Ethereum in real life (Duke University is teaching Ethereum)

Ethereum has started to see many actual use cases in real life. For instance, major companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Visa are all starting to adopt Ethereum as part of their real life usage.

Ethereum has started to appear in education as well. Duke University (one of the top universites in the USA), has started teaching modules of “Ethereum and Smart Contracts” as part of the syllabus.

Course description (Ethereum and Smart Contracts course in Duke University):

“Learn how to develop smart contracts and decentralized applications on the Ethereum Blockchain as well as history and trends of Ethereum itself. Ethereum is the most promising decentralized smart contract platform, and blockchain developers are in high demand. Learning these skills will give you a leg up in the blockchain world, especially in the Ethereum ecosystem. We will cover Ethereum (the platform), Solidity (the programming language), Truffle (the developer framework), and web3.js (the front-end library). Preference: some blockchain/cryptocurrency understanding. Prerequisite: basic programming skills.”

Trinity College of Arts and Sciences at Duke University


Ethereum Book

Learning blockchain technology should be a very marketable skill in the near future. Currently, there are two main ways to learn it, through online courses or through books.


Mastering Ethereum: Building Smart Contracts and DApps

The book above is authored by Dr Gavin Wood, who was the creator of the Solidity language and cofounder of Ethereum.

Ethereum Real Life Applications

Recently, the blockchain Ethereum is starting to gain widespread acceptance, many major companies such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon are already using it.

In terms of publicity, Ethereum is still behind its more famous cousin “Bitcoin”, but that should change in the near future. In fact, many people have postulated that a “flippening” may happen where Ethereum takes over Bitcoin as the cryptocurrency with the largest market cap.

In this blogpost, we list the real life applications and uses of Ethereum, using official sources as far as possible. That is, if Google is using Ethereum, we will try to point to the official Google website instead of a third party news site. Otherwise, we will only use very reliable third party sources such as Forbes, etc.

Amazon Ethereum Blockchain

This is very recent news, on Dec 21 2020. Amazon Managed Blockchain now supports Ethereum. With Amazon Managed Blockchain, AWS (Amazon Web Service) customers get secure networking, fast and reliable syncs to the Ethereum blockchain, durable elastic storage for ledger data, encryption at rest and transport, and secure access to the network via standard open-source Ethereum APIs.

Official Amazon Ethereum Blockchain news: https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2020/12/amazon-managed-blockchain-supports-ethereum/

Google Cloud & Ethereum

Ethereum can inter-operate with Google Cloud’s enterprise cloud data warehouse (BigQuery) via oracle middleware (Chainlink). At a high level, Ethereum Dapps (i.e. smart contract applications) request data from Chainlink, which in turn retrieves data from a web service built with Google App Engine and BigQuery.

Official Google Cloud & Ethereum news:
https://cloud.google.com/blog/products/data-analytics/building-hybrid-blockchain-cloud-applications-with-ethereum-and-google-cloud

Ethereum Blockchain as a Service on Microsoft Azure

Microsoft and ConsenSys (a blockchain software technology company) are partnering to offer Ethereum Blockchain as a Service (EBaaS) on Microsoft Azure so Enterprise clients and developers can have a single click cloud based blockchain developer environment. The initial offering contains two tools that allow for rapid development of SmartContract based applications: Ether.Camp – An integrated developer environment, and BlockApps – a private, semi-private Ethereum blockchain environment, that can deploy into the public Ethereum environment.

Official Microsoft Ethereum news:
https://azure.microsoft.com/es-es/blog/ethereum-blockchain-as-a-service-now-on-azure/

Visa Ethereum

Visa announced it is connecting its global payments network of 60 million merchants to the U.S. Dollar Coin (USDC) developed by Circle Internet Financial on the Ethereum blockchain.

Forbes news: https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeldelcastillo/2020/12/02/visa-partners-with-ethereum-digital-dollar-startup-that-raised-271-million/?sh=5dc04f484b1f

Visa didn’t quite announce it on its official Visa website, but we can see that Visa is actively recruiting engineers with Ethereum and Solidity (the programming language on Ethereum) experience.

