What Is Ether?


Ether is a cryptocurrency proposed by Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum. Ether was not initially intended to be a 'currency' or even have monetary properties, but rather power the computational 'machine'. That computational machine is called the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).


The cryptocurrency Ether comes into play in that it acts as one side of the bid in transaction executions on the EVM. The other side of every transaction execution bid is paid in "gas". Gas can be considered an analog to traditional currencies like dollars, but it's more than just a unit for measuring costs. 


It powers every operation on the Ethereum network - much like electricity powers our computers and internet activities here in the physical world.


In this way, Ether is more like a commodity or asset that powers a network rather than a payment system.


The result of all transactions on the EVM is recorded in an immutable electronic ledger, and this ledger is called the Ethereum blockchain. The total supply of Ether will be capped at about 120 million coins, and not everyone who has ether today will have them tomorrow.


Mining new blocks on the chain involve checking to see if transactions from any address on the network can pay enough gas to end up as valid on the blockchain.