Ethereum is able to compute anything computable given enough resources, and is therefore Turing-complete. In simpler terms, it can simulate a computer. Bitcoin, for instance, is not Turing complete as it only provides a very simple mechanism to distribute money.

This reflects Ethereum’s main goal, to become the so-called “World Computer”, allowing rules to be written in any way that can be expressed by code and enable smart contracts.

Ethereum, which launched about six years after bitcoin in 2015. While Bitcoin has transaction fees, Ethereum uses a pricing mechanism known as gas. Each smart contract or transaction requires a set amount of gas, which must be purchased with ether at the time of transaction. The price of gas varies based off of network congestion.

Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin was 19 years old when he published the white paper that introduced Ethereum and its protocols.