Ethereum is a decentralised blockchain platform proposed and co-founded by Vitalik Buterin. It was crowdfunded in 2014 from people all over the world.
Ethereum is used for running smart contracts. They are applications that have little to no possibility of censorship, fraud, third party interference or downtime. Like bitcoin, ethereum is an open-source project that is not owned or manipulated by a single person. This means that everyone can get this code and see how it works. One difference here is that Vitalik Buterin is still very much an active member of the community while bitcoin’s Satoshi Nakamoto remains a mystery (and will probably remain so in the future). This means that ethereum still has some sort of an ideological or a philosophical leadership.
The currency that allows this system to function is called ether. It is a common misconception that the currency is called Ethereum.
This is an excerpt from our full article about Ethereum.