Ethereum is the community-run technology powering the cryptocurrency ether (ETH) and thousands of decentralized applications. It has quickly become the world's second largest blockchain network by market capitalization, after Bitcoin. Ethereum was created in 2015 by Vitalik Buterin, a Russian-Canadian programmer and writer who wanted to create a more flexible and democratic form of digital currency than Bitcoin. The Ethereum platform allows developers to build applications using smart contracts - self-executing pieces of code that automatically enforce the terms of agreements between parties. This makes it possible to create decentralized applications that run on a global scale without any risk of fraud or censorship. Ethereum's vision is to create an unstoppable "world computer" that would allow people to interact without middlemen and without fear of fraud or censorship.