A Beginner’s Guide To Ethereum And Its Applications (pt. 2)
As it was mentioned in the first part, Ethereum has the largest active user community in the cryptoworld. Naturally, being an open-source public platform, the Ethereum foundation’s progress is heavily dependent on the collective effort of its users and contributors.
Therefore, before exploring the possibilities regarding the interaction with the Ethereum blockchain (pt. 3), let’s navigate through the various ways that a crypto-enthusiast can get involved within the Ethereum foundation.
Just landed here? Read the first part here.
Getting Involved With The Foundation
Initially, the foundation offers the possibility to join active online communities, where enthusiasts gather to share news, discuss recent developments, and technical issues as well as imagining the future! These forums touch upon a variety of topics, such as general-nature issues, DeFi (decentralized finance), market analyses, developers help and crypto-economic research.
Secondly, major Ethereum events around the globe are being held frequently, whereby attending is a great opportunity to meet people from the community, get informed about employment possibilities, and develop new skills.
You can find all upcoming events published on the website of the foundation. For example, the next major event is Ethereal scheduled for May 2020.
Additionally, there are meetup groups organized by Ethereum enthusiasts. These events are a good chance for people to get together and connect with other fellows sharing common crypto-interests.
The foundation offers even the possibility to start your own meetup via the BUIDL network. There is a host of such events held all around the globe, from Buenos Aires to Barcelona, from Denver to Hong Kong, from Sydney to Paris to Japan.
For those with a background in developing, there is plenty of stuff that can be done within the Ethereum foundation, if not the most! For example, experienced developers can engage with writing smart contracts or working on small/large technical issues in exchange for crypto (ETH).
Moreover, you can work on projects related to your area of expertise or to the programming language of your choice. In addition, researchers or academics with a background in maths, cryptography, or economics can get involved in some cutting-edge work within the Ethereum foundation.
As an example, you can work on some challenges – a series of high-value research bounties – with the opportunity to get rewarded with even more than USD 100K. However, there are things you can do as an inexperienced developer as well.
The EF offers the possibility to jumpstart your developing career by learning the basics using Ethereum studio – a web-based IDE (Integrated Development Environment) where you can define and deploy smart contracts following templates compatible with the Ethereum blockchain.
For instance, you can use templates for smart contracts, starter dapps as well as collectibles for creating unique tokens. In this way, you can save precious time of development setup and start coding right away.
For those who want to dive deeper, a collaboration between Ethereum.org and ConsenSys offers the ConsenSys Academy, an online Ethereum developer bootcamp where a mentor-supported training program will help you master basic Ethereum concepts, key developer tools and other aspects of smart contract and dapp development, such as building a front end and security best practices.
Finally, as an individual with non-technical skills, there is plenty of room for you to contribute too. You can organize a meetup in your city, write content about Ethereum, offer to take notes for community calls, translate Ethereum content into your native language, contribute to an open-source project with product-manager roles or even get involved in marketing and communications positions in the ecosystem.
The platform offers a wide variety of possibilities that mostly originate from the community. Ethereum’s community is the world’s most active community and it keeps on growing – and it’s growing into a whole Ecosystem!
If you want to explore more the Ethereum ecosystem, you should consider checking out some (of the many) community-built resources. Some have a more technical background, such as the ethresear.ch forum (deep technical discussions on Ethereum and Eth2) and the Ecosystem Support Program’s wishlist (research areas where grant applications are actively looked for), while others focus on organizing events (ETHGlobal) and collecting a comprehensive source of essential Ethereum information (EthHub, Ethereum wiki in GitHub).
When it comes to upgrades and improvements of Ethereum, all originate from the community, naturally in an open-source public manner. EIP (Ethereum Improvement Proposal) is the process through which network updates and application standards are discussed and developed.
They are the way for community users to propose, debate, and adopt changes. EIPs describe standards for the Ethereum platform, including core protocol specifications, client APIs, and smart contract standards. Anyone in the community has the ability to author an EIP and, then, will be responsible for building consensus within the community and documenting opinions, however as they require high technical expertise, historically most EIP authors have been app or protocol developers.
Nevertheless, if you are an experienced developer interested in the Ethereum Foundation, you are free to propose one and then the community will determine whether it should be adopted as a standard or included in a network upgrade.
Being the unit around which governance happens in Ethereum, EIPs are separated into several types, with each having its own list of EIPs. Given that the purpose of this guide is to lay down some basic Ethereum concepts and provide ways in which the Ethereum blockchain can be used, EIPs pertaining to application-level standards will be shortly explained.
Ethereum Request for Comments (ERC Standard)
ERCs are technical documents used by smart contract developers. They define a set of rules required to implement tokens for the Ethereum ecosystem.
Before becoming a standard, an ERC must be revised, commented, and accepted by the community through an EIP. Some iconic ERCs include the ERC-20 and the ERC-721.
The ERC-20, as an article explained, allows the implementation of a standard API to ensure interoperability between tokens. It includes some basic functions such as transferring tokens, obtaining account balances, getting total token supplies, and allowing token approvals.
The motivation behind this upgrade was the allowance of any tokens on Ethereum to be re-used by other applications that run on the blockchain: from wallets to decentralized exchanges.
That way, the ERC-20 standard simplified the experience of creating and working with tokens. That’s why ERC-20 tokens are by far the most used token Ethereum!
Another important standard is ERC-721. ERC-721 is a free, open standard that describes how to build non-fungible or unique tokens (NFTs) on the Ethereum blockchain. While most tokens are fungible (every token is the same as every other token, e.g. one dollar is fungible with any other one-dollar), ERC-721 is unique.
Thus, the ERC721 was written to standardize NFTs. By doing so, the dev community put forward a new ecosystem of digital content, games, and apps that use NFTs. For example, Decentraland, CryptoKitties, and EtherTulips are all based on ERC721.
Now, having the basic information about Ethereum down, we only need to explore the various ways through which you can interact with the blockchain in the next part!