10 Surprising Facts About Ethereum

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Aside from its main features like smart contracts and DApps, Ethereum also has some other lesser-known aspects. For example, the blockchain is "Turing complete", has a hidden Difficulty Bomb, and can work from space if you have a decent WiFi connection!

Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, is primarily known for its smart contract capabilities and decentralized applications (DApps). However, beyond these prominent features, the cryptocurrency also has some lesser-known aspects.

In this article, we delve into some surprising features, stats, and facts about Ethereum that are less widely known.

Top 10 Surprising Features of Ethereum

1. Ethereum is a Turing-Complete Language

A system is “Turing complete” if it can be used to emulate a Turing machine, a theoretical construct designed by mid-century mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing.

Ethereum is a Turing complete blockchain, meaning developers can write programs or smart contracts that can solve any reasonable computational problem.

They can use Solidity and Serpent to perform looping and branching statements and local state storage. This functionality is important to have to implement most non-trivial computer programs.

2. You Can Have an Easy Name and Address with Ethereum Name Service (ENS)

The Ethereum Name Service (ENS) is a distributed, open, and extensible naming system based on the Ethereum blockchain. It can be considered an on-chain alternative to the Domain Name System (DNS) on the internet.

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The ENS allows users to register and manage human-readable names for their Ethereum addresses, making transactions more user-friendly and reducing the reliance on long hexadecimal addresses.

3. The Beating Heart is the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)

At the heart of Ethereum’s functionality lies the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). The EVM is the computation engine for Ethereum that manages the state of the blockchain and enables smart contract functionality. 

It enables developers to write code in various programming languages and deploy it on the Ethereum blockchain.

4. Thousands Gather All Over the World for Ethereum’s Devcon Conferences

Ethereum hosts the annual Devcon conferences, which bring together developers, researchers, and enthusiasts worldwide to discuss Ethereum’s progress and future developments. These conferences provide a platform for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and the unveiling of groundbreaking projects within the Ethereum ecosystem.

Next up is Southeast Asia in 2024, after successful conferences worldwide, including Colombia, Japan, and Prague.

5. Ethereum in Space!

In 2021, blockchain startup SpaceChain launched the first Ethereum node in space. By extending the Ethereum network beyond Earth, the project aims to enhance the security and resilience of blockchain technology by eliminating the reliance on centralized infrastructure.

SpaceChain launched its first Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite into space in 2018, and they claim it is more cost efficient than its geo-stationary counterparts.

The satellites are used as blockchain nodes for data processing, transmission, in-space data storage and application development. .

Something, something to the moon… 

6. The Ice Age and the Difficulty Bomb

Ethereum has a built-in mechanism known as the “Ice Age” or “Difficulty Bomb.” This feature gradually increases the difficulty of mining Ethereum, incentivizing the transition from the current proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism to the upcoming proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism in Ethereum 2.0.

When Ethereum made the move to PoS, the effects of increased mining difficulty helped dampen any enthusiasm for any forking of Ethereum to keep the PoW mechanism in place.

7. Test Your Work Before You Deploy

Ethereum provides various test networks that developers can use to experiment with smart contracts and applications without incurring the costs associated with the main Ethereum network. The most popular test networks include Ropsten, Kovan, and Rinkeby, each offering a simulated environment for developers to test and deploy their projects.

8. Layer-2s Help Improving Scaling and Fight Congestion

Ethereum has implemented various scaling solutions to improve scalability. Among these are Layer 2 solutions, such as Optimistic Rollups and zkRollups, which aim to increase transaction throughput and reduce fees by processing transactions off-chain while maintaining the security and decentralization of the Ethereum mainnet.

9. Pay More to Transact Faster

In the Ethereum network, transactions require gas fees to incentivize miners and secure the network. However, what many may not know is that users have the option to prioritize their transactions by paying higher gas fees. 

By doing so, users can ensure their transactions are processed more quickly, making it advantageous for time-sensitive operations.

10. Ethereum’s ‘Minimal Issuance’ Supply Cap

In contrast to Bitcoin (BTC), which has a fixed supply cap, Ethereum’s supply is not limited. However, there is a mechanism known as the “minimum viable issuance,” which aims to balance the inflation rate of Ether (ETH) to secure the network and incentivize validators. 

The issuance rate is adjusted through Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) and community consensus. Furthermore, as part of EIP-1559, a portion of ETH is burned as a base fee, which has brought an element of deflation to the cryptocurrency.

The Bottom Line

Ethereum is pretty much de facto as the second most crucial cryptocurrency after Bitcoin, and due to the power of smart contracts, it powers so many other tools, projects, and ways of transacting.

It’s fully-fledged now, although with plenty going on in its development future, as you can see from co-founder Vitalik Buterin’s blog. As such, there’s always more to learn as thousands of developers continue to explore its full potential.

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Ruholamin Haqshanas
Cryptocurrency journalist
Ruholamin Haqshanas
Cryptocurrency journalist

Ruholamin is a crypto and financial journalist with over three years of experience. Apart from Techopedia, he has been featured in major news outlets, including Cryptonews, Investing.com, 24/7 Wall St, The Tokenist, Business2Community, and has also worked with some prominent crypto and DeFi projects.  He holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechatronics. Ruholamin enjoys reading about tech developments, writing, and nature-watching