While most people are familiar with bitcoin, not many people fully understand Ethereum just yet and consider it a cryptocurrency but it’s way more than that.
Ethereum is a “decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference.”-Ethereum.org.
In other words, it’s a software platform where you can build distributed applications and smart contracts. Because it’s open-ended and decentralized nature, these applications can be built without any downtime, control, fraud or interference from third parties.
The currency used on ethereum is “ether” and is sought after by developers who are interested in building applications on the platform. While it can be traded, it’s primary purpose is to run applications and monetize work.
According to Ethereum, it can be used to “codify, decentralize, secure and trade just about anything.” While still in it’s early stages (it launched in 2014), there is already a lot of excitement with how it can be used to change the world. Apps (called DAPPS) run on blockchain which allows the movement of value and the verification of property. Developers can create their own markets, business registries, promissory notes, and move funds using “smart contracts” which execute once terms are met.
You can use a similar language to Python on Ethereum to write contracts called Serpent. The language is intended to be clean, simple and easy to use which are all the things that make Python such a great introductory language.
Learn more about Ethereum here