Visa is actively recruiting engineers with Ethereum experience:

We’re seeking a strong developer experienced with Ethereum and blockchain architecture to be a part of
team tasked with building distributed application. Our ideal candidate has built and released distributed
applications, has worked with the Ripple, R3, Ethereum and/or Bitcoin blockchain, and has experience with Solidity

Multiple Positions are available in Austin, TX and Foster City, CA locations

Source from Official Visa website: https://usa.visa.com/careers/job-details.jobid.743999664785893.deptid.934140.html

Ethereum JP Morgan

The Blockchain Center of Excellence at J.P. Morgan leads efforts for Distributed Ledger Technology applications, actively researching blockchain use cases to develop in-house technology and pilot solutions across lines of business within J.P. Morgan.

The program also manages strategic relationships and investments with key vendors and consortia, including Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA). The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance is a member-led industry organization whose objective is to drive the use of Ethereum blockchain technology as an open-standard to empower all enterprises.

Official JP Morgan Ethereum news:
https://www.jpmorgan.com/insights/technology/blockchain

Other Ethereum use cases

A full list of companies using (or interested in using) Ethereum can actually be seen on the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance website, under the members section. We can see that many big name companies are part of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, including:

  • Accenture
  • Baidu
  • Dell (Boomi)
  • Ernst & Young
  • Intel
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
  • Standard Chartered Bank
  • VMware, Inc.

It is interesting to note that 2 of the “Big Four” accounting firms, Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers are interested in Ethereum and smart contracts, which could potentially change the accounting industry.

According to Business Times Singapore, 80% of current accounting tasks will soon be done by machines, displacing humans in most junior finance roles.

New York Professor: Blockchain is a lie, and the least useful technology

The most famous application of Blockchain is “Bitcoin”. Whoever bought just $1000 worth of Bitcoin around year 2010 would be a millionaire now. However, other than “Bitcoin” and cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology do have other uses. So is blockchain useful or not? Only time will tell.

See also our previous posts:

Source: Channel News Asia

Blockchain has been heralded as a potential panacea for everything from poverty and famine to cancer. In fact, it is the most overhyped – and least useful – technology in human history.

In practice, blockchain is nothing more than a glorified spreadsheet. But it has also become the byword for a libertarian ideology that treats all governments, central banks, traditional financial institutions, and real-world currencies as evil concentrations of power that must be destroyed.

The Math of Bitcoins

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer payment system and digital currency introduced as open source software in 2009 by developer Satoshi Nakamoto. It is a cryptocurrency, so-called because it uses cryptography to control the creation and transfer of money.[5] Conventionally, the capitalized word “Bitcoin” refers to the technology and network, whereas lowercase “bitcoin” refers to the currency itself.[6] (Wikipedia)

How to mine for Bitcoins using Math?

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/02/bitcoin-basics-explained_n_4374031.html

Adding transactions to the block chain and updating a local copy of the block chain is part of a process called mining. At the same time that miners (nodes in the network) are doing the important work of processing and recording transactions, they are also competing in a race.  They are racing to “complete the current block” in order to win bitcoins.

Mining is a serious competition nowadays and it consumes large computing resources.  Although it’s possible to mine on a laptop, the math problems have become hard enough that a laptop’s CPU will likely never complete a block on its own.  The cost of the electricity needed to run the mining software would exceed the return for mining.  Macs and PC are certainly capable of computing hash functions, but are too slow compared to specialized mining hardware that is now available.

Bitcoin mining serves 2 purposes, it creates the general ledger of Bitcoin transaction and provides security.  The miners compile the transactions together into a “block” and add it to the “Bitcoin blockchain.”  If there was a central authority this would need to be done once and verified by that central authority.  However, there is no central authority in Bitcoin and these blocks need to verified in some way.  Many Bitcoin Miners all over the world are compiling these transactions.  At the end of the compilation they essentially print a lottery number at the bottom.  Each miner is doing this millions or billions of times per second. (Source: http://cointext.com/bitcoin-mining-whats-it-all-about/)