Like virtually all cryptocurrencies, Ethereum had a prolific and unprecedented year in 2017. Ethereum began 2017 valued at less than $10, and it started 2018 by surpassing $1,000 for the first time.
Of course, Ethereum isn’t just valuable as a tradable asset. The ICO boom, which has seen billions of dollars poured into crypto-markets this year, is primarily hosted on Ethereum’s blockchain.
Moreover, it’s gained broad exposure as an enterprise solution, and it’s being researched by some of the most significant companies in the world through the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance.
In this way, Ethereum is more than just a valuable cryptocurrency. It’s a functional platform. These two factors have greatly expanded its popularity, and they’ve also necessitated its continued maturation and development.
Those topics were covered extensively in Ethereum’s Q4 Roundup posted on their website on January 2nd.
Ethereum is Growing in Popularity
Ethereum reports incredible growth in nearly every way.
The platform is surging in popularity. More than 100,000 new users are joining Ethereum each day, and on January 4th, Ethereum set a platform record of more than 350,000 new account creations in a single day.
Their expanding user base corresponds to a similar spike in transactions. The number of daily transactions has tripled its average rate from the fall, and the number of transactions has nearly doubled since its 750,000-rate achieved at the beginning of December.
While this growth is undoubtedly impressive, Ethereum developers continue to be enthused by its real-world implementation. On that subject, the roundup notes,
“As attention and interest in the blockchain space as a whole continues to hit new highs, we are entering a new phase in the industry’s growth: the phase where we are finally going from experiments and tests to real, live applications.”
Ethereum is Still a Work in Progress
Of course, its developmental growth can’t possibly keep up with its popularity, and the public seems to want a better, faster, stronger Ethereum, and they want it now. Ethereum’s roundup was a reminder that change is iterative, and they are striving to make iterative changes to their platform.
Ethereum reported that its Casper testnet has been released. This is an important imitative for Ethereum because it will move their blockchain away from Proof of Work (PoW) to Proof of Stake (PoS), which is much less energy intensive and provides better scalability for their growing network.
Meanwhile, dozens of small improvements were introduced this year. These are primarily developer-focused improvements that don’t grab significant headlines, but that help the platform iterate.
They include upgrades to security protocols, developer tools, and the Ethereum-tester. The roundup also indicates that they are creating a new website design.
Tangentially, the report notes that the Ethereum wallet has achieved more than 3 million downloads, and its latest version achieved almost half a million downloads.
Ethereum resides among a small handful of crypto-platforms that are not just self-important but that are increasingly essential for the crypto-ecosystem. It can’t possibly iterate as quickly as it can gain market-share, but their Q4 roundup shows that changes are being made. Ethereum isn’t resting on its laurels.
For this quarter, it seems sufficient to acknowledge and celebrate the platform’s growth.
By the next roundup, it will be more essential to see tangible improvements to some of their most critical issues including capability, scalability, and usability.
As Ethereum acknowledged, we are progressing out of the blockchain’s test-phase, and platforms are becoming live applications. Ethereum will need more than popularity to thrive in that scenario.
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