Ethereum is an open-source and decentralized blockchain network.
Programmer Vitalik Buterin envisioned ethereum in 2013, and the network went live in 2015 with the help of cofounders Gavin Wood, Charles Hoskinson, Anthony Di Iorio, and Joseph Lubin.
Ethereum differentiates itself from other blockchain networks by being a Turing-complete "world computer," capable of running automated smart contracts and other decentralized applications.
In addition to smart contracts, ethereum supports and enables decentralized finance (DeFi) tools and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The blockchain technology foundational to ethereum enables a secure digital ledger that is peer-to-peer, and created and maintained by anyone on the network who wishes to participate.
The native currency on the ethereum network is ether (ETH) and is considered a cryptocurrency, though the intent of ether is to be the "gas" that powers transactions and smart contract executions on the network.
The Ethereum Whitepaper, published in 2014, lays out the details and proposals of the network.