As a Turing Complete cryptocurrency platform, Ethereum allows developers to automate business processes by writing smart contracts. Launched on July 30, 2015, the Ethereum blockchain has been used by some of the largest companies in the world.
Tech giant Microsoft released software tools in May for developing Ethereum-based applications on Azure, the company’s cloud computing platform. Azure’s blockchain development kit for Ethereum is an extension to Microsoft’s code editor Visual Studio Code, which allows software architects to create and issue smart contracts, while utilizing open-source development tools such as Solidity and Truffle.
As noted on its Github page, the Azure blockchain service is a managed Ethereum service that can be integrated into various other storage services like SQL Server or Cosmos DB.
Ethereum use cases include building decentralized or non-custodial crypto exchanges, gaming platforms, and creating ERC-20 and ERC-721 (non-fungible) compliant tokens. The leading smart contract platform has also been used to develop decentralized identity solutions and launch several open finance projects.
Currently, there’s over $500 million in value locked into the evolving decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem. This is according to DeFiPulse data, which shows that Maker’s Ethereum-powered peer-to-peer (P2P) lending system has issued contracts worth around $317 million at the time of writing.
Other leading DeFi protocols such as Compound, Dharma, and Uniswap provide various types of Ethereum-based P2P lending solutions. Also a part of the DeFi ecosystem, Bancor’s (BNT) token conversion network has been developed using Ethereum smart contracts. Moreover, Augur (REP), a popular decentralized prediction markets platform, is based on the Ethereum protocol.
Ethereum is also contributing to the Web 3.0 standard, which is a brand new set of communication protocols and technologies that will be part of the internet of the future. One of Web 3.0’s main features will allow consumers and merchants to directly negotiate and settle transactions, without requiring intermediaries.
As a blockchain-based platform, Ethereum’s smart contracts could potentially play a key role in helping two parties transact without needing middlemen to finalize transactions.
At present, there are over 2,500 dApps that have been launched on the Ethereum network. The world’s largest e-commerce company, Amazon, is now using Ethereum to create and manage blockchains via its Blockchain-as-a-Service (Baas) platform.
J.P. Morgan, the largest bank in the U.S., has built an Ethereum-based, open-source, blockchain platform called Quorum for large-scale enterprises.