Ether is the currency that fuels the Ethereum ecosystem. In order for any function to occur on the Ethereum blockchain, including the execution of EDCCs, Dapps, and other transactions, there needs to be gas to push it along. Ether is the gas in this circumstance. If you want to utilize an EDCC or develop a Dapp, you will need to furnish Ether – usually in a small denomination per transaction. Making changes or adding new entries to the Ethereum blockchain can require numerous small expenditures (microtransactions) of Ether tokens.
In addition to serving as fuel for the Ethereum blockchain, Ether can be used as a token for Ethereum-platform-based utilities, as a currency to pay for goods and services, and also as an investment.
What are the denominations of Ether?How small of a microtransaction are we talking? Well, one full token of Ether breaks down into a quintillion Wei! Wei is the smallest denomination in which you can transact Ether, just as pennies are the smallest denomination in which you can transact the US dollar. (There are just a lot more Wei per Ether than there are pennies per dollar … a LOT.) Other Ether denominations are a Finney (a thousandth of an Ether), a Szabo (a millionth of an Ether), and a Shannon (aka Gwei or Nano), which is a billionth of an Ether.
How Do I Get Ether?Users can obtain Ether by mining or purchasing.
Mining Ether is a resource-heavy endeavor that currently requires high-powered computing and draws an expensive amount of electrical power. Also, because of the way the Ethereum blockchain is designed, it becomes computationally more difficult to mine Ether as time goes on. As a result, the resource demands of mining become financially prohibitive for many individuals and often require that an individual miner join others in mining pools, or use third-party services.
The second and easiest way to obtain Ether is similar to how you purchase gas for your car: you can buy it with your own money (or with credit, on some exchanges).
Is It Possible To Invest In Ether?Ether is more than a currency. Many regard it as an investment. As Ethereum approaches mass adoption, many believe that the value of Ether will increase dramatically. While there are no shareholder’s rights or dividends through ownership of Ether, it’s worth noting that these attributes are not required of securities that trade on stock exchanges, such that Ether may be considered a security.
How Do I Buy Ether?There are numerous Ether exchanges where a user may purchase their Ether with fiat (government currency) or other virtual currencies. Visit our Exchanges page to see some of these marketplaces.