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The Ethereum white paper was released by Vitalik Buterin in late 2013 after proposals to include a scripting language to enable decentralized applications (dApps) on the Bitcoin blockchain failed to gain traction. Ether is the native currency of the Ethereum blockchain and is used to compensate nodes for performing computations in the Turing-complete instruction set of the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). These instructions form the backbone of smart contracts and digital asset ownership which are recorded and issued upon the Ethereum blockchain. The development and governance of Ethereum relies upon the use of open-source Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) whereby developers and the wider public can submit proposals to improve or change standards to the Ethereum platform. These proposals can affect all aspects of the Ethereum ecosystem, from core code changes and ERC token standards through to public informational resources. Interestingly, the current Ethereum (ETH) blockchain is a fork of the original Ethereum chain after a flaw in the DAO smart contract resulted in the theft of around 3.5 million ETH in 2016. The proposal to reverse the theft was approved by 97% of stakeholders, which resulted in a hard fork with Ethereum (ETH) blockchain reversing the theft, whilst the Ethereum Classic (ETC) chain continued unchanged from the original (preserving the concept of immutability of blockchains).

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