Why I'm Still Hyped On ETH

It's important to know that ETH has the second highest market cap because of the torrent of developer activity building on top of the platform, and almost every other platform is simply playing on hype. Recently I've gone to a few Ethereum Developers Meetups in here in San Francisco, and every time I leave even more hyped on Ethereum. Here are three awesome projects that were pitched:

Cipher Browser (Update: Cipher has since been acquired by Coinbase)
Cipher is a both an Ethereum wallet and browser in a single app, similar to MetaMask if you've ever used that. So why is this useful? Ethereum Đapps (decentralized apps) are websites/apps that provide an interface between normal users and the Ethereum blockchain. CryptoKitties is a great example of this: if you want to buy a cryptokitty, you need to send ETH to the seller and pay a transaction fee to the miner to record the transaction. Before wallet browsers like MetaMask and Cipher, making this kind of purchase would have been pretty hard (imagine buying something from Amazon using a command-line), but now we can safely make ETH transactions by unlocking our wallet in the browser and simply clicking the "Send ETH" button.

One of the major unsolved issues with Ethereum is the amount of resources required to run a node. New Đapp developers will need to wait more than a day and consume almost 100gb of harddrive space to sync the Ethereum blockchain. Or they can use Infura's node with with support for all Ethereum functions, assessable via standard web APIs. Infura is already one of the leaders in Ethereum infrastructure, serving as the backend for sites you probably use like MyEtherWallet. These guys serve 6 billion requests a day.

To understand what these guys are doing, it's important to know that Ethereum plans to transition from Proof of Work to either Proof of Stake or a hybrid PoW/PoS system. My short explanation is that in PoW, blocks are mined by those with the most computing power, and in PoS, mining privilege is assigned to those with the most of amount of money committed to a smart contract. In either scenario, blocks will still need to be mined with computer power, which high-net-worth individuals might not have. 1protocol plans to introduce a set of smart contracts that allows those two parties to pool resources and share the block rewards. Just to blow your mind a bit, the computers in this case might not even be "people", but just virtual machines that spin up automatically to earn money when they have some idle time. Pretty cool.