading. Many new companies begin to take advantage of Ethereum’s smart contracts to create derivative tokens. These factors all create momentum for Ether, which quickly increases its market capitalization and experiences huge growth.
Metropolis is the the third phase of the Ethereum development roadmap. It was broken into two stages: Byzantium and Constantinople. Byzantium, the first of the two stages was created in October 2017. Some of the major improvements implemented included the introduction of zkSNARKs, delaying the difficulty “time bomb”, transaction status receipts, and smart contract upgrades.
During this year, The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission stated that Ether (ETH) is not a security.
Also, this year 1.5% of the total ETH supply became locked in MakerDAO. This sparked adoption of the Dai stablecoin.
Ethereum completed the Istanbul hard fork in December 2019. It was the network’s third systemwide upgrade in 2019, following the St. Petersburg and Constantinople hard forks.
According to the Ethereum roadmap 2020, the blockchain is currently in its final development stage which is called Serenity. This will lead to the launch of a new Etheruem blockchain, Ethereum 2.0 which will be rolled out in 3 phases.
"Phase 0"- this will transition Ethereum from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake
"Phase 1" – this will implement shard chains
"Phase 2" – this will implement State Execution.